Rhetorical Analysis

Major Project 2

25% of course grade / 1600-1900 words

Downloadable PDF Version

For your second major project, you will explore and unpack the rhetorical discourse of at least two self-chosen texts or artifacts. Whether drawn from our page for course texts or harvested from media outlets — ranging from the NYT and Slate to The Daily Mail and Fox News — the choice is ultimately yours. In brief, this paper will ask for you to craft an argument on the rhetorical discourse of these artifacts by unraveling and comparing their affiliation to one or more exigencies. In order to flesh out your analysis and build connections between these artifacts, you should do a “close reading” of how each author leverages genre convention and rhetorical technique to effect change in a desired audience.

In doing so, you may wish to analyze how two texts of the same genre use a different set of conventions to draw similar conclusions, and which might be more rhetorically effective when read together. Alternatively, you might consider how two artifacts of disparate genres employ similar rhetorical devices to reach their audiences. Once more, the choice is yours insofar as you present an original argument about the rhetorical discourse of these artifacts, if only to shed light on the exigencies at stake with your line of inquiry.

Suggested pairings

Any combination of two:

Any combination of two:

Any combination of two:

Any combination of two:

Grading criteria

Thesis/Focus (40%): How clearly have you informed your readers about the various rhetorical aspects of the two texts (e.g. rhetorical situation, audience, purpose/exigence, constraints, stylistic language, metaphors, tropes)? How effectively have you asserted analytical conclusions about the similarities and differences between these two texts and the significance of their rhetorical discourse? Have you creatively and cogently framed your argument within the context of our course themes?

Evidence/Support (30%): How thoroughly do you support your analysis with specific textual evidence from the two texts? How efficiently do you integrate direct quotes and paraphrased content from the texts without “padding” your paper? How meaningfully do you synthesize analytical positions based on the textual evidence highlighted over the course of your paper?

Organization (20%): How clearly and intelligibly do you organize the paper? Is the organizational structure of your paper both coherent and readable? Does your paper maintain consistent transitional logic between and among each individual paragraph? Does each body paragraph contain a topic sentence that serves as an illustrative road map for the reader moving forward?

Style, Grammar, and Editing (10%): How precisely have you edited and proofread so that no grammatical or spelling errors detract from the message and your credibility as a writer? Does the syntax and diction of your prose effectively convey the subject matter and analytical orientations of your argument?


Rough draft: Tuesday, October 13

Revised draft: Oct 19 – Oct 25 (floating deadline)