Module 2

The purpose of Module Two is to learn about the focus of Unit One, “Rhetorical Analysis,” and gain familiarity with MLA (Modern Language Association). This page outlines the objectives, provides an overview of the module, lists the readings, provides introductory information about rhetorical analysis and MLA, and outlines the assignments due this module.

Objectives

The Module Two assignments will guide you toward the following objectives:

  • Understand key concepts of Unit One, “Rhetorical Analysis,” including:
    • Argument/Persuasion
    • Rhetoric
    • Ethos, pathos, and logos
  • Understand MLA formatting and methods of citation and source use
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of MLA and rhetorical analysis in a quiz
  • Identify a meaningful text to analyze for Essay #1

Overview

open book pages
“Opened Book” by Mabel Amber. CC-0.

Now that you have become familiar with the goals and objectives of WRT 101 and have had an opportunity to reflect on your experiences and skills as readers as writers, you are ready to delve into the first unit, “Rhetorical Analysis.” In this module, you will learn the requirements for Essay #1, read about rhetorical analysis and MLA, participate in two online discussions focused on rhetorical analysis, and begin searching for a text to analyze for Essay #1. Finally, you will demonstrate your knowledge of rhetorical analysis and MLA by taking a quiz.

Readings

Two readings are listed below. Click on the title of the reading to open it in a new browser window. For example, the first reading is the instructions for Essay #1. Click directly on “Essay #1: Rhetorical Analysis” to open the instructions. If you have difficulty opening any of the readings, please contact your instructor.

Essay #1

WikiBooks

  • Rhetoric and Composition / Rhetorical Analysis (Read the first four sections, “Overview of Rhetorical Analysis,” “Critical Reading,” “Basic Rhetorical Strategies for Effective Communication,” and “Persuasive Appeals”)

Writing Commons

Optional – Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Rhetorical Analysis and MLA: A Few Introductory Notes

Rhetorical Analysis

Have you ever been moved by a powerful speaker, commercial, song, poem, or slogan? A text’s ability to move us – to persuade us to change attitudes or actions, to cause us to feel emotions, to help us relate to others – is not limited to the text’s words and meanings alone. Words and meanings certainly play a crucial part, but a text’s meaning actually comes from so much more, including:

  • Tone and style: Does the writer/speaker come across as ecstatic? Angry? Formal? Informal?
  • Organization: How are the words, sentences, lines, paragraphs, etc. organized? How does the way they are organized impact meaning?
  • Persona/voice: What type of voice do you sense behind the text? Is it a voice you would trust? What clues help you make a decision of whether to trust or not trust the voice?
  • Logic: If the writer/speaker is trying to persuade you, what does the writer/speaker do to seem logical?

These are the concepts and questions we consider when discussing rhetoric and engaging in the act of rhetorical analysis. Think of some specific text you have encountered recently that caused you to feel a certain way. That feeling didn’t just come from the words and the dictionary definitions of those words alone. That feeling came from tone, how the words were organized, and a variety of other elements, depending on the situation. As an example, let’s say a student wants to email a professor to ask about assignment instructions. It’s a simple question, right? Note, though, that the student has many options for communicating this request. Consider these two:

Option 1:

Option 2:

Good morning. I am unsure about the instructions for the essay that is due Thursday night. Can you guide me in the right direction? I have looked under the Content links for the unit but just do not see information on what is required for the essay in term of word count, topics, and other requirements. I appreciate your guidance.

Sincerely,

Student

Note how each email is communicating the same request… but how each does so in very different ways. Imagine you are the professor. How would you ‘read’ each? How do those differences in tone, style, organization, grammar, etc. impact the feel of the request and its full meaning? What persona do you sense behind each different example? Which one suggests a more organized, professional persona… and which suggests a more frantic, disorganized persona? Approaching a text in this way can seem awkward at first, particularly if you’ve never thought about writing in this way, but once you understand the purpose and get the hang of it, it gets much easier.

two students sitting on a couch with a computer and a tablet device
“Adult, Boy, Break, Browsing” by rawpixel.com. CC-0.

By engaging in rhetorical analysis, we can understand all the textual nuances that contribute to how texts impact us and the world, and we can also understand how to become more adept at our own use of text to ensure our intended meanings come through. In a world that relies more and more on online communication, identities are often constructed through text alone – blog postings, emails, etc. Consider this online course, for example. Most of you will never interact face-to-face with others in the class, but you will gain a feeling for your individual personalities by the way you present your ideas in writing and interact online. Fascinating!

As you can imagine and have likely experienced, then, having strong reading and writing skills can only benefit you in this world, as you will have greater power over how you are ‘read’ by others and will be in a better position to ensure your meanings come across as intended.  Through this unit, you will gain familiarity with a variety of valuable rhetorical analysis concepts and become more effective readers and writers – skills that will benefit you long after the conclusion of Writing 101.

MLA

In addition to rhetorical analysis, the focus of this module concerns MLA. You will note that all final writing assignments are required to be in MLA format. Some of you are probably very familiar with MLA; others of you may not be.

Simply put, “MLA” is a set of writing and formatting rules and guidelines provided by the Modern Languages Association (MLA). Essentially every discipline uses a specific style; other styles include APA (used in medical and science fields) and Chicago (used in publishing). Each style is slightly different, but the purpose of each is the same: to establish a set of guidelines for formatting and style for written works in the discipline.

“Formatting and style” concerns aspects like margin size and line spacing – and – very importantly – citing outside source information in the text of essays and on bibliographies so sources are accurately and appropriately recognized. These guidelines are important, as they ensure consistency in works of writing in the field. It’s sort of like how every state has traffic laws and traffic regulation tools, like signs and traffic lights. The purpose of the laws and tools is to control traffic, and without them, our streets would be quite chaotic.

As you will learn as we move through the course, there is no shortage of resources that can help you understand and apply MLA style; the challenge is finding the resources that work best for you. The MLA-focused readings for this module will give you a good foundation for understanding MLA, and you can apply the information to the formatting of your Essay #1 and the essays and assignments that follow.

Assignments

Discussions

CD2a: Analyzing Texts Rhetorically

As you are aware, the focus of the first unit of this WRT 101 course is rhetorical analysis, and throughout the course of the unit, you will create your own rhetorical analysis essay. The purpose of this class discussion, then, is to gain a stronger understanding of what it means to analyze texts rhetorically.

Instructions:

  1. First Post: In your own words  –  and based on ideas expressed in the readings you read for this week –  describe what it means to “analyze a text rhetorically.” Questions to answer: What is rhetorical analysis? What does this process consist of? What is the purpose? Include at least 150 words in your response.
  2. Replies: Compose three replies of about 100 words each to others’ posts. In your replies, discuss whether you agree or disagree with your classmates  –  and explain why. You might even include specific examples of situations in which you have (knowingly or unknowingly) engaged in the act of rhetorical analysis  –  or situations in which you wish you would have engaged in this act.

Submit all posts by the deadline noted in the Course Schedule. See the Module One instruction page (under “Content”) for more details about all assignments due for the module, and see the Discussion Post Evaluation Rubric for information on how posts are evaluated. Let your instructor know if you have any questions.

CD2b: Rhetorical Analysis

Please note: For this discussion, you will be asked to discuss possible texts to analyze for Essay #1. Possibilities could include lyrics to a specific song that communicates an argument, a letter to the editor from a local newspaper, a speech from a politician, or some other piece of persuasive writing.

The purpose this discussion is to gain familiarity with the rhetorical triangle appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) while generating ideas for Essay #1.

Instructions:

  1. First Post: Post the text you plan to analyze for Essay #1 here as either as a web link or as an attached document. Then, compose a post of about 300 words in which you briefly describe the rhetorical situation (author, text, purpose, audience, setting) and then describe the ethos, pathos, and logos appeals.
  2. Replies: Skim through the analyses posted by classmates and post three responses/replies (50 to 100 words each) in which you discuss whether you agree with your classmates’ analyses. Do you agree with your classmates’ assessments of ethos, pathos, and logos? Do you have other ideas for ways to examine ethos, pathos, and logos in each text? You might also synthesize the ideas to determine whether or not the various authors are effectively conveying their arguments/messages. You are encouraged to use the ideas you generate, here, in your Essay #1.

As always, be sure to complete the above by the due date noted in the Course Scheduleand see the Discussion Post Evaluation Rubric for information on how posts are evaluated. Let your instructor know if you have any questions.

Please post your CD2 responses in the Discussions area of this course.

Quizzes

Quiz #1: This quiz consists of ten multiple-choice questions, and you can access it by clicking on “Quizzes” tool found on the upper-navigation menu. You can use any resources you might find helpful. The time limit is 60 minutes. The purpose of the quiz is to test and strengthen your knowledge of rhetorical analysis and MLA.

Looking Ahead

In Module Three, you will learn more about rhetorical analysis and apply your knowledge to a rough draft of Essay #1. You will also peer-review drafts with classmates.

Quiz #1

1. Elements ranging from author credibility to an author’s treatment of other viewpoints to an author’s use of grammar all relate to which rhetorical triangle concept?

  • a. Pathos
  • b. Ethos
  • c. Logos
  • d. Fritos

Answer: _____

2. In a letter to the editor of a local paper, a citizen criticizes the lack of bike lanes in the city. The citizen proposes that bike lanes be developed along every street and avenue within the next year.

If we were to analyze the effectiveness of the argument, we might say that the idea, though good in spirit, is unfeasible due to the town’s small budget and the tight timeframe the writer proposes, which likely wouldn’t give enough time to plan, get permits, and create the bikelanes.  In other words, we would suggest that the ______ of the argument is weak.

  • a. Logos
  • b. Ethos
  • c. Pathos
  • d. Wordos

Answer: _____

3. Consider the following excerpt from a politician’s speech, delivered to a crowd of government officials and policymakers:

“If we do not raise taxes, the U.S. will get into deeper debt, which our children and grandchildren will inherit, and we do not want our true flesh and blood–our loved ones, our legacy, our pride and joy, the beating of our hearts–to be burdened by something they, in their tender innocence and purity, are not responsible for.”

What would we say this politician relies heavily on–perhaps so heavily that it weakens his or her argument?

  • a. Pathos
  • b. Ethos
  • c. Logos
  • d. Mentos

Answer: _____

4. A customer is composing a complaint letter to a hotel manager regarding a recent stay at Hotel Paradise. The customer wants a refund. Given the rhetorical situation, which of the following approaches would be most effective in terms of persuading the manager to grant a refund?

  • a. Unless you give me a refund, I will never stay in your horrible hotel again and am telling everyone I know to stay away.
  • b. Please, give me back my money. I need it back badly.
  • c. Refund my money ASAP.  Thx.
  • d. I want my money back. Cash is best.  Thank you!!!
  • e. While I have encountered good experiences with this chain in the past, Hotel Paradise did not live up to its promises of air-conditioning, complimentary internet, and cleanliness, which had a negative impact on my recent trip.  The fairest way to handle this situation would be for Hotel Paradise to comply with my request for a refund.

Answer: _____

5. A high school junior is applying for a scholarship that is based on achievements and academic merit. Given this rhetorical situation, which approach would be effective?

  • a. I have done a lot for my community–just ask my teachers.
  • b. While I am a good person, I don’t have a lot to show for it, so I’m hoping you’ll overlook this and just know I would make good use of the scholarship money.
  • c. Throughout my first two years of high school, I have participated in Student Government and volunteered for America Reads while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
  • d. Thus far in my high school career, I can say I’ve made the most of my years here, as I’ve had great times with friends and learned a lot about life.

Answer: _____

6. Match the rhetorical triangle concept with its corresponding meaning.

___ 1. Ethos

___ 2. Pathos

___ 3. Logos

a. Inherent Feasibility

b. Appeal to Emotions

c. Credibility

7. What is MLA?

  • a. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association,” and this association provides guidelines for formatting essays and citing source material.
  • b. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association” and publishes academic arguments meant to be seen as models of effective argumentation in the sciences.
  • c. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association,” and this group develops guidelines for the advertising and marketing world and helps companies build brand names.
  • d. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association,” and this organization focuses on modernizing language so that we use words that are current and up-to-date when we talk with one another.

Answer: _____

8. Titles of longer works, including books, newspapers, journals, and films, should be italicized, while titles of shorter works, including poems, stories, chapters, essays, and songs, should be placed in quotes. Example:

Literature for Composition contains many excellent short stories, including John Updike’s “A & P” and Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat.”

  • a. True
  • b. False

Answer: _____

9. Which is correct for formatting an MLA “Works Cited” citation for a print newspaper article?

  • a. Quarrelle, Paola.  “Funding Fury:  Budget Woes in Smalltown, U.S.A.”  Daily Smalltown Gazette, 20 Jan. 2015, p. C11.
  • b. Quarrelle, Paola. “Funding Fury: Budget Woes in Smalltown, U.S.A.” Daily Gazette [Smalltown, AZ] 20 Jan. 2015: C11.
  • c. “Funding Fury: Budget Woes in Smalltown, U.S.A.” Quarrelle, Paola. Daily Gazette [Smalltown, AZ] 20 Jan. 2015: C11. Print.
  • d. 1. Quarrelle, Paola. “Funding Fury: Budget Woes in Smalltown, U.S.A.” Daily Gazette [Smalltown, AZ] 20 Jan. 2015: C11.

Answer: _____

10. Which of the following illustrates a correct way to format a “Works Cited” citation for a web source that has no identified author?

  • a. http://www.accuratestateinfolink.com/arizonakeyfacts.html.  Retrieval date:  August 7, 2015.
  • b. “Arizona: Key Facts.” Stateinfolink, 15 May 2015, www.stateinfolink.com/az.html. Accessed 7 Jan. 2017.
  • c. No author. “Arizona: Key Facts.” Organization for Accurate State Information, n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2015.
  • d. 1.   No author. “Arizona: Key Facts,” n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2015.

Answer: _____