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Essay 3: Politics and Advertisements

Rhetorical Analysis and Argument Assignment

Main Premise:
For your third major essay, you will analyze (break down) the persuasive strategies of either a political text or
an advertisement. Your purpose for this assignment is twofold: to show how the text is working rhetorically and
to make an argument about the effectiveness of the persuasive techniques being used. You must also connect
your ideas and points to at least two selections from Chapter 8 or Chapter 12 of Language Awareness.
Consider the following options in brainstorming for a topic:
Political Speech or Debate (written or spoken, historical or modern)
Political Campaign Advertisement (TV, radio, print text)
Historical advertisement (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, etc.)
Modern advertisement (TV, magazine, newspaper, radio, internet-based, etc.)
Note that you may also compare two texts if your chosen pieces are brief and/or simple and only if the
comparison will prove more beneficial than a close analysis of an individual text. If you choose this route or
have other ideas not listed here, please see me for approval.
Getting Started:
1) Rhetorical Analysis: What message(s) is the text communicating? Who is the audience for this message?
What does this text convey about the creator of the message (politician, company, organization)? What
rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, pathos) are applied? What assumptions or stereotypes are evident in this
text/message? What rhetorical devices (propaganda, weasel words, etc.) are used? What do you notice
about the language used? If the text is visual, what do you notice about color, space, light, placement,
2) Argument: Do you find the text effectively persuasive? Why/why not? What rhetorical aspects of the text
(see above questions) do you find most convincing and/or successful? Which aspects are less
convincing/successful? Why?
Task Requirements:
3-5 pages (with a minimum of 3 full pages)
Double spaced (no extra spacing permitted)
1-inch margins
Times New Roman 12-point font
A copy, link, or transcription of the text must be attached at the end of the essay
[essential rubric terms underlined]
Due to the dual nature of this essay, you must make sure that you balance analysis with argument. If you base
your argument in your thesis on the points you make in analyzing the text, then these two parts should
demonstrate coherence (consistence/unity). Make sure that the evidence you include from Ch. 8 or 12 are
relevant and synthesized with other points you are making in your analysis. Your audience for this piece is
educated adults who are not familiar with your chosen text, so you should describe your text with accurate,
precise detail. Finally, your conclusion should reflect on the significance of your claims to society at large.
Deadlines and Dates:
1st Draft/Peer Review: Nov. 16 (Blackboard +1 printed copy)
Final Draft: Nov. 23 (Blackboard before class)