Many rhetorical studies focus on individual pieces of rhetoric. Thus, your first assignment will also focus on an individual text. Since you are a beginning critic, this paper requires only that you use the Aristotelian model of criticism. The text is provided on the class web site. You get to practice finding your own background information. You need enough to help you reconstruct the rhetorical situation.


PART ONE: What Am I Doing? 1. What is your topic? Even though the text is assigned, assume your reader does not know this. Introduce us to the topic. One paragraph. 2. Why is your topic significant? In other words, why should the reader care? A topic can be significant in one or more ways. The reason you choose should relate to your thesis statement. 3. Write a paragraph or two on current research on the topic. What have other scholars

said already? 4. Present a clear thesis statement. For a traditional paper, it should have to do with

whether the speech was effective or ineffective, the quality of the arguments, or what the speech tells us about the culture.

PART TWO: Context Now do a brief a reconstruction of “rhetorical situation” surrounding the text. Lloyd Bitzer claims that the situation “calls a discourse into existence.” You thus

must understand the complex of events leading to a rhetorical work before you can understand the work itself. Where, and for what occasion was this presented? Who was the audience? Were there any constraints operating? You must back up any claims with research. The length of this section will vary depending on what you think is important.

PART THREE: Analysis Your method of analysis is patterned after Aristotle’s “tree.” What kind of speech is this? What lines of argument were followed? Start at the top and work all the way through down to logos, ethos, and pathos. Support your claims with examples from the text. PART FOUR: Conclusion Take a stab at having an opinion. Is this a “good” speech or not? Why? One paragraph, please.

General Requirements This paper should be 5-7 pages long. Typed. In MLA style using in-line citations, and a works cited list of at least 5 sources. PLEASE HAND YOUR PAPER TO THE DIGITAL DROPBOX, BY MIDNIGHT OF THE


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