Assignment #2: Rhetorical Analysis
A rhetorical analysis focuses on the rhetorical moves a text makes in order to be persuasive. The word “text” here can refer to things that have no text in them at all (e.g. videos, ads, etc.). Your task for this assignment is to choose an advertisement of any medium and analyze how its author utilizes rhetorical strategies in order to influence an audience.
Keep in mind that advertisements are not always meant to persuade someone to buy something. Their creators could intend to dissuade consumers from buying a product or service; or maybe they want to encourage young people to join the Army; or they might make a public service announcement about the dangers of smoking. Your analysis should take these intentions into consideration, but your primary goal is to determine how the advertisement’s designers attempt to fulfill their persuasive purpose.
The Subject of Your Analysis
The range of subjects for your analysis is restricted to advertisements. These can be print ads in magazines, television commercials, movie trailers, propaganda pieces, posters, web page banners, etc. – in other words, anything designed specifically to move an audience to act. If you find a subject that interests you but you don’t think it falls within this purview, talk to me about it. Ideally, you’ll be able to find something that lines up with a personal hobby or even a professional interest. But you can certainly branch out and explore unfamiliar things, as well.
Your analysis should consider the subject’s intended audience, topic, and purpose. Who is targeted by this advertisement? What is the ad’s main idea? Specifically, what is the author trying to get his or her audience to do?
The Form of Your Analysis
The form of this essay will be a little more structured than your Personal Narrative. Present some background information on your subject in the first one or two paragraphs. Include a thesis statement – most likely immediately following the background info. Make claims, describe evidence, and provide analysis in the body paragraphs. Finally in the concluding paragraph, summarize your key points and connect your work to a larger context.
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