Rhetorical Appeals Analysis Essay
Activity 1# Prewriting
For this paper, you will analyze the rhetorical appeals of a writer and evaluating the effectiveness of those appeals in
terms of North Texas Daily readers. Your audience will be the North Texas Daily opinion editor. The purpose of
rhetorical analysis is to understand how texts work to sway readers. As part of your initiation into an academic
discourse community, you will need to learn the discourse conventions of your major field of study (e.g., common
topics, distinctive vocabulary, field specific values, backgrounds of participants, etc.) and understand how those
conventions work to influence people in the field. The primary way you will learn these conventions is by
immersing yourself in the field’s textual conversations and thinking critically about the way written language
functions to establish, communicate, and disseminate field-specific knowledge. The purpose of this paper, then, is to
give you practice reading the work of a writer engaged in a textual conversation you’re not yet familiar with,
analyzing the rhetorical moves that writer makes, and considering how those rhetorical moves will be received by
In rhetorical studies, invention refers to the systematic search for ideas that can be shaped into an effective
composition. (The term “prewriting” is sometimes used to refer to the concept of invention.) This section of the
assignment, then, is designed to help you generate the required content for your Rhetorical Analysis. Please note that
the following steps are not intended to serve as an outline for your paper. Rather, these steps will help you produce
the “raw materials” that you will then refine into a well-organized analysis, and these steps are likely to produce
more material than you can actually use in the draft you submit to readers.
1. Your editor will need to know the author’s central claim.
2. Your editor also needs to know what reasons the author is providing to support his/her central claim. In order to
identify the author’s supporting reasons, imagine that you could ask the writer in person: • “Why do you believe that
[central claim]?” Based on the information in the article, how do you think the writer would answer? Would the
writer reply with just one reason, or would there be many? If there would be many, what would they be? Please note
that inventional steps 3-6 will generate the majority of content for your Rhetorical Analysis because this is where
you analyze and evaluate the article’s effectiveness with North Texas Daily readers. To produce such an
analysis/evaluation, draw on your knowledge of the North Texas Community (e.g., well-educated, intellectually
curious, ethnically and politically diverse, etc.). Use empathy and imagination to put yourself in the shoes of readers
and make judgments about how they will respond to various rhetorical appeals and why they will respond in the way
you predict. Do not worry about whether your predictions of reader response are entirely accurate. You will not be
assessed on whether your predictions are “right” but on how well you justify your predictions. In other words, you
will be assessed on the reasonableness and depth of your descriptions of how readers will respond and why they will
respond in the way you describe.
3. Your editor will want to know whether the author provides evidence for his/her reasons and whether that evidence
will prove convincing to North Texas Daily readers. Ask yourself the following questions: • Will North Texas Daily
readers believe the author’s reasons are true automatically? (If so, then there’s no reason for the writer to provide
evidence.) If not, does the writer provide evidence to support his/her reasons? If so, is this evidence sufficient to
convince North Texas Daily readers that the author’s reasons are true?
4. Your editor will want to know whether the author addresses potential opponents. Ask yourself the following
questions: • Does the author anticipate objections to parts of his/her argument? If so, does the author represent
opponents fairly or set up straw men? Does the author concede certain points to opponents? Does the author provide
a convincing reply to opponents?
5. The previous four inventional steps will help you analyze and evaluate the writer’s logos appeals, but your editor
will also want to know about the author’s ethos appeals. Ask yourself the following questions: • Do the author’s
credentials make his/her claims more credible? Does the author seem knowledgeable and well-informed on the
topic? Does the author consider alternate viewpoints and treat opponents with respect? Does the author seem to have
the audience’s best interests at heart? Does the author draw on values he/she shares with the audience?
6. Your editor will also be interested in the author’s pathos appeals. Ask yourself the following questions: • Does the
author evoke emotions in North Texas readers that are likely to help his/her case? Does the author evoke sensations
in North Texas readers that will make the writing seem vivid? Does the author draw on values possessed by the
North Texas community?
Activity 2: Drafting the Rhetorical Appeals Analysis Essay
1. Once you’ve completed the prewriting worksheet, you should have a clear sense of how the article will be
received by North Texas Daily readers. Now you’re ready to determine whether you will recommend the article for
publication and why. The opinion editor is not overly concerned with whether readers will be convinced by the
author’s argument. Rather, the editor wants articles that readers will find interesting and thought provoking. Ask
yourself the following questions: • Is the article sufficiently nuanced, complex, and well-argued to engage North
Texas Daily readers? Is the topic of the article relevant to the North Texas community? Will North Texas Daily
readers learn anything from the article? Is the article’s argument controversial enough to elicit a range of responses
from North Texas Daily readers? Based on your answers to these questions, develop a claim for or against
publication and provide reasons for your decision. You will then support this thesis throughout the course of your
analysis, as you break down the article and explain how it will be received by North Texas Daily readers.
2. You yourself must also make effective ethos appeals so that you come across to your editor as a person of good
character, good sense, and good will. To make effective ethos appeals, make sure you: • know what you’re talking
about. Make sure you read the article deeply and thoroughly, and provide sufficient evidence to support your claim
for or against publication. • show regard for your editor. Try to come across as approachable and thoughtful, not
arrogant or insensitive. • are careful and meticulous in your writing, not sloppy or disorganized.
3. Finally, make pathos appeals to your editor by connecting with her/his emotions, values, and imagination. To
make effective pathos appeals, make sure you mix standard written English with “the kinds of expressions and turns
of phrase that you use every day when texting or conversing with family and friends”. You should adopt a slightly
more formal style than in your first paper because now you’re practicing a type of professional writing.
• evoke emotions (sympathy, outrage, anger, delight, awe, horror, etc.) in your editor that make your
paper more moving.
evoke sensations (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling) in your editor that make your
writing vivid and help her/him experience things imaginatively.
• appeal to values (freedom, justice, tolerance, fairness, equality, etc.) that your editor and you
4. Arrangement: In rhetorical studies, arrangement refers to the selection of content generated during the
inventional stage and the organization of that content into an effective composition. To begin your paper, you need
to indicate clearly not only what his or her thesis is, but also what larger conversation that thesis is responding to”.
In this case, the conversation you’re responding to is simply the one initiated by your editor’s request. Indicate at the
beginning of your paper—before you state your thesis—that you’re writing in response to that request. Once you
stated your thesis,, readers always need to know what is at stake in a text and why they should care. . . . Rather than
assume that audiences will know why your claims matter, you need to answer the ‘so what?’ and ‘who cares?’
questions up front. Even though you’re writing at your editor’s request, you can still make your analysis more
significant by explaining why it is important for North Texas Daily to publish—or not to publish—the article you’re
analyzing. . After you’ve completed these introductory moves, the arrangement of your analysis is up to you.
5 You should include material from each step in the inventional stage, but your selection and organization of that
material should follow your own judgment as to what will prove most effective with your editor.
6. Style: In rhetorical studies, style refers to the appropriate language or word choices for the occasion, subject
matter, and audience. You should adopt a slightly more formal style than in your first paper because you’re writing
in a professional setting. At the same time, this paper falls into the category of an inner-office memo not intended
for publication, so you need not adopt the highest level of formality. Readers appreciate coherent, unified
paragraphs, even when reading an informal piece of writing. Your paragraphs should include a topic sentence that
clearly states the main idea of the paragraph and supporting sentences that cluster around the main idea without
detours. Proofread carefully; avoid errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Visit the Purdue OWL
website (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) for questions you have regarding style.
*** Other Requirements: Your paper should be no longer than five pages—anything beyond that length will be
considered a failure to adhere to one of the assignment’s basic requirements. It should be double-spaced, typed in
Times New Roman font, with 12-point character size and one-inch margins all the way around. Draft due ( ); Final
Due ( )
Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the
earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle
them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes
which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed,— That whenever any Form of Government
becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence,
indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and
transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they
are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty,
to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.— Such has
been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains
them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great
Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the
establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing
importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained;
and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of
people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the
Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant
from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly
firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be
elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned
to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose
obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new
Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws
for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices,
and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to
harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our
constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which
they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases,
of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as
to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering
fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with
power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and
waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the
lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat
the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of
Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy of the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear
Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and
Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring
on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known
rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms:
Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is
thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from
time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have
appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our
common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our
connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of
consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation,
and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress,
Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do,
in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and
declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;
that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection
between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free
and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances,
establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right
do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
[The 56 signatures on the Declaration were arranged in six columns:]
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
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