Part 4: Comparing Rhetoric Final Paper
In Part 4, your final analysis comparing the rhetoric of the two papers, including all thesis
statements, a discussion of strategies with examples, a comparison of the two pieces, their
sources and success or failure at making a compelling case.
You will submit one complete and polished paper that includes all of the following
(1) A title that identifies your topic and intention.
(2) A complete and proper citation (including the date and URL) for each of the articles you
(3) A paragraph that provides an introduction to your topic and its geographic significance
(Who does it impact? Where?), as well as a brief summary of the two news article (What is
each article about?). Be sure to include all relevant dates, times, places, and people (or
groups of people) in your summary, as well as the author’s purpose. (Note: A writer’s
purpose may be to entertain, inform, explain, persuade, or reflect, and this will determine
the type of article that is written -- expository writing, explanatory writing, persuasive
writing, personal narrative, and so on.)
(3) A paragraph that identifies the thesis of each author and your thesis statements about
each paper. Remember that your thesis must identify a minimum of two rhetorical
strategies used by each (so, two for each, four total), and no more than three, to support
[Note: the author’s thesis is NOT the same as their purpose. If you do not understand what a
thesis is, please see the sample paper, suggested resources, and/or contact your instructor.]
(3) Three to four paragraphs describing/discussing the two examples of each rhetorical
strategy you identified in paragraph two, describing and explaining how each author has
constructed their pieces to convey their thesis. You may devote one paragraph to each
author or discuss the two together as long as it is clear and makes logical sense to do so.
(4) Two to three paragraphs comparing the two articles and the authors’ success or failure at
constructing a persuasive argument and conclude your writing. Things you should consider
in this paragraph include:
⚫ The source of each article. Does this have any bearing on how the article’s validity? Why
or why not?
⚫ The rhetorical strategies. Was one article more or less successful at the art of
persuasive rhetoric? Why? How can rhetorical strategies influence readers?
⚫ The significance of the topic. Is this topic politically or culturally divisive (controversial)?
Is it new, or has it been relevant for years or decades? Is it emotional?
Example for Part 4: Example Response
Suggested Student References
Information about thesis statements
Thesis Statements (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel
How to Write a Thesis Statement (Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University
How to write a rhetorical analysis
⚫ Writing a Rhetorical Analysis (UBC Writing Centre,The University of British
⚫ Tips for Writing a Rhetorical Analysis (pdf; The Quality Writing Center at the
University of Arkansas Fayetteville)
⚫ Rhetorical Analysis (University Writing Center, Texas A&M University)
⚫ Organizing your Analysis (Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University)
Crafting a short paper is often harder than a long paper! The body of text (paragraphs) of
your paper should be between 1400 and 1800 words. At the very beginning of your response,
please type your word count in parentheses, for example: (Word count: 1550).
Academic dishonesty (including plagiarism, in any form), will not be tolerated and will
result in a ZERO for the paper and/or the course (see syllabus for details about academic
dishonesty). Plagiarism includes reusing your own past assignments submitted in this or
another course. You will turn your document in for grading by uploading it to the
assignment (TurnItIn) dropbox. We use TurnItIn to scan all documents to detect unoriginal,
improperly cited, and/or reused (that is, potentially plagiarized) content--you have access
to this report.
You can use any citation style/format you like, so long as you use it correctly. The preferred
citation style is the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (author-date). Please
see the Proper Citation Format document in this module for guidance, or you can use Google
to answer your questions about the Chicago Manual of Style format (for example, Google
“Chicago Manual of Style, website citation”).
Include your name, class, and date in the body of your submitted file. For example, write
"Jane Doe, ISS310, Jan. 1, 2020" at the top of the first page of your file. Failure to provide
this information can result in a deduction of points from your assignment grade.
Be sure to use correct spelling and grammar, and fully answer the question to gain maximum
points on this assignment. Writing quality is extremely important and can have significant
influence on your grade.
LATE submissions will NOT be accepted for full credit (see the course syllabus for the late
Note: This example is the work of an online geography staff member for the sole and
intended purpose of giving you an idea of the type of paper you should be writing in
terms of content. The topic and articles used in this example may NOT be the same
as those used in the current semester/session. Also be advised that if you are given
specific directives in your write-up and you do not follow those instructions, you will
be marked down regardless of whether or not they are included in this example.
Further, you must use in-text citations if you use any sources other than your two
articles and provide a list of your references at the end of your work--this example
does not use supporting sources to introduce or conclude the topic, however, it is
likely that you will need support.
You do not have to highlight your paper. The highlighting in this example is to direct
you to important components.
Yellow highlighting identifies the thesis of author Niraj Chokshi.
Bright pink highlighting identifies the thesis of author Greg Re.
Green highlighting identifies at least two rhetorical strategies used by each author.
Blue highlighting identifies the source and its significance.
Orange highlighting identifies a comparison of the two articles.
Blue highlighting also identifies an evaluation of the success and failure of the
author’s use of rhetoric.
Karen K. Student
ISS310, section 730, January 1, 2020
(Word Count: 1535)
A comparison of the rhetoric of two authors reporting on the altercation that
took place at the border on November 25, 2018.
Chokshi, Niraj. “Photo of Children Fleeing Tear Gas at Border in Mexico Sparks
Anger.” The New York Times, November 26, 2018,
Re, Gregg. “Trump: 'Grabber' migrants used children as human shields at border.”
Fox News, November 26, 2018,
Over the past year, migrant caravans stemming from the politically, economically, and
criminally volatile countries of the Northern Triangle in Central America, including
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have repeatedly made news as they have
advance toward the United States - Mexico border. Policies surrounding the people
traveling in these caravans have not only been dragged through American and
International media channels, but have also strained relations between the United
States and Mexico along the borderlands, as quite often the drive has culminated in
turmoil at the border between the two. The advance of several hundred migrants, part
of a much larger caravan, on November 25 proved to be no different, except this time
United States border patrol agents unleashed canisters of tear gas on the rushing
Author of “Photo of Children Fleeing Tear Gas at Border in Mexico Sparks Anger”
Niraj Chokshi uses his piece to chastise the Trump administration’s immigration
policies and rebuke the United States Customs and Border Protection agency for their
hasty decision to fire noxious tear gas upon a crowd that included the many in the
most vulnerable population, children. Reporting on the same event, Re, in a story for
Fox News, asserts that the actions of the United States Customs and Border
Protection agency were both routine and necessary, as agents acted in self defense,
and in the same way previous administrations did, against a violent mob that included
criminals and migrants acting to fatally harm children and agents in wanton disregard
for the rule of law. To make his case, Choksi leans heavily on pathos, or an emotional
appeal to readers, with charged words and narrative, and calls upon eyewitness
testimony to give an account of the events that took place, all while understating the
seriousness of the altercation. Re, likewise presents his own story, also using
authoritative evidence to appeal to the reader’s fears of the event and those involved,
and presenting statistical evidence to discredit the opposition, specifically those that
would say the actions taken by border agents were extreme or unjustified.
The Chokshi piece opens with the image of a woman grabbing the hands of her two
children amid a cloud of tear gas seen in the background. The narrative Chokshi
begins to weave is one of a scared mother, the children, he points out, are barefoot
and in diapers. Chokshi, in perhaps what could be considered a strategy of
understatement, then refers to the entire situation as “chaos,” while the Trump
administration has deemed it, per Re’s piece, “an extremely dangerous situation.”
Chokshi continues his emotionally charged narrative with a quote from the mother
describing her fear and sadness and saying she thought her children were going to
die as they inhaled the gas.
The photographer also provides eyewitness support for Chokshi’s assessment in a
firsthand account of what transpired at the border. He had been travelling with the
migrants in the days before taking photos, when, as he describes to Chokshi, several
members broke from the group and rushed the border, a few men started digging at
the border fence. Within minutes, tear gas was fired and the men retreated, leaving
behind about 12 fuming canisters, including the one near the family. Another photo
used to illustrate this shows one of the same children from the previous photo clearly
distraught and in tears; he had lost his shoes from running, so not only was the tear
gas causing him pain, but his feet were hurting too. Chokshi is sure to provide readers
with expert testimony from the Center for Disease Control to back-up what readers
see in the photo, noting the harmful effects of tear gas including, shortness of breath,
choking, chemical burns, and blindness, particularly in the most vulnerable
populations, like children.
If we turn our attention to Re’s piece, a different view of the so-called chaos is
revealed. The story opens not with the photo of a mother and her children, but a video
of President Trump and his account of the situation. The President describes the
migrants who rushed the border as “grabbers,” a term he created for “violent people”
who snatch up children from the caravan and use them as human shields so that they
can charge the border without being fired upon. Trump also notes that border patrol
agents were “very badly hurt” in the charge as rocks were thrown at them. The
narrative then switches to the mother, who, as reported by Re, knowingly put herself
and her children in danger. Re uses the President’s authoritative testimony to paint a
picture of a dangerous showdown during which violent migrants put innocent people,
including children and border agents, in imminent, potentially fatal danger. Turning
that rhetoric to fear, Re informs readers that the Department of Homeland Security
can confirm that most of the migrant caravan is not even eligible for asylum--they are
not fleeing danger or violence, Re notes, they are coming for good jobs and to join
family--and includes hundreds of criminals who have been convicted for serious and
abhorrent crimes including child abuse and rape.
Re, knowing that his article is clearly written for those who support stricter border and
immigration policies, uses the end of his piece to anticipate any opposition with some
statistical evidence. Those, like Chokshi, who would say that these are the
overreactions of a rogue president and his draconian ideas about immigration and
asylum. Re says that while democrats lined up to admonish the President and the
actions of border agents, these actions were no different than those of the Obama
administration, a beloved democratic president, whose time in office was marked by
the use of tear gas at the border once per month on average. The opposition who is
now calling the use of tear gas “horrendous” (the quotes are Re’s), are clearly
hypocrites who supported its use throughout the previous administration.
The comparison of the two articles above illustrates how one story can be presented
from two opposing viewpoints. One relying mostly on emotional appeal and
eyewitness testimony to show how a minor altercation by a few out-of-line
asylum-seekers resulted in an overzealous reaction by border agents, who, acting in
accordance with the President’s policies, put a mother and her young children in
danger of irreparable harm. All of this the result of a President’s “harsh tactics and
uncompromising policies” on immigration and asylum. The other view dismisses the
idea that this was anything but a violent uprising that had to quickly be put down with
swift force before agents, mothers, and children were harmed. Re reports that these
were not desperate migrants fleeing a dangerous situation, rather they are the
dangerous situation, convicted criminals not only ineligible for asylum, but also
looking to force their way into the United States and bring harm to the American
people. The Trump administration simply followed suit with the Obama Administration
and used tear gas to prevent what could have been a deadly outcome for border
agents and, ultimately, a scourge on the American population.
For those familiar with the media, it may come as no surprise that Re writes for
conservative news source Fox News, while Chokshi is a contributor to The New York
Times, one sympathetic to the President, the other a harsh critic (Katz 2018). It is
likely that there are truths found within both stories, perhaps Chokshi chose to ignore
the criminal behavior of some in the caravan as well as the outcome of past border
altercations that happened during the Obama administration. Re, on the other hand,
chose to emphasize the caravans criminal constituent and dismiss the idea that any in
the caravan where fleeing a violent situations in their home countries. For readers
who believe Re’s thesis, these migrants are illegal immigrants coming to the United
States for good jobs and family. These same people attempted to sacrifice children to
protect themselves and, with serious criminal backgrounds, are ultimately a threat to
the American people.
Considering at the source of both articles and thinking critically about the rhetoric that
the authors chose, including the information that was presented as well as that which
was not, it is clear that writing to inform can also be a powerful tool to persuade or
confirm one’s existing beliefs. While I feel that Re’s article relied too much on the
President’s account, the account of someone who was not there and presenting a
theory of “grabbers” without substantiation, I also believe the Chokshi’s account was a
bit narrow in its reporting of the situation by focusing so much on the experience of
one photo and one family, including information like the potential, but not probable,
damage that can result from tear gas, even though the mother and her children were
unharmed. However, both authors were successful in their appeal to their audience,
Chokshi to that of younger, left-leaning liberals and Re to that of older, devout
conservatives (Sawhill, Krause, and Sawhill 2018; Mitchell et al. 2018). Chokshi
evoked strong emotion and sensitivity toward a vulnerable population preyed upon by
those with power, while the latter displayed patriotism by supporting the President and
those protecting our borders, while also stirring fear of the criminals who wish to enter
our country, break the law and take jobs and entitlements meant for American
Katz, A.J. "Here's the Median Age of the Typical Cable News Viewer." Adweek.
January 19, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018.
Mitchell, Amy, Jeffrey Gottfried, Jocelyn Kiley, and Katerina Eva Matsa. "Political
Polarization & Media Habits." Pew Research Center's Journalism Project. April 26,
2018. Accessed November 29, 2018.
Sawhill, V., Eleanor Krause, and Isabel V. Sawhill. "Gauging the Role of Fox News in
Our Electoral Divide." Brookings.edu. September 20, 2017. Accessed November 29,
Grading Rubric: Comparing Rhetoric
Points to be addressed in your response:
1. Title that appropriately describes the paper's content.
2. Introduction of the topic and two articles.
3. Two thesis statements, one per author/article.
4. A minimum of two rhetorical strategies used by each author.
5. Description and examples of how each strategy is used by each author to communicate
their thesis to the reader.
6. Identification and significance of the source of each article.
7. A comparison of the two articles to one another.
8. Statement(s) that details the success of the two authors in communicating their theses
and significance of their rhetoric.
All of the points
in the rubric
provided in the
All of the points
in the rubric
provided in the
All of the points
in the rubric
provided in the
Paper's content and details are
Paper's content demonstrates a minimal.
of rhetoric and an adequate
of rhetoric and the authors'
the authors' use use of rhetoric. of rhetoric and
the authors' use
One or more of
the points in
provided in the
module are not
Two or more of
the points in the
in the writing
module are not
Paper topic and
line of argument
are very well
laid-out and is
Paper topic and
Paper topic and
Focus is mostly
Paper topic and
vague in parts.
Focus is not
Paper at times
goes off topic.
Paper is off topic
and does not
Paper's content address the
an incomplete Paper's content
of rhetoric and little to no
use of rhetoric. rhetoric and the
authors' use of
Focus is not
clear with no
Writing is very
Easy to read
transitions and a
clear. Easy to
logical flow of
places; shows Difficult to read ideas are
Coherence & understand and good
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