Critical Evaluation Essay
The goal of this essay is to evaluate how well these authors
used rhetorical techniques to build an argument.
The thesis statement should look something like this:
Pres. Obama effectively used pathos to make us proud of our
country and he has strong ethos as evidenced by his role as Commander in Chief,
but close scrutiny reveals weaknesses in his use of logos.
The author makes effective use of logos and pathos to build
an argument, but the argument falls apart when we consider his lack of
credibility (weak ethos).
Consider these kinds of questions:
Is the argument logical? Does it seem reasonable? In the
real world, would this work? (logos)
Is the author trying to make us feel a certain way? Does
this emotional response feel compelling? (pathos)
Does the author have the professional experience to back
what he or she is saying? Do we trust him or her? Is he or she spinning a yarn
or telling us the truth? (ethos)
Choose one argument from the historic American or global
works listed below.
Decide whether this argument is successful or not. If you decide this essay is
successful, discuss why. You may use the structure of the argument, the tone,
and the various types of support (ethos, pathos, and logos) as proof of the
argument’s success. Make sure that your thesis has an introduction that
contains a hook and a thesis, body paragraphs that discuss one proof at a time
(one paragraph per example), and a conclusion. If you decide that the essay is
not successful, then discuss the fallacies that the argument makes. You are
still required to have a strong introduction (hook and thesis), body paragraphs
that discuss one fallacy at a time, and a conclusion. You may also discuss how
the essay is successful with reservations. In this case, point to both the
support and the fallacies you have found in the work.
This paper should be
at least 700 words, but no more than 850. The paper should be formatted correctly MLA style and written in third
person (do not use the words I, me, us, we, or you). The
essay should also contain citations and a works cited list. Formulate the
structured response from your own close reading of the text. Do not use outside
sources without explicit permission from the instructor.
Pick one of these for the essay.
Jefferson, Thomas. “The Unanimous Declaration of the
Thirteen United States of America.” National Archives. n.d. Web. 11 May 2012. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
Twain, Mark. “The Damned Human Race.” Moodyap.pbworks.com.
n.d. Web. 11 May 2012. http://moodyap.pbworks.com/f/Twain.damned.pdf
Szilard, Leo and Cosigners. “A Petition to the President of
the United States.” Atomicarchive.com. 2011. Web. 11 May 2012. http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/ManhattanProject/SzilardPetition.shtml
Hamilton, Alexander. “The Federalist No. 6 – Concerning
Dangers from Dissensions between the States.” Constitution Society. Nov. 11,
2011. Web. 11 May 2012. http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa06.htm