Quick Write

Write for a couple minutes on the quote above.

Deliberately Target Your Purpose

Thinking is always guided by purposes. Your purpose is whatever you try to accomplish; goals and objectives.

Figure out what you are after and how you are seeking it. Does what you do match with what you want to accomplish.

Examine personal goals, economic goals, and social goals. Make a list of important goals and determine whether you find inconsistencies in them.

Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish? Is this purpose realistic?

Superficial vs. Deep Thinking

What is the difference?

Clarify Your Thinking

Muddled Thinking is the key to a muddled life. – Anonymous

Our own thinking usually seems clear to us, even when it is not. If you are to develop as a thinker, you must learn the art of clarifying your thinking-of pinning it down, spelling it out, and giving it a specific meaning.

One of the most important things we can do to clarify our thinking and our understanding is to summarize your own words and what you think they said.

Vague, fuzzy, blurred thinking is the enemy of critical thinking. Try to figure our the real meaning.

How does this connect to our weekly journals?

Analyzing Arguments

Chapter 5 in our textbook is about writing an analysis of an argument. This is what we are doing with our rhetorical analysis. We are analyzing the argument that the text and the author are making. This is an important skill to learn to become a better critical thinker. We should not only be clear with our arguments, but have an understanding of how other people make arguments. Why do you think that is?

In groups, summarize the points or takeaways of each section from our textbook.

  • Examining the Author’s Thesis
  • Examining the Author’s Purpose
  • Examining the Author’s Methods
  • Examining the Author’s Persona
  • Examining Persona and Intended Audience

Pages 186-187 have checklists that are helpful for doing the work of analyzing arguments. Use these as guidelines to begin your analysis.

Page 195 has a checklist for writing your analysis of an argument. Very helpful for the early stages of drafting.


Rhetorical Analysis Notes

  • What is the primary purpose of the text? To entertain, inform, persuade, demonstrate knowledge, something else?
  • Consider the topic. What point does it make?
  • Who is the primary audience? How well is it adapted to the audience?
  • Consider the author. What is her aim?
  • Consider the medium and design. What is the genre of the text?
  • Consider the occasion. Why was it created?
  • Media/Design. How does the medium affect the tone and organization?

Let’s apply these questions in groups of two or three.

Rhetorical Situation

rhetorical situation is the context of a rhetorical act, made up (at a minimum) of a rhetor (a speaker or writer), an issue (or exigence), a medium (such as a speech or a written text), and an audience. Source

The Rhetorical Situation, or context for writing. The author has a purpose and is writing for an audience. They each affect one another.

Critical Thinking and Research

  • Identify important problems.
  • Explore relevant issues.
  • Evaluate available evidence.
  • Consider the implications of the decisions.

Critical thinking is NOT collecting information to support established conclusion.

  • Survey, considering as many perspectives as possible.
  • Analyze, identifying and then separating out the parts of the problem.
  • Evaluate, judging the merit of various ideas, claims, and evidence.

Why Use Sources?

  • To understand an issue
  • See what has come before
  • To find the facts
  • To inform and persuade your audience

You need to understand that research is connected with ethos, an appeal that establishes credibility with readers.

Sample Rhetorical Analyses

The Hypersexualization of Women in Media

The Truth About America


Which Doll Looks Like You?

Author’s Purpose

We previously talked about having a purpose for everything we do. Now we can see that purpose is also important when writing.

Rhetoricians agree that all writing should begin first with a purpose.

Author’s Purpose is the reason for the text.

All good writing has a purpose. When we write anything, it can be for any number of reasons. When you read a story, try to figure out why the author wrote it. What motivated them to write it? What are they trying to achieve with it?

What possible purpose can the author have? What purpose does the text have?

  • To Entertain
  • To Inform
  • To Persuade

These are the three main purposes a text can have, but these are not the only reasons.

In college, we write to learn, to build knowledge, and to demonstrate learning.

  • To Learn
  • To Build Knowledge
  • To Show learning

When you are given an assignment, figure out what your purpose is. What is the text supposed to convey? Good writing is purposeful. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can figure out how to accomplish it and if you accomplished it.

We can also think about writing within a conversation. You can write to summarize a conversation in order to understand it. You can write to enter a conversation, or to add to an existing one.

  • To understand
  • To Enter a Conversation
  • To Join a Conversation

Quick Write

What is our purpose in writing a rhetorical analysis?

What texts are you considering for the Rhetorical Analysis?


No class on Tuesday


  1. Locate text for analysis
  2. Begin research
  3. Read Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical Analysis
  4. Rough Draft 2 next Thursday
  5. Journal 3 Due by Saturday night