Reflect on the writing process for your first essay. Answer these questions:
- What did you do well in your essay?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your essay?
- Where did you struggle, if at all?
What would someone have to say to change your mind on something you believe?
What is an Argument?
Claims, reasons, and evidence.
An argument is a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.
Reasons + evidence in support of your over all claim. Mainly relying on reason and logic.
Intro to Rhetoric
Language is an art form. Here is the Wikipedia definition of Rhetoric.
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.
Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric
“The faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion“
Ethos: Appeals to Ethics, Credibility or Character. Ethics, ethical, trustworthiness or reputation, style/tone. The credibility of the speaker persuades.
Pathos: Appeals to Emotion. Emotional or imaginative impact, stories, values. Uses emotional response to persuade an audience.
Logos: Appeals to logic. Persuade by reason and evidence.
- Evidence, S.T.A.R.
- Rhetorical Questions
- Transitions and connections
- Anticipate objections and answering
Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Speech
- How is he appealing to each?
- What is his argument?
- Do you find him persuasive?
Chapter 2 Critical Reading
- Author: You can discern information from the author or the author bio.
- Place of Publication: may reveal subject, style, and approach.
- Title: May give an idea about the text.
- Context: Consider the situational conditions the text was produced.
- Context of production
- Content of consumption
- Skimming: Pay close attention to headings and subheadings. Look for the Thesis.
- Thesis: The main point or major claim
The First and Last Rule
Authors place main points of emphasis at the beginning and ending of essays, paragraphs, and sentences.
Reading with a Careful Eye
Underline, highlight, or annotate the text. Read for the main points, or important points. Do not highlight everything.
Read with a purpose. Read to understand, question, and analyze the text.
“This; Therefore, That”
To arrive at a coherent thought or series of thoughts that will lead to a reasonable conclusion. Follow the text you are readings thoughts as well as your own before reaching a conclusion.
Define Terms and Concepts
Read carefully to how the terms and concepts are used in the argument. Define words and concepts.
Summarizing and Paraphrase
Summary: Say briefly what the whole adds up to.
Paraphrase: a word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase rewording of a text. A translation of the author’s language into your own.
Why summary and paraphrase?
- validate the basis of your argument.
- clarify the complex ideas contained in a text.
- support your argument
- lend authority to your voice
- help you build new ideas from existing ideas on the topic.
Paraphrase, Patchwriting, and Plagiarism
Quoting: Copy word for word
Paraphrase: reword a point or idea.
Summarize: the main idea of a text.
Patchwriting: produce a medley of borrowed words and original words.
Plagiarism: Submitting the work of others intentionally or unintentionally as your own.
To avoid plagiarism, carefully track your notes, paraphrases, and summaries.
Strategies for Summarizing
Summarize paragraphs so you can follow the threads of the argument.
A summary can be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page long. Depends on how much room you have and how much you need to include.
Summary does not include your own thoughts.
Summaries can be for reading comprehension, but in essay writing the point is to assist your own argument.
Remember when writing a summary you are putting yourself into the author’s shoes.
A longer summary that you intent to integrate into your own argument, and with your own ideas interjected.
- Introduce the summary.
- Explain the major point the source makes.
- Exemplify by offering one or more representative examples.
- Problematize by placing your assessment, analysis, and questions in the summary.
- Extend by tying the summary to your argument.
Chapter 3: Critical Reading
Chapter 2 was an introduction into critical reading. Critical reading is very important to critical thinking and writing. The two main points are:
- One should read carefully
- Making a summary helps one grasp an argument.
While these may seem obvious, they are also often ignored by students. Knowledge begins with reading carefully. Students that struggle with critical writing and argument usually have a difficult time because they failed to read carefully.
DO NOT ASSUME you know what they are talking about. You need to put in the time to read, follow, and understand others arguments in order to become a critical thinker and writer.
Writing a summary of a reading or an argument helps us to make sure that we understood it correctly. I ask you to summarize in your weekly journals, because I am looking for how you are reading something, if you are reading it correctly and understanding it. It is very easy to miss read something.
Chapter 3, Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments takes us further into critical reading. It is much more in depth and thorough.
Persuasion is to convince someone else to accept or adopt your position, which can be accomplished in a number of ways (80).
Argument writing or critical writing focuses more on the logos, or appeal to reason.
- Logos: appeal to reason
- Pathos: appeal to emotions
- Ethos: appeal to credibility or trustworthiness
Argument represents only one form of persuasion, one that relies on the cognitive or intellectual capacity for reason (80).
An argument doesn’t require two speakers or writers with opposing positions. They may, but you can write an argument, using appeals to reason with out setting it up as a dispute.
Dispute is a special kind of argument in which two or more people express views that are at odds (81).
Reason v Rationalization
Reason: the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.
We can reason through induction and deduction.
Deduction takes beliefs and assumptions and extracts their hidden consequences/conclusions (106).
- Premise: Humans are mortal
- Premise: Socrates is human
- Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
This statement is a syllogism. premise + premise = Conclusion
All premises must be true
The syllogism must be valid, premises support the conclusion.
Then, the argument is said to be sound.
Fallacies are kinds of invalid arguments.
Induction uses information about observed cases to reach a conclusion about unobserved cases.
If we see the train arrive at six am, several days in a row, we can reason that it will arrive at six am tomorrow.
Unlike deduction, induction yields conclusions that go beyond the information contained in the premises used in their support.
Rationalize means to devise a self serving reason.
We can come up with reasons and justifications to make ourselves feel better, but that does not mean that we are using reason. This is where the struggle will always be.
We can’t be sure we are not rationalizing, but we can seek to think critically, examine our beliefs, scrutinize out assumptions, look for counter evidence, and think if it’s reasonably possible to draw different conclusions (92).
We need to have sufficient sample size in order to reason effectively.
Assumptions can be stated or unstated, explicit or implicit.
Implicit assumption is one that is not stated but, rather, is taken for granted.
An explicit assumption is one that is stated and given as evidence, also known as a premise.
Evidence: facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Different disciplines use different kinds of evidence. We can use a text, field research, or experiments as evidence.
Experimentation: science involves the systematic study of claims tested, designed to yield particular observations.
Examples: a previous sample used as evidence.
- Real events drawn from history.
- Artificial or hypothetical cases cannot be used for evidence but can be used for persuasion.
Analogies: a kind of comparison that asserts things that are alike in some ways are alike in others.
Authoritative Testimony: citation or quotation of authorities.
Statistics: numbers and data used to support claims.
- Graphs, Tables, Numbers
- Statistics can be misused and can be seen as misleading.
- Unreliable statistics, looks impressive but is insubstantial or irrelevant.
Satire: witty ridicule
Irony: contrasts what is said and what is meant
Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
Humor: being amusing or comical in writing or speech.
In arguments we appeal to reason. Sometimes emotional appeals can be used effectively to aid the reason. Appeals to emotions can distract from the facts of the case, but they can also make the audience care about the evidence.
Are emotional appeals fallacious?
You should focus on the facts and offer reasons, but you may also provoke appropriate emotions in the readers. Be careful.
- Do not falsify
- Do not distract attention from the facts
- Do think ethically about how emotional appeals may affect the audience.
Does All Writing Contain Argument?
No, but most does. Most writing uses reason to get the reader to agree with what the writer is saying.
In college, you should be using reason and evidence to support what you are saying. There should be a clear purpose and reason to your writing, hence it should be an argument.
Essay 2: Rhetorical Analysis
You will argue for your interpretation of the text.
A rhetorical analysis of a text examines a text rhetorically. The meaning of the word text depends on how creative you want to get. A text can be a book, article, consumer product, movie, advertisement, or commercial, to name a few. For this assignment you will pick a text, define, describe, and analyze the rhetorical context and/or argument the text is making. All texts have an author or authors and are created with a purpose. A rhetorical analysis helps us to understand the purpose it was created for and what it is saying or arguing.
Consider the ethos, pathos, and logos of the text. What appeals are being used in the text you are analyzing? Ethos – appeals to character. Pathos – emotional appeals. Logos – appeals to reason and evidence.
What to look at for a Rhetorical Analysis
- Consider the topic.
- Consider the audiences of the text.
- Consider the author.
- Consider the medium and design.
- Examine the language.
- Consider the occasion.
Be specific when referring to your text. Have the text in front of you if you can. Then you can reference specifics and avoid generalizations.
- 1500 to 2000 words in length
- 3 to 5 credible sources
- Works Cited
- Image of text or the advertisement itself as featured image
- Clear thesis and introduction
- Use of ethos, pathos, and logos
- Well-supported claims
- Specific references and details from the text
- A conclusion tying together your analysis
Remember, this is a formal assignment, make sure you are using appropriate tone and diction! Talk about the text, not what you think about the text!
Let’s look at a speech and then we will do a rhetorical analysis.
Sample Rhetorical Analyses
- Read Chapter 4, Visual Rhetoric
- Locate a text for Analysis