I’m working on a english project and need a reference to help me understand better.
When picking which essay to analyze, you should decide on one which strikes you as particularly well or poorly written. You should not choose an essay on the basis of whether or not you agree with the subject matter, but whether or not the essay is effective, independent of your stance on the issue at hand. Obviously then, it is entirely possible to disagree with the essay, but to have to admit that it is effective and convincing.
In these two Modules, assertions, evidence, assumptions, opposition, appeals, and fallacies have been covered; all of this information is crucial to writing the argument and, therefore, to the analysis of argument.
this is the analyses
I don’t know if anyone has seen this movie, but I saw it when it came out, and I quite honestly can’t remember if I liked it or not, but when I was trying to title the Page, it was what I came up with, so there you go!
Onto better information, this Page is the overview for our fourth, and, yes, last essay! Woo Hoo!
We have spent the last couple of weeks dabbling in argument; we have looked at its parts and written an argument of our own, so we are fairly versed in the structure, which is going to make this assignment that much easier!
We are still going to write an argument, but our argument is going to be that an essay is well or poorly-written, and we are going to reach that conclusion by analyzing the essay. You may or may not recall, but we spoke of Analysis in Module 7; there, I told you that the act of Analysis was a critical thinking skill and that it meant breaking an object into its parts to better evaluate it. Hence, in Essay 4, we are going to break an essay into its parts and argue that it is a valid or invalid argument.
In the fourth essay for this class, you will choose any essay from Responses 1-12. You can select an essay you have previously read and responded to, or you can opt for a brand-new essay. When picking which essay to analyze, you should decide on one which strikes you as particularly well or poorly written. You should not choose an essay on the basis of whether or not you agree with the subject matter, but whether or not the essay is effective, independent of your stance on the issue at hand. Obviously then, it is entirely possible to disagree with the essay, but to have to admit that it is effective and convincing.
There are basically two methods with which to approach the analysis of an essay. You can simply analyze the rhetorical features, or you can offer a more traditional approach, which utilizes the Toulmin Method.
Now that we have looked at Analysis is a broad scope, let’s go to the next Page to look at the Rhetorical Feature Analysis.
Looking at Parts
I have found that students are typically intimidated by the idea of analysis; maybe the word, itself, is frightening–it sounds so scientific. Well, relax. Analysis is not nearly as difficult as it seems.
At its base, essay or argument analysis is simply deconstructing the text, tearing it apart and looking at the pieces. We have been covering the parts of essays, as well as arguments, since the semester started, so we are already versed in that area; now, we need to determine how those parts achieve their effect: do the parts work together to formulate a well-written, logical, and effective essay?
The following list offers the rhetorical features that comprise an argumentative essay:
Fallacies (good essays will not use these flawed statements)
Tone (author’s attitude toward topic–look at word choices)
Style (sentence and paragraph lengths, words)
Voice (sense that the writer is a real person)
It is not necessary that students analyze all of the above-referenced components; select those that seem most relevant to the essay under analysis. However, all analyses must cover the thesis, evidence, and opposition.
Once an essay has been selected for analysis, students will break the essay down into its individual parts and judge their effectiveness (or lack thereof).
The easiest approach to analysis is to ask questions about each part. For example, if I were analyzing an essay’s thesis, I would find the thesis statement, and ask myself the following questions:
- What is the claim the author is trying to convince me of?
- Is the claim clear, specific, relevant?
- Could I have stated it better?
- Does the thesis encompass the contents of the essay (of course, I would have to read the entire essay to make this determination)?
- Does the thesis offer qualifiers (words of probability)?
- Am I convinced? Why or why not?
In my analysis of the thesis, I would answer these questions. Then I would move onto evidence and repeat the process.
Prior to attempting the analysis, you would want to revisit the Pages about Essay and Argument Parts in the Modules.
Dissecting the Argument’s Logic
A word of advice before I jump into this page, be careful when you search the internet for dissection images to add some pizzazz to your Canvas Module Page on Argument Analysis! I know, what was I thinking?
Life lesson aside, another approach to the analysis of an argument is the traditional route, which utilizes the Toulmin Method. Stephen Toulmin was a British philosopher who felt that an argument could be evaluated in a systematic manner by looking at six components. The basics of Toulmin include the following features:
- Claim: Thesis/Conclusion
- Grounds: Premises from which claim is deduced or the evidence that makes the claim plausible
- Warrants: Guarantee that the reasons offered do support the claim.
- Backing: Evidence
- Modal Qualifiers: Words that qualify the argument} few, rarely, many, often, sometimes, perhaps, usually, more or less, regularly, occasionally.
- Rebuttals: Opposition.
Analysis using the Toulmin Method is a little more difficult and requires a much deeper read of the text, but it is definitely more thorough.
If you watch the video by Texas A & M University Writing Center, the presenter will walk you through the basic components of the Toulmin process of Analysis.
Why cookie cutter shapes? I feel like I am always laying out a template or shape for your essays; it reminds me of cookie cutters. Thinking of it that way, you might find me a bossy control freak, which, quite honestly, is not a huge stretch from the truth, but since we don’t hang out in person, I have no way to convince you that I am actually pretty easygoing and amenable to any way you do the assignments as long as they meet the requirements. Hence, while I offer “suggested” shapes, you are, of course, free to opt for a shape of your own, but be sure that all of the required parts are present. Now that I have eased my conscience and justified all that I do in these Pages, I will share a template that I think would work really well.
Below, you will see a paragraph break down for the Rhetorical Analysis essay.
In the introduction to the essay, you need to develop the idea that not all essays are created equally and that some are strong while others are weak. The thesis for this essay will identify the author and the title of the essay being analyzed; it will also offer the opinion that the essay is effective or ineffective (remember that this decision is based on the essays merits and proper use of rhetorical features, not whether or not you agree with the topic). You can admit that an essay is well-written without agreeing with its stance.
The body paragraphs should mirror the essay being analyzed as much as possible; thus, if one were to look at the title, motivator and thesis, it should all be done in the first body paragraph since this material is found at the beginning of the essay. Be sure to offer pieces/sentences from the source essay in the essay in order to prove claims. For instance, if students want to state that the thesis is solid due to its use of qualifiers, then go ahead and put the thesis into the essay so that the reader can also see the qualifiers.
Insofar as generating material in the body paragraphs, examine the rhetorical features. For example, is the thesis qualified and clear? Does the title relate appropriately to the essay? Is there a hook in the motivator that makes the reader want to continue? What type of evidence (facts, examples, testimonials, statistics) is offered, and does it prove the claim in the thesis? Would a different type of evidence have worked better? Does the author acknowledge the opposition? Does he’she offer a refutation or concession? What type of appeal (logical, emotional, ethical) does the author use? Should he/she have used something else? Are there fallacies? If so, label them and include them in the essay.
***Remember that you must pull the pieces of the essay out to prove your claims.
In the conclusion, students need to reiterate why the chosen essay was so in/effective and why.
Toulmin Analysis Template
If you opt to “Toulminize” your essay, then you are fortunate in the fact that it sort of writes itself!
The introductory and conclusion paragraphs follow the pattern illustrated above.
In regards to the body paragraphs, you give a paragraph to each of the 6 features:
Paragraph 2: Claim
Paragraph 3: Warrant
Paragraph 4: Grounds
Paragraph 5: Backing
Paragraph 6: Qualifiers
Paragraph 7: Rebuttal
these are the articles
To begin this assignment, compose your Essay 4 by addressing the following requirements:
- Choose an essay that is either well or poorly written.
- Thesis Statement: Identify the author and essay title and claim that it is an effective or ineffective essay.
- Review Rhetorical Features or Toulmin Analysis Pages above.
- Offer material from the chosen essay in analysis to best prove claims.
- Offer clear, fully-developed body paragraphs, making sure that the analysis is compelling.
- Use the essay that you are analyzing as evidence for your claims.
- If you are doing Rhetorical Analysis, you must include analysis of thesis, evidence, and opposition.
- If you are doing Toulmin Analysis, you must analyze all 6 elements.
- Make use of .
- Ensure that all borrowed material, quotes and summaries, from the source essays or outside sources is parenthetically cited to avoid plagiarism.
- Offer bibliographic citations for any material you choose to use (it is not required that you use any) in the Works Cited at the end of the paper.
- Write 800+ words.
- This essay will be submitted to our Plagiarism Checker.
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