Drafts Due for Workshop: September 20
Submission Date: September 25
For your first assignment, you drafted a narrative recounting a time when you made a decision or choice and the consequences of that decision or choice. Your next assignment will provide further practice in critical reading while introducing the skill of analysis and some elements of argument.
In that spirit, you can complete this assignment by choosing one of the following options:
Option #1 Chapter Analysis
For the first option, you will analyze one of the chapter’s in Forked.
The first important step for a rhetorical analysis of an argument is close and critical reading. I expect you to be very familiar with some of the steps involved in reading critically and actively. To that effect, you should interact closely with the text. I expect to see annotations in the margins of the argument you choose to analyze when we discuss each argument in class.
Your thesis statement will comment on the chapter’s rhetorical principles and presentation, contain your overall analysis and support for that judgment. Your overall support will be the criteria you develop and will be further supported by specific examples from the text of the book. However, you will not develop an argument concerning the topic of the chapter. An analysis of a written work is much different from a response to a written work. An analysis explains how and why something is presented the way in which it is presented. A response simply provides your reaction to what something says.
Your introduction should contain, among other things, the author’s name and the chapter you are analyzing. The paragraph after the introduction will be a summary of the chapter you will be analyzing that is no more than 150-words in length. You must include a word count of the summary paragraph at the end of the document. Then, you will begin your rhetorical analysis of the chapter by discussing how the chapter fits within the context of the book and considering specific rhetorical principles. We will introduce those principles in class. An adequately developed final draft will probably be a little over 1,000 words in length.
Option #2: Menu Analysis
For the second option, you will analyze a printed menu from a restaurant of your choice.
Most restaurant menus are designed not only to provide information about the food offered but also deliberately intended to communicate a specific image of the restaurant and even guide diners’ choices. For this option, you will find a restaurant menu and analyze what the menu is intended to communicate about the restaurant and how the menu guides diners’ choices to specific items.
Your introduction should contain, among other things, the name and location of the restaurant whose menu you are analyzing and your thesis sentence. Your thesis sentence will comment on the restaurant’s intended image as evident from the menu, including any leading items. Your body paragraphs will consider specific elements of the menu (colors, images, text, font, size, organization, shape, etc.) and how those elements contribute to the intended image as noted in the thesis sentence.
Develop this draft as a standard academic paper that includes an introduction with a thesis sentence, focused and unified body paragraphs, and a conclusion that effectively “wraps-up” the analysis. I expect completed drafts to be about 1,000 words long.
If you choose this option, I must approve of the menu that you will be analyzing before class on September 13. I will place a sticky note on the menu to confirm my approval.
After years of reading drafts in response to this assignment, here are some areas to consider closely as you draft and revise your analysis.
Thesis Statements: Make sure that your thesis sentence includes the elements of the argument that the draft analyzes and the conclusion(s) drawn from that analysis. It’s important that the conclusion be specific and explicit. You can expect the thesis sentence to be complicated and difficult to present clearly, so give yourself time to edit it. (CP)
Here is an effective thesis sentence in support of an argument analysis: “Malcolm Gladwell uses ethical and logical appeals effectively to present himself as a credible and trustworthy source with plenty of data to support his claims.”
Points (Conclusions): Many of the drafts that lack development are short, seem redundant, etc. do not include specific conclusions in the topic sentences (“point”) of the body paragraphs and/or rely on vague conclusion that did not provide any direction for the paragraph. (QT)
Specific Example: Similar (and perhaps as a result of) to the lack of specific conclusions in the topic sentences (“points”) of each body paragraph, a lot of drafts fail to adequately develop explanations for the examples provided. (QT)
Openings: Read the first sentence of your draft. Given a choice, would you continue reading? Be honest. If you don’t want to continue reading, you cannot expect your reader to want to continue reading. Interesting your reader is your responsibility as a writer, regardless of the topic of your draft. (CP/QT)
Editing and Proofreading: The more complicated the writing task, the more difficult it is to get our words from our brains to the draft. As we struggle, we tend to muddle our ideas and end up with exceptionally wordy and illogically structured sentences. As a result, the more trouble we have getting our ideas down, the more time we must spend editing and proofreading the draft. (LS)