Jul 16, 2017 Research papers

How does a rhetor use imagery to build a convincing case about an abstract topic?

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Critical Rhetorical Analysis: Steve Jobs


Essay Instruction: Please see below for the instruction.

Essay #1—Critical Rhetorical Analysis (CRA) of a Speech

Task: Choose one of the speeches posted (i.e., a text that will reward your in-depth examination) and write an in-depth Critical Rhetorical Analysis of that text. Minimum Length: 1200 words (4-5 pages) using MLA formatting.


• To examine a speech deeply and thoroughly

• To use and explore the tools of in-depth rhetorical analysis

• To use explicitly rhetorical strategies and techniques to persuade a mixed audience (us) that your insights into the text and into rhetoric are valid

• To tell us things about the speech and about rhetoric that are not obvious to the casual reader of the speech

• As always, to create new knowledge about texts and genres

 Directions: How to Write a Critical Rhetorical Analysis (CRA)

An Essay of Critical Rhetorical Analysis systematically examines 1 unit of analysis and I fruitful passage in order to accomplish the following tasks:

1. To see how rhetoric operates in a text

2. To deeply explore how a particular unit of analysis works to achieve the text’s purpose(s)

3. To do a close reading of one key passage (1-2 paragraphs)

4. To answer a significant Research Question about the nature and function of rhetoric

Research questions. The research question is what you want to find out about rhetoric by studying a particular text. The Research Question guides your analysis of the text. Your essay should contribute to our understanding of how rhetorical processes work as well as to our understanding of the text itself. For this essay, you are asked to write an essay that answers (responds to) one of the following questions:

  1. “How does a rhetor use imagery to build a convincing case about an abstract topic?”
  2.  “What devices does a liberal/conservative rhetor use to convince conservatives/liberals that a particular policy is necessary?”
  3. “What rhetorical strategies does a philosopher or business person use to convince readers/listeners that a particular idea is worthy of consideration?
  4. “What techniques can a rhetor use to build ethos when writing on a controversial topic?”
  5. “What specific devices can a rhetor use to create appeals to pathos in his/her audience?”
  6. “What types of metaphors does a rhetor use to convince the audience of his/her emotionally charged position?”
  7. “What rhetorical strategies does a minority rhetor use to achieve legitimacy for his/her cause?”

In thinking about your approach to answering one of the questions above, you should consider applying one of the following units of Analysis (it’s your responsibility to select the unit of analysis that reveals the most about your particular speech):

• Logos (appeals to the audience’s reason and logic)

• Pathos (appeals to audience’s emotions)

• Ethos (techniques that make readers believe what is said because they trust the personality of the rhetor reveal in the text)

• Metaphor and other forms of comparison (analogy, similes)

• Tone (e.g., Irony, Sarcasm, Academic, Sentimental)

• Types of evidence used (& their effect)


Structure of Your Essay

Your essay should have the following sections.

  1. Introduction –an Intro does the following (not necessarily in this order):
  • Names the author and the text.
  • Establishes kairos—why should we particular readers care about this particular text at this particular time? Often at least part of the way to do this is to state your Research Question explicitly.
  • Explain the rhetorical situation (the original audience, context, occasion, where the speech was first delivered, etc.).
  • State your rhetorical question.
  1. Summary of the text (this should be brief). This summary must state explicitly the rhetor’s purpose, thesis and major points (Explicitly use the terms text’s purpose, thesis, major points.) The point of a Summary is to give us a sense of the rhetor’s points, not to give us a complete list of every minor point and example. Be very specific—there’s a significant difference between saying “he comments on the world situation” and saying “he denounces enemies of freedom and praises new democracies” (the latter is what you need to do).
  2. Analysis —This important section extracts a key passage from the text and investigates its significance and impact.
  • Close Reading -- Select one key passage in the speech (1-2 paragraphs long), quote it in full, and then go through it with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, extracting everything possible from it—examine pathos, logos, ethos, stylistic techniques, appeals to audience needs and values, etc. Organize this section with each of your paragraphs focused on one thing (e.g., ethos, metaphors)—do not organize this section based on the order in which the speech’s sentences appear.
  1. Insight into Rhetoric-- Explain what this particular text reveals to you about rhetoric. Here you explicitly answer your Research Question. How did your analysis of the unit support or prove your answer to your Research Question? What is the text’s diachronic and synchronic significance, if any?

A Couple of Analytical Techniques

1.  Think about the specific rhetorical situation your rhetor faced—what was he or she expected to say in such a situation and where (if anywhere) does he or she not fulfill those expectations? Why didn’t he/she?

2. If you find metaphors or similes, there are two key analytical terms that you need to use explicitly-- tenor and vehicle. Every image has the part that the rhetor assumes is known to us (the vehicle) and a part that the rhetor assumes we don’t know at all or well or don’t know in the way he/she wants us to know it (the tenor)

3. To analyze an image is to focus your attention on all the elements of the vehicle, to explain which ones apply and which don’t and to explain how the rhetor keeps the unintended ones from popping into our minds.

Documentation Format:

• Quotations should be introduced and then commented upon. For each quotation or reference to a text, use MLA in-text citations:

According to Doe, “blah blah” (34).

Supporting this idea is the belief that “blah blah” (Doe 34).

• Essay must include a works cited page.


Name: Task: Tutor: Date: Critical Rhetorical Analysis In rhetorical analysis the speaker, purpose (subject) and the audience are important elements that show relationship that links the three components. Steve Jobs the former CEO of Apple Inc, gave a speech to the graduating class of 2005 Stanford University that left a lasting impression on the students. This speech is unique given that it highlights on Jobs past and personal experience and this provides a platform to inspire the students that they can achieve anything that they desire. Focusing on personal moments as well as his moments of loss and triumph in the face of challenges. Despite not having completed college, Steve urges the students to use they opportunity they have to maximize their potential. Steve Jobs was renowned for his innovativeness and Apple’s technology, and the lessons stated in the speech cannot be ignored. Jobs is keen to emphasize the need for people to do what they love without necessarily looking at the money aspect, showing that his innovativeness extended form his love to improve technology and people’s life. This paper highlights on Steve Jobs use of imagery, rhetori


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