Unit 2

Phase 2 Assignment Prompt: The Rhetorical Analysis and “Peer Profile” Assignment

During this second phase of this course, we will practice analyzing different rhetorical strategies (aka writerly “moves” or “choices”) across different texts and arguments. We will also develop our critical reading and analytical practices by examining, summarizing, and writing about the rhetorical strategies in one of your peer’s narratives.

There are two parts to this assignment. For each part, you decide the order, tone, style, and language you’ll craft in order to best reach your audience. You’re welcome to draw on your “native,” “home,” or “other” languages, literacies, and ways of being as you so choose.

Part 1: Observing Rhetorical Strategies in a Peer’s Language and Literacy Narrative

You will study and write about one specific rhetorical strategy (or set of related strategies) that you observed in one of your peer’s Language and Literacy Narratives. During class, we will figure out together who will analyze whose narrative.

Your purpose is not to critique or evaluate your peer’s writing or strategies (so no judging of “good” or “bad”). Instead, your task is to analyze your peer’s writing, inferring your peer’s intentions and discussing how readers are likely to experience the text, and why.

So, your first task is to introduce and briefly summarize the text in which you have observed an interesting rhetorical strategy (~100 words). See the Rhetorical Precis handout for help.

Then, you second task will analyze the rhetorical strategy (or two) you found of interest. To do so, you will name and describe the strategy (~100 words), and then explain what you found interesting about it (~100 words). As you explain the significance of the rhetorical strategies that you have observed, follow the “10 on 1” rule of thumb:

  • It is better to make ten different observations or points about a single representative issue or example (10 on 1) than to make the same repeated point about ten related issues or examples (1 on 10).

As you explain what you found interesting, discuss what you suspect the author was trying to accomplish with this strategy. What was their purpose? Who is their intended audience and how did they attempt to appeal to them? How was their selection of genre, mode, language, style, and/or other strategies a good fit given their rhetorical situation? And consider what evidence you can use (e.g., examples from the text) to show your readers your analysis is valid?

This should be written in paragraph form, but it does not need to be essayistic. You do not need to tie anything together or formulate a thesis.

Part 2: Writing a “Peer Profile”

You will now transform and extend what you wrote for Part 1 into a 2-3 page (double-spaced) magazine-style “profile” wherein you tell a story about your peeras a writer. You will thus introduce who they are as a writer (see “Interview” below) and then analyze different rhetorical strategies (aka “writerly choices”) present in their language and literacy narrative (drawing on and extending what you already wrote for Part 1).

Interview. You will have the chance to interview your peer to learn more about their language and literacy background and to inquire about their rhetorical strategies in their Language and Literacy Narrative. Thus, you can share with your peer what you wrote in Part 1 and ask whether it accurately describes their writerly choices (or not).

Audience. You will decide who is the audience for this profile. Ask yourself: Who needs to hear your message most? By choosing your audience, you will also decide where this profile should be “published.” Would an existing platform or publication reach your audience, or will you need to create a new one?

Genre. You can learn about writing “profiles” by viewing this instructional video from The New York Times. We will also read and discuss sample profiles together in class, so you will come to learn the typified features of this genre. But you are invited, as always, to push the boundaries of what this genre “can” or “should” look like.

Cover Letter

Your Rhetorical Analysis Assignment should be preceded by a Cover Letter when you submit the final version. Refer to the Cover Letter assignment sheet.

Due Dates

  • Stage 1: Part 1 (10 on 1): Due H, Oct 5 by 2:00pm to Bb (bring digital copy to class)
  • Stage 2: Peer Interviews: Due T, Oct 17 by 2:00pm to Bb (bring digital copy to class)
  • Stage 3: Part 2 (Peer Profile, Peer Edit): Due W, Oct 19 by 11:59pm to Bb + Google Docs
  • Stage 4: Graded Revision: Due H, Oct 26 by 11:00am to Bb
  • Stage 5: Portfolio Version: Due H, Nov 16 by 11:59pm to your digital portfolio
Assignment Goals and Evaluation Criteria
1. Analyze the relationship between a peer author’s rhetorical strategies and the rhetorical situation of their Language and Literacy Narrative. How effective are the observations of rhetorical strategies in the peer’s narrative? How effectively are these observations connected back to elements of the rhetorical situation (i.e., information about the author, text, context/exigence, purpose, and audience)?
2. Compose a “Profile.” How effective is the peer profile in meeting (or purposely challenging) the typified conventions of a magazine profile?

Organization: Is the profile written in a way that is clear and relevant for your intended audience? Did you connect the peer profile to a larger issue related to the politics of language? Did you come up with a creative, fitting title?

Interview integration: Did you integrate paraphrases and quotes from your interview in a way effective for your purpose and audience? Were interview quotes introduced successfully (not left hanging)?

Audience: Did you consider your tone, title, voice/perspective, and choice of publication? Does the profile’s message connect effectively with the intended audience?

3. General Requirements. Were all requirements for length and due date met?
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