how can each text support an argument about a common topic?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 18, 2022


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MLA Format, to include header, heading, formatting, and Works Cited page
Demonstrate your understanding of the rhetorical situations of multiple authors who compose on a common subject, and compare, synthesize and analyze how rhetorical appeals work within different texts. The topics we’ve read in class range from culture, language, civil rights, among many others. Previously, we have used the text book as an anchor for the terms and rhetorical appeals. You talked about how these rhetorical appeals were functioning as your analysis. For this paper, you will be using your own sources to analyze one another. This is the synthesis and comparative analysis. You will use your own analysis and thesis to speak to how the authors have similar goals (as in MLK and Macolm X) or are talking about a similar topic (as in Amy Tan and Gloria Anzaldua) and use your paper to speak to the difference in approach. This means analyzing both author’s goals and talking about the similarities and differences. Your analysis should speak to how both authors fit into a larger context in the world. They did not write in a bubble, so social and/or historical context can be very important.
You should choose one essay/speech/document we’ve read in class to anchor this analysis. Your second choice can be anything that you think “speaks” to this anchor. You can analyze a song, a documentary, a poem. Your analysis will be speaking to how these pieces relate to one another. You should decide what your theme is, explain its context, and how the pieces speak to that theme.
Choose from three challenge levels. You should put the level you’re attempting in your title:
Level 1: Compare and synthesize one text from class and an additional source. The additional source can, of course, be anything else we’ve covered or been assigned in class but does not have to be. The points available for this are the base for the assignment. It is a 150 point essay.
Level 2: Compare and synthesize 3 texts. Two must be texts we’ve read for class and one additional source. Comes with a 5% difficulty grade-booster. This should be a 7-8 page paper to account for the additional source. The points possible for this assignment will be 175. You will receive 25 points minimum for attempting level 2, but you have to reach the minimum page length for any bonus points.
Level 3: Compare and synthesize 4 texts of your choice (look in the “genre clusters” section of Language Acts), with a single over-arching idea of your choice. This should be a 8-9 page paper to account for the additional source. The points possible for this assignment will be 200 points. You will receive 50 points as a base for attempting this level, but you must meet the minimum page requirement.
Things to consider:
Understand that with each challenge level comes more reading. Consider how much time you have for new readings and annotations. Weigh the options with your other coursework in mind. The boosters are not extra credit; they are rewards for meeting higher expectations that you set for yourself. The higher the level, the more your time management skills will be tested.
Think about your own rhetorical style: appeal to an audience of incoming freshmen who are not familiar with rhetorical analysis. Develop ethos with this audience by establishing your knowledge of your chosen pieces as well as the elements of rhetoric. Make sure you understand the complexities of comparative analysis and synthesis so you can help your audience understand these things, too.
Be aware of your audience’s needs. These students expect precise academic language, a clear thesis and argument, and logical interpretation, synthesis and analysis. They may have had an introduction to rhetorical terms in high school, but they want to learn about different perspectives of college writing from you. Use an academic tone, precise word choice, and varied sentence structure with clear, purposeful transitions between paragraphs.
Put the instructor conference and due dates into your planner or Outlook so you can make a long-range plan. Work for a few minutes (30-45) every day toward your goal. Break work into smaller, manageable chunks so you avoid procrastination.
Decide early what you want to do. You get to choose the level of challenge for this assignment, but if you put off the decision, you’ll throw off the process. Have a concrete direction for your paper no later than November 6.
Annotate the texts with one another and the assignment in mind. You’ll have a
different purpose this time, so make notes on these pieces thinking about your end goal: how can each text support an argument about a common topic?
Don’t try to cover all the appeals. Choose the clearest persuasive elements of y-our chosen texts, even if they don’t agree with one another. Consider also how kairos, fallacies, and counter-arguments may influence how the texts are interpreted by their intended audiences. Don’t merely compare/contrast.


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