Analysis This the article

It is called “Is it Now a Crime To Be Poor” by Barbara Ehrenreich

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Your assignment for Essay #2 requires you to do a rhetorical analysis of an essay you choose. This means analyzing the purpose and effectiveness of your chosen essay. The assignment says you need to answer the following:

What is the argument of the essay?
How does the author make that argument? (What points and subpoints are used? Does the author appeal to any emotions from the reader? Does the author present him or herself in any particular way?)
How effectively does the author reach the audience? (were certain parts of the essay stronger than others? Where does the essay succeed and where does it fail? Who is a part of the audience and how does the author reach out to them?)

To answer those broad questions, consider the following narrower questions:

Author: (Who is the author? Does the author give you any information about him or herself?)
Purpose: (What is the author trying to accomplish? – Why did the author feel the need to write the text?)
Audience/Relationship to the Reader: (To whom is the text addressed?)
Context: (What are influencing factors surrounding the event of the text? Where/When was the text written?)
Voice: (What is the overall tone of the text? What is its attitude?)
Genre: (What type of writing is the text?)
Strategies: (How did the author write the text? What arguments and subarguments does the author make? Does the author appeal to the reader’s emotions?)
Effectiveness? (Is the argument presented effectively? Does the text ‘move’ you? Does the text convincingly get you to think critically/differently about the topic/subject matter?)

You do not have to write about all this in your essay! These are simply questions to help you get started and to give you ideas. Use the bulleted questions in the assignment itself to help you outline your essay.

To further help you out, here’s an example of a rhetorical analysis. Take a look at how this essay focuses on the piece of writing it’s analyzing, NOT on the topic that piece of writing is about. Here is another example (although the tone is informal, which I’d like you to avoid).

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