Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical strategies used in academics are also utilized in entertainment. For this sequence, we will explore how rhetoric operates within a web series on YouTube: Buzzfeed’s Unsolved. In addition, you will find that within new media contexts, multimodality and design also contributes to a text’s effectiveness.

Rhetorical Situation: Imagine that a friend, significant other, or family member asks what you are learning in 1013; you tell them about your new writing assignment: the rhetorical analysis. Upon further discussion, you notice when they hear the term “rhetoric,” they understand it to mean political debates or the term “rhetorical question.” Therefore, you want to show them that rhetoric can be applied to both formal and informal settings where communication among individuals occurs—that rhetoric is not only limited to formal settings. For the MWA3, write a blog posting to one of the aforementioned audiences that rhetorically analyzes one episode from one of the Unsolved series: True Crime, Supernatural, or Sports Conspiracies. You will show your audience how rhetoric can function in informal settings by analyzing how Aristotelian appeals and other rhetorical strategies are operating within a given episode of the series for one, or a combination of these purposes:

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To recommend if your audience should watch the series or not, or
To explain why the series is popular/entertaining or not.

Why a Rhetorical Analysis: Rhetorically analyzing one of these episodes allows you to learn how writers and speakers construct effective arguments that persuade others and how you might construct a valid and persuasive argument yourself. It also provides you with meta-knowledge on how rhetoric functions in every-day use—extending beyond academic texts. Thus, writing this assignment will encourage you to view entertainment from a different perspective and explore how multimodality and design also contributes to the overall effectiveness of the text. In addition, you will also practice explaining concepts to community outsiders.

Audience: Because the intended audience is either your friend, significant other, or family member and is therefore not aware of what we have learned so far in English 1013, you will need to gloss the rhetorical terms used to make sure your audience understands how the concepts are being applied. The secondary audience is your classmates and instructor, or anyone who happens to follow your post based on similar interest. Therefore, you must use a tone that is appropriate for multiple audiences.

Why Blog? The blog affords a space where you may express your thoughts to a larger audience who chooses to read your work based on similar interests.


Your blog post needs to contain/do the following:

Introduction: The introduction needs to include these items:

Identify the episode that you have chosen to write about and your purpose (to recommend the series or not/explain why the series is entertaining or not) for writing this analysis and
A thesis regarding how Aristotelian appeals and other rhetorical strategies are operating within the selected episode in ways that help demonstrate your purpose for writing (to recommend the series or not/explain why the series is entertaining or not).

Summary: Provide a concise and detailed summary of the episode.

Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies: Your analysis must do the following:

Identify examples of five rhetorical strategies (ex. Aristotelian appeals, argumentative strategies, multimodality, design) used. Make sure you define the strategy, provide context of the examples used to explain each strategy, and give credit through in-text attribution to the class readings as well as scenes from the episode.
Explain how these strategies function within the video and how they contribute to whether the show is popular/entertaining or not, whether you would recommend the show or not.

Conclusion: Include your overall assessment of the video.

Arrangement and Design
Organize your analysis in paragraphs. Use appropriate transitions when discussing the required content. You must use three pictures or Gifs in rhetorically effective ways (We will further discuss this in class). The font needs to be readable: (e.g., Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman, Cambria).

Length: Your blog should be at least 1600 words.

MLA Citations: Your blog posting needs to include MLA citations:

Cite the selected video and external information used to analyze the text in MLA in a Works Cited section at the foot of the blog posting. Where you quote or paraphrase passages, you will need to also provide in-text attribution. Consult the Purdue Online Writing Lab’s website (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
(Links to an external site.)
) for instruction on how to correctly cite sources in text and on the Works Cited page.

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