identification and affect
For this project you will analyze a website/ recorded speech/ short film clip of your choice, applying some of the rhetorical concepts we’ve discussed in our class (e.g. pathos/ affect, pathemata, ethos, identification, habit). The final product for this project will be a rhetorical analysis paper in which you present the results of your analysis in a well-organized way and to an audience that is knowledgeable and interested in learning more about rhetoric (such as you, your peers, and your instructor).
Review Longaker/ Walker, Chapters 7 and 8, for rhetorical terms and concepts, as well as the samples we analyzed in class (see Module in Canvas).
How to frame/ outline your analysis
The following questions will help you outline your analysis paper.
Introduce your materials. What is the overall rhetorical situation? What do you think are some of the overall rhetorical goals pursued by the materials?
Focus on pathos/affect: Looking at your materials, what elements do you think help trigger strong pathos/ affect in potential audiences? Elements contributing to affect can be manifold: vividness in style/ diction, strong imagery and specific details therein, scenarios depicted, topics used, audio features, interactive features (e.g. in websites). Who do you think is the audience and what kinds of emotional responses would you expect? Can you find evidence of actual responses to the text/ materials you chose (press, web forums, etc.)?
Focus on ethos/identification: What elements invite the audience to identify with habits, values, and behaviors advertised/ propagated by the materials? Are there elements pointing to the exclusion of certain people and behaviors? Again, many elements can be involved in the appeal, including the use of specific persona/character, narratives, the appeal to common experience/ values, representation of positive or negative behaviors.
How and where to find suitable source materials
As always, it is worth investing time into researching a suitable text. When choosing your primary material make sure you pick a source that invites using the rhetorical concepts under investigation in this project. Materials that typically feature strong rhetoric of the kind we look for are:
– Public awareness campaigns
– Texts/ websites featuring “revealing” topics (non-fiction/ journalism)
– Political campaigns
– Websites of religious, spiritual, and other groups
– Charity organizations
– Consumer product advertising
Research for this paper
Try to find “real” audience responses. Researching audience responses is always better than speculating about potential reactions or, even worse, making generalizing statements.
Your paper will be 1000 words minimum and use MLA formatting. You can find a sample of an MLA-formatted paper at: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Requirements and evaluation criteria
Your final draft will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
– Your paper provides substantial and in-depth rhetorical analysis (not just a summary) of the materials with a focus on the rhetorical construction of affect and/or identification.
– Your paper features a main point/ thesis which is substantially developed and supported with evidence in the subsequent paragraphs.
– Your paper uses evidence taken from the primary source (quotation) and, if possible, evidence of real audience responses.
– Your paper is written in an academic style (appropriate to topic and audience) and uses MLA-style formatting and documentation consistently.
– Your paper went through multiple draft versions and revisions that were all submitted; your final draft is polished and edited for “fluff”, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
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