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ENGL 1302 Taggett: Paper 4: Rhetorical Analysis

This guide has resources and tips to help you with assignments in Prof. Taggett's ENGL 1302 course.


Paper 4: Rhetorical Analysis (required for all grade goals) is due July 3.

Directions are on the left side of this page. Rhetorical Analysis resources from D2L are linked on the right side of the page.

You can choose your citation style for this assignment: just be consistent. For help with APA, check the Paper 2 tab. For help with CMS, check the Paper 3 tab.

Assignment Directions

ENGL 1302

Assignment 4: Rhetorical Analysis of a Visual

See Syllabus for due dates

3-5 pages. Choose your citation format: be consistent!

Meets all objectives


We end our semester with a toolbelt full of argumentation approaches and strategies, so we are going to apply a critical eye to someone else’s argument. This is an extension of the QAPs that you have been doing, so I hope you are feeling well prepared to tackle this last assignment.


You will need to choose one of the three options in D2L and analyze the visual carefully, working to determine audience, purpose, and appeals used by the author to be effective.


Some things to do for a successful rhetorical analysis.

• Examine the situation often referred to as the rhetorical context. Establish the when and where, as that may play into audience.


• Identify the artist. Sometimes you will need to consult other sources to find information about the author. See what you can find out about the author’s background or other work, as that may play into discussion of audience or purpose.


• Look at the any text. What does it tell you about the argument the author will be developing in the cartoon?


• Summarize the main idea of the visual. What is the main point the author is seeking to make? The author may or may not state this directly, but you should always state your idea of his or her main claim in your analysis as a complete sentence.


• Determine what underlying assumptions the artist might have, based on what is in the visual and what the audience seems to need to know. What ideas, beliefs, philosophies, does the author seem to accept as mutually understood between themselvesa and the audience? Are these assumptions valid?


• Note analogies and comparisons. What connections does the author make between ideas and concrete examples? Are these appropriate? Are the things being compared truly similar?


NOTE: A critical analysis paper contains some summary of the source being analyzed, but the summary should be secondary to the analysis you make of the argument being developed in the article. Refer to “Web and Class Resources”->Assignment 4 and beyond in our D2L course.


Remember to structure your critical analysis paper in good writing format,

  • with an introduction clearly identifying the topic, the title of the visual, the artist's point, and, briefly, your assessment of the argument being made, ending with a thesis which identifies the artist’s purpose, audience and appeals;
  • body paragraphs in which you present your detailed analysis of the argument;
  • and a conclusion summarizing your evaluation of the author’s argument.


Rhetorical Thesis Statement Format:  Your thesis statement will contain the (1) author’s name, (2) title of the article (in quotes!), (3) audience, (4) purpose and (5) appeals. That’s a lot to cram into a thesis statement, but you can do it!


This paper will be formatted in the citation format of your choice.  But make sure you are consistent and accurate!


Grading Criteria:

  • Author demonstrates a clear understanding of the visual
  • Analysis is generally sound and logical, supported by evidence from the visual
  • Essay is focused and clearly structured under a clear thesis (which meets the thesis requirements)
  • The essay demonstrates reasonable writing fluency, exhibiting few grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors.  
  • Citation and paper format is correct

Rhetorical Analysis Resources

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