Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment
To write a 3-5 page Rhetorical Analysis Essay in MLA style about the article you signed up for located on the class web site under Readings and Discussions.
To add a creative title. To cite quotes, summaries, and/or paraphrases. To analyze findings. To avoid making judgment statements such as: “The author did a good job.” To attach a Works Cited page.
Use the outline posted in the Rhetorical Analysis Module to organize your writing for this assignment.
Answer each bulleted question in the order of the outline.
By the end of your Rhetorical Analysis Essay, you should have a strong sense about the person who wrote your article, why they wrote it, their audience, and what techniques they used to argue their position.
Peer Review Checklist for Rhetorical Analysis
1. Header – Last name and page number (one space between name and page)
2. Heading – Name, my name, English 201-XX, date
3. Times New Roman
4. 12 point
5. Double-spaced (Is the box checked under “paragraph”?)
6. Avoid “I”
7. No contractions
8. Name of your article is in ” ” not italicized
1. Rhetorical Analysis:
2. Your title
1. Stat, quote, question, anecdote
2. Background information that relates to you topic
4. Title of article
5. Thesis (that suggests the author “argues,” “persuades,” or “claims”)
a. Answer all points in assignment
i. Begin with author’s ethos 1. Include cite from bio source
ii. Other following information again according to assignment 1. Include cite from article – (Author XXX).
iii. Every claim needs to be supported by a cite
iv. Transitions within paragraph
v. Transitions between paragraphs
i. Restate the thesis (in other words)
ii. Connect points discussed
iii. Closing remarks
6. Works Cited a. Should include
i. Bio ii. Article
Rhetorical Analysis: Why the Big Cleavage?
In recent times, Facebook has become a widespread popularity over other social networking sites such as MySpace. There seems to be loyal users on both sides, yet have you ever wondered why some people tend to use one cite over another? It turns out, this is the very topic which the professor of radio-TV-film at the University of Texas S. Craig Watkins seeks to explain in his book “The Young and the Digital: What the migration to Social Network Sites, Games, Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future” (Green and Lidinsky 505). Watkins argues that things such as race, gender, and possibly nothing more than just friends with friends who have similar interest, may be the reason for this cleavage.
In reference to some of the aspects of the author mentioned above, Watkins appears to be someone with an exceptional amount of experience in this topic. He has written several books on popular issues, including ones such as “Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement” and “Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema” (505). Because of the number of surveys and interviews he has completed in his analysis of social media, and background work on what he calls “digital trenches,” the reader feels a sense of authority coming in what Watkins has to say.
Back in the summer of 2007, a blogger danah boyd wrote an essay titled “Viewing American Class Division through Facebook and MySpace.” This article did not really have any
research backing it up, but was primarily based on the direct observations made by boyd herself. She seemed to argue some sort of online social division which could best describe by class. However, she quickly qualifies this statement by saying, “Americans aren’t so good at talking about class” (Watkins 506). This blogger claims things such as Facebook kids coming from “families who emphasis education and going to college…preps and the jocks” (506). She then continues by explaining how MySpace kids, “In contrast, come from the other side of the cultural divide…expected to get a job when they finish high school. Latino, black, and youth from working-class…” (506) are more likely to be MySpace users. This is where Watkins develops his thesis for his research and article. He seems to be particularly intrigued by the possible truth in what this blogger had to say. Watkins resounds with what the blogger has to say and builds upon it. He uses her statements as a kind of driving force behind his research and interviews in this article, building on what boyd had to say.
It appears as if Watkins is using his facts in a way so as to persuade his audience into believing what he has to say. He makes statements such as, “Race is a kind of ‘inconvenient truth’ for evangelists of the social Web” (506), to make his statements feel like they are not just his opinion, but it is mutual among others also. By using this method, Watkins makes the reader feel as if there were some form of peer pressure and popular opinion of others cornering them into believing what he has to say. He has a whole multitude of facts which seem inarguable and are quite logical, pushing his reader slowly into believing what he has to say.
The very people Watkins is interviewing and trying to understand seem to be the audience which he has in mind, College aged Social Network users. He interviews people of the college age- the majority of the social networking users- to explain his points. By using these people as a reference, the audience feels as if they can relate to what is being said. The reason he
chooses the very users of these social sites for his audience, is because they are the ones to whom it is most applicable to and the ones who will understand. By going through a rigorous sequence of logical facts, he seems to piece together his information into what becomes a statement of his observations. For example, he interviews a whole set of college aged people and comes up with key words which describe the social sites (509). By taking these facts from people who are college aged, it would only make sense that other college aged students would be able to resonate with what he has to say. Social networking is integrated very tightly with students today, therefore making his appeals very personal to his audience and appealing to their pathos.
The resounding idea of this article is the quest for discovering why there is a divide between social networking sites. Watkins bounces from several ideas, class, race, the site layout in general and finally just friends who have friends like themselves. For each of these speculations Watkins uses different techniques to relate to his reader. In the first section he is debating the possibility of class, he uses mostly what the blogger boyd had to say. By quoting and summarizing what boyd had to say Watkins fulfills a form of ethos, connecting him with his audience in a special way. Primarily when Watkins is looking at the factors of race in the divide, he uses facts or logos. He pulls statistics from interviews and studies he’s done. For example, he says, “Among white students, more than eight out of ten, or 84 percent, preferred Facebook. By contrast, “66 percent of those who identified as Latino preferred Facebook” (507). By using logos in this passage he manages to wisely navigate the subject of racial differences, yet still giving the reader a sense of truth. In his final persuasion, he uses forms of pathos to resonate with the audience. By saying things like “our most intimate bonds online tend to be formed with like-minded people”(512), he brings his readers into a closer look at their personal feeling lives and what is important to themselves by inferring his own experience in his claims. In doing so
he is able to pull the reader into a deeper understanding of how he relates the divide of social sites to the division among people in real life.
The setting for this article is in the book stated earlier, “The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future” (505). When something comes from a book it has a feeling of authority. Whether the book is true or not, readers feel that because it made it through the whole publishing process it must be something of truth and value. Books in college are often taken at face value as fact, thus making this genre of publication a perfect method for persuasion, especially to those in their collegiate years.
Watkins uses data which is very current and applicable even to today. He published the article in 2009, and even in 2013, the facts which he gives are still relevant (505). Watkins glues his article together with many different possibilities and supports each sufficiently. In so doing, Watkins is able to fulfill his intentions and persuade his readers into taking a closer look at what he has to say.
The very topic of a social divide among the on line world is as Watkins puts it, “Social and mobile media may be changing how we connect, but as we move into the digital future it does not appear to be significantly altering who we connect to” (505). By providing a set of possible resolutions to this topic, he is able to set the readers up to understand his final statement. We can see how both a combination of our values and customs both come to play in the social cleavage by the methods he came to this conclusion. He points out how human customs have led to a strict interaction with only others who are like themselves, maybe for not reason other than that is what they have always done. Yet he still bares American values when he uses the example of poll in which mass requests were sent out on friend.com using both black and white avatars,
“Among light skinned avatars, 20 percent more said yes” (514). By using the results from an example like this, Watkins is able to cut to the readers mind. They are able to relate to their personal reactions and see how their values would have affected their decision to be much like those in the poll.
As Watkins argues throughout his article, there are many factors in the social division. Class, race, and just peer interaction, can all be argued to a point of factual belief. Watkins uses many different forms of persuasion to bring his points to home with his readers. As Watkins suggest towards the end of his article, it may not be class or race at all but indeed just the mere instance of people associating with likeminded peers, or the “Big Sort” (512) as Watkins likes to put it. Yet Watkins leaves use with the final thought that maybe the reason for this divide is actually just the “biases we develop in our off-line lives” (515). Watkins is extremely affective in using this last sentence because it leaves the reader to think for their self. He isn’t out to prove anybody right or wrong, but just lay out a well-supported set of conclusions.
Works Cited Watkins, Craig S. “From The Young and the Digital.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing. Stuart
Greene and April Lidinsky, eds. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 298-309. Print. Greene, Stuart and April Lidinsky, eds. From Inquiry to Academic Writing. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2012. Print.