include specific language choices made H u m a n i t i e s
An analysis is a close reading of any text that examines how it is put together and whether or not it uses language effectively to persuade: How well do the components of the argument work together to persuade or move its audience? This assignment asks you to look closely at how an argument is put together and how that affects the reader.
Begin by finding an opinion piece from a newspaper. You can check the opinion section of The New York Times, The Washington Post, or another newspaper. Print out the article and annotate it in order to consider how this text is making the argument it’s making. Begin by underlining important words, making notes in the margins, and circling any rhetorical appeals you find.
Then write a response to the article that answers the following questions:
- How would you summarize this article?
- What argument is being made?
- What are your thoughts about the title?
- How do the visual components of the article relate to what is being stated?
- Pay close attention to the language. How does the article begin? What can you tell from the first sentence? What language choices are being made?
- Are any rhetorical appeals being used? If so, which ones?
- Are the appeals effective? Why or why not?
- What are your thoughts about the transitions between paragraphs? What can you say about how the article shifts from one point or idea to another?
- What is the overall tone of the piece? Is it effective? What helps create this tone?
- What are your thoughts about the conclusion? Is it effective?
The majority of your response should break down and analyze, not what is being said, but how the argument is being made (how the argument is put together). While you will certainly want to summarize the text, the response should present itself as an argument about the text’s effect on the reader.
You want to support your claims with examples from the text. Evidence is necessary to support a strong thesis. For instance, when you respond to question 5, include specific language choices made by the author and discuss their effectiveness. If the author uses a lot of words akin to “catastrophe” or “disaster,” what effect does this have on you as a reader?
For this exercise, please take a picture of your annotated article and paste it into a blank document. Below the pasted image write your response. The image of your annotated article and your responses to the questions must be submitted in the same document.