Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Textual Analysis Assignment

English 101: Rhetoric

Paper #3: Textual Analysis

Purpose: This assignment is designed for you to complete an extensive textual analysis. Critical readers do not just read texts for information, but they are also able to analyze how and why texts communicate that information. Therefore, as you complete this assignment, you will show your understanding of the role that the rhetorical situation plays in the critical reading of texts. As stated in the Norton, "Your goal in analyzing a text is to lead readers through careful examination [considering the rhetorical situation] of the text to some kind of interpretation or reasoned judgment" (50). The gentlemen in Figure 1 demonstrate their argument as a cohesive rock quartet.

Fig. 1. Overt Defiance Promotional Photograph. Prendergast, Jack; Overt Defiance; 2006; JPEG.

Compose a textual analysis blog post of a speech where you communicate your understanding, or reading, of what the text says, how it says it, and what it means.

As you write your analysis you should consider what the text says (summary), how the text works (analysis of how the parts work together to make up the whole), and what argument you want to make about how the text should be read (evaluation). In other words, you are arguing for the legitimacy of your reading of the text. You will need to do some outside research to gain an understanding of the context of your chosen speech.

When coming up with a thesis, you may want to consider a specific aspect of the rhetorical situation and how the text uses it to convey meaning and why that is important. You may examine whether or not the author is successful in communicating his/her purpose/argument. Or, you may want to show that the text has a specific meaning.

Sources: Go to and select "Top 100 Speeches" from the menu on the left side of the page. Then you will select "Top Speeches by Rank" from the right side of the page. Choose one speech to analyze. You will need an additional source (or sources) to gain background information on this person's speech as part of the summary. Your sources must be cited in MLA format at the bottom of your blog post.

Audience: Your audience for this assignment is the educated public interested in the specific speech you choose to analyze. Keep in mind that blogs usually have a narrow readership. Therefore, in staying true to publishing an authentic posting of a textual analysis of a historically significant speech, you will need to make sure that your presentation meets the demands of the audience. With that, your audience expects a college-level vocabulary and writing in the present-tense.

Length: Minimum 500 words/Maximum 750 words.

Due Date: Monday, October 4th, 10:00 p.m. via e-mail. Late by 5 minutes = a day, which is one letter grade lower. Essays submitted by 10:05 p.m. on Tuesday will be 2 grades lower and so on. No essay is accepted after 9:59 p.m. on Monday, October 11th.

Format/Medium/Layout: You will be publishing your analysis to a blog: You have been "invited" through G-mail as authors. You will log-in and then post. I would recommend typing in Word first to get your thoughts together. Because of the expectations of blogs as a genre, you will need to utilize hypertext and images, as appropriate. Minimum requirements include hyperlinks to the speech, as well as one additional link that will help in conveying your argument. You will include at least one imagereferenced in your postand you will cite the image following MLA guidelines in your book.

Stance: This assignment is thesis driven. The best blog posts will have a clear argument/reading of the text supported with evidence from the text.

For Help: Norton pages 49-57 (Analyzing a Text), 469 (Documenting Images), 528-531 (Labeling Visuals)

Work Cited

Bullock, Richard and Maureen Daly Goggin, eds. Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. New York: Norton, 2010. Print.