Writing a Rhetorical Critique
Take a moment and watch the video. It has lots of good tips and strategies for writing a rhetorical analysis.
When you start your essay, you need to introduce the writer, subject, audience purpose, and occasion just like you would any time you introduce one person to another.
For example, if you were at a BBQ you might say something like, "This is Professor David Whalen, Provost of Hillsdale College, a Liberal Arts school, and we were just talking about an online essay he wrote in response to G.W. Thielman. Thielman published an article stating that colleges and universities should favor STEM education over the Liberal Arts. If you are someone who believes in the Liberal Arts, or in STEM, or anyone who ever has an argument, you would probably be interested in what he has to say." That statement introduces the writer, subject, audience, purpose and occasion.
For the subject, you would then move on to a summary of the article.
Then you move into the meat of your paper - the analysis.
Here's a short example from Whalen's article:
"The economic, political and social consequences of this or that kind of education, the cost of investment in disciplines given to self-indulgent theorizing, the needs impressed upon us by technological developments, military conditions and social necessities--all these matters matter, and all their arguments count."When looking at this paragraph, we can see ethos, pathos, and logos at work.
Ethos - credibility. How is the author exhibiting his credibility? We know he is not just a professor, but the provost of a Liberal Arts college, so he knows what he's talking about like a doctor or a judge. He also acknowledges one of the flaws with the current liberal arts, when he refers to them as "self-indulgent theorizing"--an ethical arguer fairly presents the limitations of his claim. He shows some expertise in his use of the English language through alliteration "matters matter" to add emphasis to the idea that all arguments count.
Logos - logic. This one is pretty simple. He begins by saying all types of education are valid including STEM and the Liberal Arts because all their consequences are important ("all theses matters matter") and everyone needs to be able to form proper arguments ("all arguments count"). First you need to be educated in argument, then you can engage in a proper line of reasoning to come to a valid conclusion.
Pathos - emotion. Lots to work with here. Let's examine some vocabulary: "consequences," "cost of investment," "needs," "technological developments," "military conditions," "impressed upon us," all strike a chord of fear or imminent disaster. We have to deal with this problem right now or we may have bigger problems. On the other hand, you have "this or that kind of education," and "self-indulgent theorizing" which are both flippant. We can have either kind of education - implying that they are equal - one is not better than the other. He also says the Liberal Arts has degraded to a bit of "self-indulgence," but it still serves a purpose.
Look carefully at these three paragraphs. There is a description of what the quote says followed by analysis of what the quote does through ethos, pathos, and logos. You must do this in your own analysis. First you tell your reader what the author is saying and then you tell your reader what the author has done with ethos, pathos, or logos.
Do you think you will pay more attention to how someone is saying or writing something after writing this paper? Do you think you will be better able to form your own arguments after doing a rhetorical analysis? Why or why not?