rhetorical analysis of a sample essay

The last part of this module is the midterm. It is a two and a half hour timed rhetorical analysis of a sample essay you were required to read earlier in the semester (you will find out the name of the essay to write about once you launch this one question test). Please DO NOT LAUNCH IT UNTIL you have some quiet time to work on it. Use the skills you’ve learned with regard to rhetorical analysis from the handouts in the early modules, the chapters in the text, the first rhetorical analysis that you wrote for the class (or will write in the next couple of days), and our class discussions to structure your essay.

Midterm Essay Prompt

Review the essay (you should have already read it, it will be one of the example essays we’ve already discussed). Make sure you understand it before you write your response.
Remember the guidelines you’ve studied on how to write a rhetorical analysis, including the rhetorical analysis prompt, the example essays, our text, and the handouts—all of which you can use. Use them in writing your response. Feel free to review them now, but remember the clock is ticking.

I would make yourself a scratch outline before you write. Your response should be an essay which is at least 3 paragraphs long. Your evidence should consist mainly of quotations from the essay, and your analysis and evaluation of those quotations.

Your thesis should probably be that the essay is 1) effective, 2) ineffective, or 3) partially effective in convincing the reader that the author’s world view is correct. You should follow this with a plan of development, laying out your arguments.

I wouldn’t worry about a hook, or a long summary at the end of the essay. While I often encourage synthesis, please DO NOT relate any long stories about your life in your response. That would miss the point of the question and get you a poor grade.

You should take no longer than two and a half hours to write your response.

Proofreading is always a good idea.

If you fail this test, you will have an opportunity to revise.

Please write on the essay “Are Too Many People Going to College?”

Some questions to consider when writing your response (you do not have to answer these, they are suggestions for ways to approach the issue, the rhetorical analysis prompt suggests many other):

What evidence does the author use to make his case? How well does that evidence reflect reality compared to the kinds we’ve covered in our readings (facts, statistics, examples & expert opinion being the primary kinds)?

What does Charles Murray think about test scores? Does he consider the concept of personal growth?

Are there parts of his essay that are stronger or more reasonable than other parts? which, and why?

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