To write the rhetorical critical essay,
an original speech or other rhetorical document to analyze (do not use a document
from the packet that we will discuss in class)
the document carefully, making note of elements of argumentation, arrangement
and language as you go
a preliminary thesis based on the arguments and rhetorical strategies you
find in your speech or document
your topic, including such areas as the speech situation, purposes of the
speaker, any established theory or concept you will use as an analytical
tool, as necessary to explain your thesis
your preliminary thesis if necessary and outline your paper
you write, document everything but maintain your own authorial voice throughout.
successful papers will take the form of 1) an introduction including a thesis
statement and synopsis, 2) a brief account of the speech situation or context,
4) an extended analysis of the arguments in the speech relevant to the thesis,
and 5) a conclusion that briefly summarizes what you have already said. Your
citations and bibliography should follow a standard form for research papers
such as the MLA Guide.v
Errors in Rhetorical Critical Essays
of style, substance and arrangement
1. Lacks thesis
statement or clear argument.
2. Lacks single clear organizational principle.
3. Speech chosen is trivial or unrelated to designated half of course.
4. Lacks substantive analysis of the speech.
5. Includes historical research but lacks rhetorical analysis of the language
of the speech; or the reverse.
6. Relies too much on secondary sources, especially if it relies on only one
book or article.
7. Does not make enough use of secondary sources.
8. Does not employ enough direct quotes of speech.
9. Employs too many direct quotes of speech or other sources.
10. Contains errors of fact or unsustained assertions.
11. Style is overly familiar, colloquial, journalistic, exaggerated or opiniated.
12. Contains frequent errors of spelling and grammar.
1. Lacks title
2. Lacks page numbers
3. Lacks reference list.
4. Reference list does not include full citation of speech or document being
5. Does not cite sources at the end of the sentence or paragraph where they are
6. Does not sufficiently separate quotes from surrounding text by quotation marks
7. Does not cite page number of work cited.
8. Cites editor of volume instead of author of speech or article.
9. Does not follow consistent bibliographic form.
10. References lack crucial information (check list: author, title, [title of
book or journal, editor], place of publication, year of publication, [pages used].)
11. Does not indent longer quotes (e.g. over two sentences or four lines; known
as "block quotes").