Rhetorical Analysis Paper Instructions
For your first essay this semester, you’re going to write a short rhetorical analysis of one of the
arguments linked below. You’ll need to evaluate how, why, and if the argument is successful.
To provide a context for the argument, you’ll need to do a little research (one source minimum)
and integrate that material into your essay as well.
Minimum Basic Requirements
• 3-5 pages (not including works cited page).
• Works cited page
• In-text documentation
• MLA format
Every successful paper will:
• Contain a thesis that makes an assertion.
• Adequately describe the video in about 150 words.
• Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of the argument being analyzed.
• Integrate research material into the body of the essay.
• Analyze the argument using the criteria discussed in chapters 1-6 in Everything’s an
Argument. (Ethos, logos, pathos, style, etc.)
• Support the thesis with specific examples from the argument.
• Be written only third person.
• Demonstrate an understanding of MLA documentation and format.
• Be written in a style appropriate for a college-level paper.
• Describing or summarizing your argument in too much detail. Don’t go over 150 words.
Summary is not the point. Analysis is.
• Evaluating the argument from your perspective only. Remember, you are analyzing if
the argument is successful in accomplishing what it set out to accomplish. If for
example, the goal of the argument is to sell a car to a 50-year-old woman and you are a
25-year-old man, the argument might not inspire you to buy a car, but it might still work
for the target audience.
• Misunderstanding the purpose of the argument
Rita Pierson, “Every Kid Deserves a Champion.” In this Ted Talk, veteran teacher Rita Pierson
makes a passionate argument for teachers to care about and advocate for every single one of
their students. In researching the context for this argument, you might want to find information
on U.S. graduation rates, information about failing schools, and why some kids struggle to
succeed in school. As you write your analysis you might want to take into consideration
Pierson’s presentation style—does her smile and warmth make her argument more credible?