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A cognitive map is a mental representation that serves to acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about our environment. We create these maps in our head without actively thinking about it, but consciously creating a map of a place we feel intimately connected with can reveal the ways in which we attempt to alter our environment to reflect our identity, and the ways in which our environment alters us.
This 4-5 pg. rhetorical analysis and argumentative paper will synthesize skills of critical reading, rhetorical analysis, application of authorial argument. After choosing a piece of writing from the Field Guide (one we have NOT discussed in class yet—this can be upcoming reading, or not included on the syllabus), you’ll assess the language and rhetorical strategies used to construct the argument and enhance the argument, considering the purpose, audience, context, tone. The goal isn’t to argue whether the piece is successful, but how the piece is argued and intended.
Your ultimate goal is to convince someone outside our class that this piece of writing is effective and persuasive. In order for your paper to be successful…
• Cater to an outsider audience who has not read the piece (use your skills from the Homestead essay)
• Logically structure your claims into distinct, focused paragraphs
• Provide direct evidence from the text to back up your claims, including quotes • Maintain your credibility and authority by adopting a strong, third person voice
• Answer the following questions:

  • Using the terms of argument below, what is this author arguing? Break down the main claim, types of support, and warrants.
  • Consider: What does the author assume about his audience? How does he cater to their understanding?
  • Using the rhetorical devices below, how is this author arguing? Consider structuring your paragraphs the appeals in the following table. What strategies, for example, might the author use to evoke sympathy?
    Tips for structuring
    • The Intro: Familiarizes the reader with piece, explains the purpose
    • First body paragraph: Argument, main claims, general types of support used
    • Rest of the body paragraphs: address rhetorical choices/devices. Ideas for structuring the body:
  • One rhetorical strategy per paragraph, giving a few examples of where this shows up through the piece
  • Deep dive of a paragraph/quote, analyzing how this works/what makes it persuasive or powerful
    • – One main argument per paragraph, explaining rhetorical choices used to make claim
  • Focus on one broad rhetorical category, like “juxtaposition,” “diction,” or “figurative language,” and each paragraph covers a place where this is used
    Optional outline/draft due (Canvas) Thursday, 7/11 Final draft due (hard copy) Tuesday, 7/17
    Continue on for more resources (Rhetorical Toolbox)!
    rhetorical Toolbox
    The Classic Appeals:
    Logos Ethos Pathos
    Arguments Testimonials Words/phrases/analogies with specific connotations
    Facts Use of research Anecdotes/Stories
    Figures, Numbers, Statistics Name dropping Focus on individual/human experience
    Benefits/Reasons Personal experience Evoking any kind of emotion— anger, pity, compassion, humor, frustration
    Logical Reasoning Authoritative, argumentative language Universal Human Experience (family, death, uncertainty, loneliness, etc)
    Widely-accepted truths Titles, track record Drawing attention to author’s experience
    Systems/How To’s (explaining step by step) Coherence
    Before and After’s
    Analogies (ways to help us understand
    Remember: Do not say the author is “using ethos.” Instead, say she “establishes credibility through her use of testimonials,” then explain how, giving examples.
    Terms of argument
    • Claim—the main argument; what the arguer is trying to prove – Claim of fact: a claim that asserts something exists, has existed or will exist based on data that the audience will accept as true
  • Claim of value: a claim that some things are more or less desirable than others
  • Claim of policy: a claim asserting that specific courses of action should be instituted as solutions to problems.
    • Support—any material that serves to prove an issue or claim; evidence, examples, quotes, facts, ang logical reasoning
    • Warrant—reasoning for the claim, explanation of support
  • Verbal – implies the opposite of what is literally stated (ex. sarcasm)
  • Situational – presents an incongruity between appearance and reality, expectation and fulfillment, or between the actual situation and what would seem appropriate
  • Dramatic – reveals a discrepancy between what a character says or thinks and what the reader knows to be true
    What to look for:
  • Interesting/vivid diction
  • Imagery/detail/description (specifically patterns of imagery)
  • Particularly powerful passages
  • Words/phrases with positive/negative connotations
  • Patterns of language, repetition of ideas/words
  • Interesting syntax (like intentionally breaking rules of standard English for effect) – Overall effect, tone, emotional “coloring” of a passage—joyful, angry, ironic etc?
  • Writer/speaker’s attitude toward the subject, audience, themselves
  • Clear bias (everything is bias, but figuring out how!)
    Frequently Used Rhetorical Devices
  1. Concrete Language: Used for helping audience “envision” your point, and not add their own interpretation. Typically sensory, descriptive words—verbs, nouns, adjectives. A vivid vocabulary is key!
  2. Abstract Language: Used for creating emotional, human connection (ex: appealing to family; values)
  3. Enumeracio: Making a point with several concrete examples; allows audience to “see” the argument, and effects of the argument
  4. Denotation: Using the literal dictionary definition of a word, usually near the beginning of an argument, especially if the word is abstract and can be misconstrued
  5. Connotation: Intentionally choosing words with associated positive/negative meaning or emotions in order to evoke said emotions for audience
  6. Labeling: controlling the emotional response to an idea or argument by paying attention to the connotation of words used to describe and package argument; reframing loaded language
  7. Slogans: Condensing a larger worldview or concept into one phrase
  8. Antanagoge: Places a criticism and compliment together to lessen the impact
  9. Formality vs. Informality: switching from academic/laymen’s terms or colloquialisms as a way to catering to audience and building ethos
  10. Enactment: When the rhetor is a reflection of the claim
  11. Identification: Using pleasant language and imagery to create a positive connection between rhetor and audience
  12. Anecdotes: Tells a story to involve audience and possible help identification
  13. Figurative Language: Uses creative language to illustrate an unfamiliar concept
  14. Analogy: Making comparisons between two disconnected words using like or as (simile), not using like or as (metaphor)
  15. Allusion: Like larger metaphors, referencing (in an expanded way), items from shared knowledge like references to history, the Bible, Greek and Roman mythology, Shakespeare, etc.
  16. Personification: the attribution of human qualities to animals, objects, or abstract concepts
  17. Imagery: Uses descriptive words to creates a sensation of experiencing events firsthand, evoking pathos and identification
  18. Apostrophe: directly addressing an absent or imaginary person or an abstract concept as if it were present and could reply
  19. Juxtaposition: placing two ideas, words, images, etc. side by side, to compare and/or contrast
  20. Paradox: a statement or situation containing apparently contradictory elements
  21. Oxymoron: a condensed paradox at the level of a phrase (ex. peaceful warriors)
  22. Hyperbole: conscious exaggeration used to heighten effect, often humorous Irony
    Sample Paragraph Structure
    Topic Sentence
    Quote/Evidence #1 Introduction/Context (if necessary)
    Quote, Citation
    Interpretation—what is this saying?
    Analysis—why did you choose this quote? How is this persuasive?
    Possible Quote/Evidence #2 Introduction/Context (if necessary); should transition naturally and connect with Quote #1
    Quote, Citation
    How do I start??
    STEP 1 Reread the essay you choose closely. Find the main arguments, and take notes.
    STEP 2 Skim through the essay again, looking for areas…
  • that stand out
  • you find to be particularly strong
  • evoke a particular feeling
  • use interesting language/tone
    You don’t have to look for all of these! See what jumps out at you. Look at your findings. Assess what you have—are there any similar arguments? Patterns or trends? Edit your list, grouping ideas together based on chronology, topic, rhetorical device, etc.
    STEP 3 After arranging, start to respond to your findings. Consider answering layers 1 + 3 of the analysis layers:
  1. What does this section/quote mean? What is it’s significance?
  2. How is this persuasive? What kind of strategy is used? Even if it seems obvious, guide us through your thought process.
    STEP 4 Edit your thoughts to turn this into third person, academic language:
    • Remove I, me, we, us, you
    • Remove internal voice, like feel, believe, think, know
    • Replace the above words with some visual—how can you tell what someone is feeling? What are the actions stemming from belief/thinking/knowing?
    • If using any personal examples/stories, try to make these abstract or hypothetical
    • Connect the logical dots—isolate your assumptions, and try to over-explain yourself. Articulate the obvious!
    • Eliminate cluttery words. Opt for larger words/compound sentences to make your tone sound less conversational.
    • Take out any conditional language—might, could, maybe, etc
    STEP 5 Add your OREO:
  • Introduce the quote
  • Provide any context (if necessary)
  • Interpret into your own words — what does this mean? What is the author getting at with this idea? – Analyze — why did you choose this quote? What do you have to say about this idea?
    Remember: If you have more than one quote in your paragraph, make sure you transition seamlessly from one to the other!
    STEP 6 Create a topic sentence for each paragraph, summarizing the idea you proved with your evidence. If you have a hard time summarizing all the info in one paragraph, you may need to restructure!
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