See the attached prompt to see the full requirements. Looking for 4-5 pages minimum & double spaced.ENG 205
Essay # 1 Prompt: Analysis of a Text
Min. 4 pgs, typed, double-spaced, MLA format
The “mentor” text:
“Kenyon Commencement Speech,” David Foster Wallace (2005)
We’ve read and watched David Foster Wallace’s speech, where he makes a claim about
the true value of a liberal arts education: that it gives graduates the ability to
“decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.” You don’t have to write on this speech,
although you can. You’ll be choosing ANY speech or TED talk you like.
The Prompt:
For this paper, you are going to analyze and evaluate how the speaker in your chosen
speech / TED talk uses persuasive strategies with his/her language and examples in order to
convince her audience
Ø You will discuss the author’s main argument and central claims and strategies, as
well as how the author organizes the piece and how the structure influences what
he/she has to say.
Ø You can also discuss the assumption(s) this author is seeking to complicate.
Discuss how the author considers the intended audience in the choices they make
in developing his argument.
Ø You will also provide a brief assessment of the overall effectiveness of the argument,
based on your analysis of the text (not your personal opinion of the issue). You can
give your personal opinion of the topic in the conclusion only.
Ø Your evaluation / assessment can be in throughout your body paragraphs, in a
separate paragraph before the conclusion, or in the conclusion
Ø In your conclusion, discuss how what he/she has to say is significant for readers.
*Remember, this is not an “agree” or “disagree” paper. You are analyzing and evaluating
the ways in which an author of your choice has constructed and supported his or her
Some guidelines for how to organize this paper:
Brief Introduction:

Hook Your reasoning for choosing this text
The title of the speech / TED talk and the speaker’s name and background
A little background / context for the text / subject you’ve chosen
The main claim and audience of the text
Your argument: How the author / creator / singer attempts to be persuasive
and whether or not they are effective
Your body paragraphs
Discuss, analyze, and evaluate how and why the creator of the piece uses specific
persuasive strategies in order to get the audience on board with his/her overall
• Be sure to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the appeals on the intended
audience. Which aspects of your chosen text reveal information about
the intended audience?
• Discuss the WHAT, HOW AND THE WHY
• How does the author do this? Why does the author do this? Is it
effective? Why or why not? Any moments/aspects in the text where it
is lacking? Are there any weak parts? Is there anything that could
have been included that would strengthen the text?
o How to talk about it
• Use evidence from the text (paraphrase).
• QUOTE directly from the text (Quote sandwich!!)
§ Explain why your quote/evidence is important/relevant/useful.
§ Comment on how the quote/evidence is related to the main
• Remain OBJECTIVE (this is an analysis, not an argument)..
• What is the significance of this topic?
What have you learned after doing rhetorical analysis on your chosen
Please include MLA Works Cited page!!
Even though you only have one citation (Your speaker’s TED Talk website), you need to include it!
Introduction: Start generally and get more specific- introduce
the title of the speech. State the main claim and specific
intended audience of your choice as well. You can also
discuss why it is that you chose this particular TED talk.
What is the background of your choice? Context? Your thesis
for this paper will answer this question: in what ways does the
author attempt to persuade the audience and is he/she
successful or not
Body Paragraphs: This is where your analysis will dominate.
Appeals- Discuss in detail how the speaker uses persuasive
strategies to convince his/her audience. Again, here you’ll
have to explain the WHAT, HOW and WHY with examples
and discussion. Bring in quotes / description. How does
he/she take audience into account? Are the strategies
effective? Why or Why not?
Grammar and Organization: Have thoroughly edited your
paper so that sentences are readable and appropriate for an
academic audience. Grammar and sentence level issues are
considered here. PROOFREAD! Organization is also
considered here. Are your paragraphs focused? Do they
wander off topic?
Conclusion: Overall, comment on media in general creates
an argument- controversial or otherwise. Also, comment on
how media uses rhetorical appeals in order to be persuasive
Page Length/ MLA / works cited: Needs to be at least 3 full
pages, in MLA format, with a works cited page
Your Total:

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