The goal of a rhetorical analysis is not to analyze what a writer is arguing about concerning an issue, but how the author crafts the argument. You will do this by analyzing the use of rhetorical strategies.
Purpose: This assignment prompts you to identify the strategies Michael Pollan employs in his argumentative essay “Eat Food: Food Defined” and the contexts in which his argument appears in order to evaluate its persuasive effectiveness.
Subject: You will first provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in Pollan’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos within his argument(s) and then determine whether the essay’s primary claims successfully persuades its audience to think differently about their food and the ways they eat.
Ethos deals primarily with credibility. You will want to examine his reputation, authority, and/or expertise. You also want to consider the credibility of his source material. Does he provide credible support for his claims? Do you find his support reasonable? Why or Why not? These factors, as well as the argument, he makes will either improve or detract from the writer’s credibility. The basic question here is whether you trust Pollan or not and whether you provide sufficient support to explain your position. You must illustrate your evaluation of his use of ethos with specific references to his text.
Logos is concerned with the logic of Pollan’s argument. In considering the use of logos, you will analyze issues such as the quality and quantity of supporting evidence. You may also want to consider any bias he might have toward the subject and the effect of that bias upon the argument being presented. Is his reasoning sound? Do you identify any logical fallacies? In short, you will want to address any weaknesses and/or strengths in the logic of the argument. You must illustrate your evaluation of his use of logos with specific references to his text.
Pathos deals with emotion. You should identify any attempts to evoke a particular emotion from the audience. Additionally, you will want to consider whether or not appealing to emotion is an effective persuasive strategy. Does Pollan manipulate his audience’s emotions? If so, how and to what purpose? Does his use of emotion weaken his argument? You must illustrate your evaluation of his use of pathos with specific references to his text.
Remember the following points: a) consider the argument’s audience and determine who you think is the intended audience and explain how and why you came to that conclusion; b) consider context and determine the relevant historical, social and cultural contexts for Pollan’s argument; c) determine whether these appeals to shared backgrounds, values and beliefs play a significant role in persuading the audience; d) finally, remember you are not developing an argument that advocates in favor of or against his position/issue but are analyzing his argument and its effectiveness. You must, therefore, examine Pollan’s purpose and whether he achieves it. In other words, ask yourself what he would like to convince his readers to believe or do and whether or not you think he achieved this aim.
Requirements: This is an analytical, academic assignment, and, as a result, your writing should reflect that. Your paper should, therefore, be written in an elevated and sophisticated style that makes use of correct grammar and usage. You should make a clear and precise argument as you analyze the rhetorical strategies employed in the text that you are examining.
Specific guidelines for this assignment are as follows:
• Clear introduction and conclusion.
• Address all three rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos.
• Address the issue of context.
Discuss using specific references to the text as support for your conclusions whether Berry’s argument is
• Adherence to MLA format (including a work cited page).
• Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
• At least 3 full pages (excluding the work cited page) in length.
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