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waiting on superman
Project Two: 20% of total grade
Analyzing Ethos, Pathos and Logos in a Visual Text
Goal: The goal of a visual analysis is not to analyze what a writer is arguing about concerning an issue, but to analyze how the writer/creator of this visual text is presenting his argument. You’ll do this by analyzing the use of the rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos and logos in the documentary by Davis Guggenheim Waiting for Superman.
Purpose: This assignment prompts you to identify the strategies and appeals that this particular visual/narrated argument employs. One of the reasons this is useful is that it requires you to understand not just what a writer is saying, but also the purposes and motivations behind their arguments. Also, as you get more comfortable identifying the strategies/appeals other writers employ, you will be able to utilize these strategies more effectively in your own writing.
Audience: Your audience will consist of your scholarly peers of whom you may assume have only a casual familiarity with the issue and the visual text that you are analyzing (which means you’ll need to put certain things into context before/when explaining them)
Focus: Your rhetorical analysis of this visual text will include a succinct and accurate Rhetorical Precis AND a thoughtful discussion of ethos, logos, and pathos.
Ethos deals primarily with credibility. Using details from the documentary as a means of determining his effectiveness in using this appeal, you will examine how Guggenheim comes across as trustworthy, knowledgeable, credible, genuine AND as having his audience’s best interests at heart. You can also examine how he paves common ground with his audience by capitalizing on certain shared values, concerns, expectations, etc.
Logos is concerned with the logic of the argument. In considering Guggenheim’s use of logos, you will want to focus on certain facts, data and/or statistics AND how some things are logically explained to determine how well he uses this appeal through certain strategies.
Pathos deals with emotion and imagination. You will discuss certain strategies Guggenheim uses to evoke a particular emotion or emotions from his audience.
For this essay, you are highly encouraged to use the following supportive documents provided to clarify how to approach each task: “Waiting for Superman,” “Rhetorical Precis,” “Ethos,” “Pathos,” “Logos,” and the “Prompt” (the rubric will be posted soon). They are all available under “Course Documents” together under “Essay 2.”
Your essay will include 4 tasks in total.
o Note: While tasks (1, 2 and 4) should be addressed fullyand individually in their own paragraphs, task 3 will include the body paragraphs you write focusing onspecific strategies (or a strategy) through which you discuss the APPEALs of ethos, pathos and logos. This means you have to make structural decisions that will allow your material to stay organized, and that organization will depend upon how you address/discuss the appeals and which strategies (or strategy) you will focus on.
Task 1: Introduce the topic by composing one short, interesting paragraph that eases the reader into the topic at hand (the state of our lacking public elementary school system) and gets them interested in reading on. Since you’ll need to take a position in your conclusion about the topic, you could set up for that in this paragraph. There are myriad ways for you to introduce the topic in an interesting way using whatever personal experience in the educational system and/or outside resources you need to do soeffectively. Remember, this is meant to be a brief intro, but it must have some substance too.
Since you will be introducing Guggenheim and his documentary in your second paragraph, avoid mentioning him and his film in this paragraph. This short paragraph is just meant to break the ice on the topic.
You WILL have a works cited sheet this time, so be sure to get citation information on any sources you plan on using to open up your discussion.
Task 2: Rhetorical Precis: Like in the previous essay you wrote, you are to write a Rhetorical Precis using the same model as previously provided.
The appeals can be discussed in whatever order you deem appropriate for your approach/style. You need to create an outline to guide this discussion.
Task 3: In your body paragraphs, you will focus on specific strategies Guggenheim uses to discuss the following appeals in, hopefully, a variety of ways.
Ethos: Your body should discuss at least 3 ways Guggenheim uses the appeal of ethos.
• In discussing this appeal, you are to focus on specific strategies Guggenheim uses throughout his piece. Discuss at least threedifferent ways he uses the appeal to ETHOS that may include any of the following (some of these will likely overlap, and don’t necessarily need to be broken up into separate paragraphs; in addition, you are encouraged to discuss the other appeals as they become relevant to the discussion):
o How Guggenheim establishes credibility through use of a reputable source(s).
o How Guggenheim establishes credibility through use of firsthand experience.
o How Guggenheim paves common ground with his audience.
o How Guggenheim comes across as intelligent/well educated on the topic.
o How Guggenheim expresses goodwill towards his audience (or having his audience’s best interests at heart)
Pathos: Using details, your piece should discuss at least 2 ways that Guggenheim appeals to the viewers’ emotions.
o In addition to what Guggenheim says, be sure to take into consideration certain visuals, music, emotionally charged (connotative) words, and/or video inserts used in the documentary that help reinforce the evocation of certain emotions.
Logos: Using specific details from Guggenheim’s documentary, discuss his use of logos as an appeal in 2 different ways.
o While facts and statistics are excellent (and obvious) examples of logos being used and I expect some to be in your discussion of logos, I also want you to include an explanation of how he uses logos to appeal to our sense of logic (like when he uses certain facts—which are logos—to make a point he’s making make sense to us).
As you can see, it’s not HOW much territory you try to cover by focusing on multiple strategies; instead, it’s about WHAT you do with each strategy to explain the appeals. TAKE THE TIME TO carefully explain the strategies that you decide to discuss; think critically about them and apply that to what you want to say in relation to the appeals.
Task 4: Conclusion: In your conclusion, you will take a position on how/why Guggenheim was able to persuade you of his argument, or if he had an impact on the way you see this issue (especially if you were unaware of the magnitude of it). The conclusion is your opportunity to express your opinion about the documentary in general, or the topic, but I would like to see specific aspects that moved you in particular that you wish to reflect upon, too. Maybe leave the reader something to think about. The conclusion is a chance to vocalize opinions about things in the documentary that you didn’t discuss in your piece. A particularly good conclusion often connects back to something said in the introductory paragraph (before the précis).
While a scoring rubric will be provided which will clarify exactly how your essay will be assessed using specific criteria, scroll down to see “General Guidelines” and the Student Learning Outcomes satisfied in writing this essay.
General guidelines for this assignment include:
• Clear introduction and conclusion.
• Developed discussion of all three rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos.
• Audience is acknowledged.
• Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
• 4-5 pages in length.
RWS 280 engages students in using key rhetorical concepts as a mode of inquiry and invention as they develop reading and writing proficiency in academic disciplines and other contexts.
Student Learning Outcomes:
1. Develop an effective process of reading for comprehension.
2. Develop an effective writing process—including prewriting, drafting, revision, and self-evaluation.
3.Analyze the elements of academic texts—particularly argument, genre, audience, context, purpose, and strategies.
4. Articulate in writing key rhetorical concepts.
Project Two: 20% of total grade
Analyzing Ethos, Pathos and Logos in a Visual Text
Goal: The goal of a visual analysis is not to analyze what a writer is arguing about concerning an issue, but to analyze how the writer/creator of this visual text is presenting his argument.