Speech Rhetorical Criticism Major Paper


Speech Rhetorical Criticism Major Paper

For this assignment, you will write a 1000-word rhetorical criticism of a speech. This means that you will make an argument about the speech, applying your knowledge of BOTH classical (old) AND contemporary (new) rhetorical concepts covered in class. A basic thesis (potential grade of 3) could be as simple as one of the following: “This speech uses [rhetorical theory or concept] to…” A more advanced thesis (in other words, one that has the potential to earn a 4 or 5) would make a more critical, contestable claim that you construct, perhaps an argument about a specific function of the speech or a particularly well-designed rhetorical method in the speech. You might, for instance, write a thesis that says something like, “Senator McCarthy’s use of the metaphor ‘communism is disease’ allowed him to advocate his proposals as the only appropriate course of action for the U.S.” Offer a clear thesis that you can support for the rest of the paper.

Be careful also to use both one classical and one contemporary theory somewhere in the paper (but they don’t both have to both be in the thesis). If you were using the McCarthy example above, for instance, which uses the contemporary theory of metaphor, you would also eventually need to draw in some classical theory. You could argue, for example, that McCarthy’s metaphor also leads to the kind of manipulation that Plato saw as the major problem with rhetoric. Use clear topic sentences to make clear which theories you are applying in each paragraph.  Speech Rhetorical Criticism Major Paper

The speech itself will provide most of your support—you should quote the speech liberally (but NOT in large block quotations) to show evidence of the observations you are making. You do NOT need to provide APA citations for the speech you’re critiquing—treat it as a given. You WILL, however, need to do research (and cite your outside sources using APA documentation) beyond what is in the speech itself so that you can comment about audience, context, and the rhetorical situation this speech addressed. Look (using the Communication & Mass Media Complete database on the library website) for scholarly articles about your speech or your speaker—they are a great source of evidence or even disagreement with you that will sharpen your own argument. Other good sources include biographies of speakers and histories that cover the time periods of the speeches. Whatever outside sources you use, at least one of your outside sources must be an academic journal article. You must also give credit to all your sources beyond the speech itself, including sources of historical information. Generally speaking, 2-3 good sources will be plenty. Wikipedia entries, online encyclopedias, random websites, and blogs are not acceptable sources. For the purposes of finding one classical and one contemporary concept, use concepts we have covered in class from the list below:

Classical theories: from “Intro to Rhetoric” through Aristotle (including fallacies and rhetorical figures). Here are some of the options:

Sophists (if you think your speech is not a good model), fallacies, Cicero’s canons or requirements, the rhetorical figures metonymy and chiasmus, Plato’s critiques of rhetoric, Aristotle’s artistic and inartistic proofs (it’s best to use just one or two instead of all of

them), Aristotle’s enthymemes, Aristotle’s divisions of oratory (probably focusing on just one), Aristotle’s principles of epilogue Contemporary theories: from “Contemporary Rhetorical Theory” to “Identification” (metaphor falls into this contemporary category because we emphasize contemporary approaches to it). Here are some of the options:

Form vs. information, ceremonial address as a foundation for persuasion, the rhetorical situation, invitational rhetoric, organizational rhetoric, identification (it’s best to focus on just 1-2 specific types), metaphor, tenor and vehicle. Note: IF you use metaphor as your contemporary concept, you MUST state your metaphor in “tenor is vehicle” form.  Speech Rhetorical Criticism Major Paper

These, then, are the basic assignment requirements: *ONE speech (you MUST choose from the speeches under your TA’s name) *Approximately 1000 words of content (roughly 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages, not counting references) *Application of some classical (i.e., ancient) rhetorical concept, with a simple mention of the author (if given in class)–no APA citation needed for the author, however. *Use of rhetorical theories or concepts that were covered in class. *Application of some contemporary (i.e., 20th century) rhetorical concept, with a simple mention of the author (if given in class)–no APA citation needed for the author, however *A claim about the speech that you will support for the rest of the paper *A clear thesis statement setting forth that claim *Topic sentences that connect each paragraph to your overall argument *Direct quotations from the speech to support claims *Research necessary to help you critique the speech *Outside sources (2-3 will suffice; at least one must be an academic journal article) *Citations and references in correct APA styl. Speech Rhetorical Criticism Major Paper

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