File Rhetorical Analysis

File Rhetorical Analysis Assignment.pdf (113.829 KB)
This assignment is worth 150 points and is due June 18.

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to have you perform a rhetorical analysis of a TED Talk; to experiment with pre-writing techniques; to work with crafting an effective thesis statement and selecting relevant details to support general conclusions; to focus on writing engaging introductions and conclusions; to consider questions of voice, audience, and purpose; to work with selecting and integrating appropriate strategies of development; to experiment with different revision processes; and, overall, to move toward a persuasive academic writing style.

TED talks have recently become a phenomenon in the United States and even globally. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design,” though the subject matter of the talks can range even more broadly than that. Talks given as TED talks are delivered to a live audience and are recorded. Many are posted online where they end up attracting a larger (sometimes much larger) audience. Once you have seen a few TED talks, you might begin to understand why TED has caught on so quickly. Put simply, they engage the audience. This happens through a combination of two things: 1) offering engaging subject matter through rhetorical invention (choosing topics and arguments that are compelling, surprising, or counter-intuitive), and 2) developing an engaging manner of presentation. TED speakers do not use notes. They look at the audience. They move around the stage. In a word, they perform.

Audience: Remember, the writing you do in this class is considered public writing. Therefore, the audience for your rhetorical analysis paper is a knowledgeable stakeholder or educated member of your discourse community (e.g. your instructor, fellow scholars, and/or your classmates).

Directions: You will analyze the TED Talk “America’s Native Prisoners of War” by Aaron Huey (available at and write a 3- 4 page paper describing whether or not the author successfully accomplished his purpose.

You should, at a minimum address the following:

• Author: (Who is the author / speaker? What credentials does s/he have?)

• Purpose: (What is the author trying to accomplish? – Why did the author feel the need to give this Talk?)

• Audience: (To whom is the Talk addressed?)

• Context: (What are influencing factors surrounding the event of the Talk? Where/When was the Talk given?)

• Voice: (What is the overall tone of the Talk?)

• Effectiveness? (Is the speaker / author rhetorically effective? Does the Talk “move” you? Does the Talk convincingly get you to think critically/differently about the topic/subject matter?).


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