Major Writing Assignment One

Rhetorical Analysis with Commentary


  • This assignment requires each student writer to summarize the main ideas of the author's argument from one of the three readings (two are from EAA) below, analyze the argument rhetorically, and comment on those ideas.
  • After a brief summarization of the major claims/points, each student should attempt to analyze them for the audience. This will require you to think critically about the content of the essay and relate the issue in a way that demonstrates its importance and relevance to society in general. Therefore, students should choose an essay that discusses a topic with which they have some prior knowledge and a solid opinion about that topic.
  • Also, it is a chance to express your critical thinking on a topic without having to do research (that comes later in the semester). However, it is formal and should use the primary text through direct quotation or paraphrase. It is an opportunity to express an opinion a topic within the boundaries of an academic environment. It is not a rant; it is an intellectual discourse that addresses the issue in a mature manner.


  • Open your paper by spending a little time (about a paragraph) summarizing the text’s argument and how it works. After that, it is time to add the critical perspective. This does not mean a review of what you liked about it. A majority of the writing should be your thoughts on the issue with an informed point of view.
  • It should examine why the issue is important to society and how the author attempts to make his or her reader agree with the main idea. Furthermore, each student should offer his or her opinion on the issue itself. You may safely assume your audience is somewhat familiar with the issue and the essay you are responding to.
  • Please make sure that you are reading very carefully and critically. Annotate. Freewrite. Outline. Organizing your ideas should be part of your pre-writing routine.

  • Additional instructions (MLA format) are in the unit calendar.

Paper Specifications

Paper Specifications

  • The final draft must be exactly 928 words. That's right, exactly 928 words! This does not include the Outline, MLA header, or Works Cited page.
  • "But Mr. Compton- you are crazy. Why exactly 928 words? Because I want you to think about every word. Real writers think about every word, not pages.
  • Drafts that do not meet the minimum or exceed it will be penalized. Anything less than 900 words will not be evaluated and will receive no more than a 50/100.
  • The Works Cited page is not part of the word requirement. It will only have one source, which is the essay you are working with.

Format: Margins, Spacing and indentation, Font, Pagination, Heading, Title

  • 1” all around
  • Double space throughout
  • ½ inch indentation of the first line of a paragraph
  • Times New Roman 12 pt font
  • Identification of your last name and page number in

    top right margin, ½ inch from the top margin.

  • See your EAA Ch. 27 for instructions on how the heading should be formatted.

The title of the essay must not be:

  • Underlined
  • In quotes
  • Boldface
  • In a larger font
  • Surrounded by extra space

Late penalties

  • Please see the syllabus for late penalties.

Use of 1st and 2nd person pronouns

  • Never use “you” or “your” unless in a direct quotation. Its use is informal and indefinite.
  • Avoid using “I” as well. There is usually a better way to write the sentence.
  • No contractions

Works Cited

  • Works Cited is required.

Grade and revision

  • Late papers, plagiarized paper, or paper that do not meet the minimum word requirements, are not available for revision. I consider these responsibility issues and not writing issues.

  • Papers that have not been proofread and edited carefully before submission will be returned with a "Try Again" grade. Students will have up to 48 hours to resubmit with a 30% penalty.
  • Please review the "What is an A?" document in the Helpful Writing Tips and Hacks module
  • See syllabus about any additional penalties for late work and plagiarism.