View the full text of my essay at the links below.
For our second major project of the semester, I wrote a textual rhetorical analysis (eventually entitled “Looking Deeper Reveals the Purpose”) in which I broke down the main rhetorical strategies used by the author, explaining how they worked and how they worked together to persuade the target audience.
On this page, which serves as an example of my written communication, I’ve included both the original and revised versions of my textual rhetorical analysis, as well as some reflection on what changes I made and how those changes benefited the finished piece.
Textual Rhetorical Analysis
For this assignment, we read Marshall McLuhan’s article “The Medium is the Message,” which argued that people fail to study media themselves, and this poses a great risk to society, and as a class we identified important quotations and rhetorical strategies used in the article.
In my own analysis, I worked to summarize and explain McLuhan’s piece, and then I analyzed how McLuhan constructed an ethos of scholarship and credibility through his presentation of a variety examples from different scholarly fields in order to support his claims. Although I ultimately made many revisions to the final piece, these revisions fall into three main categories:
- Providing context.
- Focusing body paragraphs.
- Using quotations for support.
Reflection on Written Communication
I realize now that when I first drafted the rhetorical analysis, I was still struggling to understand McLuhan’s points, and so I had a hard time formulating my analysis. After reading and trying to understand feedback from my instructor and peers, I came to understand that my essay lacked enough context for my audience, my body paragraphs lacked focus, and my main points lacked the support of direct quotations from the text.
After taking this feedback into consideration, I returned to the draft and began revising. I added several sentences to my introduction, better establishing who my audience was, providing background information about the author, and clarifying my thesis statement. Then, I reread the article again, searching for quotes to support my points, and worked these quotes into my body paragraphs, cutting, adding, and moving the sentences already there.
The finished product is much stronger, as I hope you’ll agree. Not only is my own audience and purpose more clearly defined for my readers, and my writing more focused and purposeful, it is now fully supported and illustrated in all major places by direct quotation. It turns out, having to reread McLuhan’s article and include his actual quotations, forced me to better understand his overall argument. Thus, my analysis was finally able to conclude that what at first seemed to be a confusing number of examples, was actually a conscious choice on McLuhan’s part in order to better persuade his audience.
This kind of understanding will undoubtedly be useful in my future studies and in my career, as deep and careful reading, focused examination, and logical analysis not only help bring better understanding to all kinds of texts, but also help when producing texts as well. Since producing communication is likely to be an important part of my work for the rest of my life, these skills will be useful indeed.