Assignment #5: Comparative Rhetorical Analysis—Essay #1

For the past few weeks, we’ve been learning how strong readers examine the choices authors make and the rhetorical techniques they use so they can better understand various texts. Your last two assignments have asked you to analyze the rhetorical moves authors Ainsley and Harris make in regards to the ideas of artistic appropriation and race, specifically in terms of Black American music and the White artists who perform it. Our class discussions have added to our understanding of these articles as well.

For this assignment, I’d like you to use what you’ve learned about these texts and the rhetorical moves they make to compare them. You’ll need to use your rhetorical analyses of the articles to make judgments about the relationship between them and of their rhetorical similarities and differences. You may discover that the articles complement one another, are in dialogue with one another or contradict one another. Ultimately, you’ll want to decide which article is more effective rhetorically.

You need to develop a strong thesis statement for this essay that makes an argument and is not merely an observation. Your comparative thesis statement will present an argument about the articles based on your analysis of their rhetorical strategies. For example: While Article X and Article Y both reach the conclusion that A has a positive impact on B, Article X's analysis is far deeper and less biased than Article Y which relies more on personal conjecture rather than factual evidence.

When you are comparing two texts, keep in mind that you will be looking at similarities and differences. Language that makes comparison as well as draws out contrast is important to use. Here are some phrases that you may find helpful:


along the same lines

in the same way




although but

by contrast


even though


in contrast



on the contrary

on the other hand





Your essay should be about four (4) pages in length and should be organized in the following way.

Introduction: You will need to introduce each reading (title, author, genre) and provide a brief

summary of the author’s main point/s. This is also the place to make some general statements about the fundamental differences between the texts. Your introduction should end with your thesis (an argument about the rhetorical effectiveness of the articles based on your analysis of their rhetorical strategies).

Body: Write as many paragraphs as needed to make your argument. You should think of a paragraph as a unit of meaning in that it usually conveys a single idea or concept. Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence that makes an assertion (point) in relation to your thesis statement. Textual evidence in the form of quotes (this essay should use a minimum of three (3) quotes) needs to be used to justify your claims. Make sure to include your analysis of the quotes in relation to the point you’re trying to make. Use transitional language and phrases to shift from paragraph to paragraph (or point to point).

Conclusion: While the conclusion paragraph/s is usually where you reiterate your thesis and summarize your main points, it can also be a space to reflect on what you’ve learned by writing the essay. You should reflect on the process of writing the essay and how your analysis allowed you to gain a new understanding in addition to restating your thesis and summarizing your main points.

A rough draft of this essay is due February 21st

A final draft of this essay is due on March 2nd