Rhetorical Situation Analysis (RSA)

Read the assigned text then answer the questions below. Write your responses in the form of short answers to each question. You will later use these responses to develop your comparative rhetorical analysis. As you prepare your answers, consult Rhetorical Choices chapters 1-3 for explanations of key terms. 1. When and where did this text originally appear? 2. What is the genre of the text, and in which modes is it composed (e.g., verbal, visual, aural)? What are the common rhetorical purposes for texts in this genre? Use Table 2.1 to help you answer this question. 3. To what exigence is the text responding? What event, situation, or argument is the writer responding to? 4. Who is the discourse community for this text and what values are important to them? 5. Who is the writerʼs intended audience, and what textual clues help you name that audience? Remember the difference between an intended audience and people who stumble upon the text. 6. What is the writer’s message? Specifically, what is the writer trying to say? 7. What is the writerʼs rhetorical purpose? What does the writer want the audience to feel, know, believe, or do as a result of reading this text? 8. What rhetorical appeals does the writer use to accomplish his or her rhetorical purpose? (See Chapter 3 in Rhetorical Choices for discussion of the appeals.) a. Describe the writerʼs constructed ethos. How effectively does the writer construct himself or herself as credible, trustworthy, and knowledgeable? b. Describe the writer’s appeals to logos. What types of reasoning does the author present or use? To what values, beliefs, and assumptions does the writer appeal, and how likely is the intended audience to be persuaded by appeals to those values, beliefs, and assumptions? c. Describe the writer’s appeals to pathos. How effectively does the writer elicit an emotional response from the intended audience, and how effectively will those appeals to pathos help achieve the writer’s rhetorical purpose? 9. Very briefly, how appropriate do you think the text is for its rhetorical situation? How likely will the text achieve its rhetorical purpose?

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