rhetorical analysis

: MLA or APA formatting: (double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font)

During this assignment, you will listen to music. However, this time, much like the television essay, you will look for deeper meaning in the music. This assignment will force some of you out of your comfort zone when it comes to music, and you will most likely hear ideas that you don’t agree with—that’s okay. You are expected to be objective and professional when analyzing. I have provided a lengthy list of aspects to think about, but you do not need to focus on each one. These are merely to help you get started.

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Way to approach this paper:

-Rhetorical Analysis: You will focus on the rhetorical appeals of the artist or song: ethos, pathos, and logos. In addition, you will need to incorporate the exemplification, analysis, and organizational skills you’ve worked on in previous papers. This paper is not about making moral judgments about the artist’s music (e.g. Marilyn Manson’s music is evil). Academic writing rarely engages in debating the morality of an argument because it’s so subjective.

Find a song (you pick your song)
Assess it for rhetorical value (you want to know there’s something worth looking at)
Start the writing process like you normally would
Sample Thesis Statement: Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” speaks directly to American attitudes after the World Trade Center attacks of 2001 because it focused American aggression toward “the enemy” and encouraged Americans to support the troops; however, Keith’s controversial lyrics function purely on emotional appeals with very little logic to support his case.

Some things to think about for rhetorical appeal:

What are the pathos, ethos, and logos of the song, artist, or band?
What movement and genre is the band usually put into?
What ideologies are being discussed in the music?
What are other songs from the artist/band about? (drugs, politics, sex, etc…”)
What are the arguments being made by the band?
Does the instrumentation reflect anything? (Think Punk, Psychobilly, Death Metal, Hip-Hop)
What type of person usually consumes this type of music?
Are any rhetorical fallacies present in the song?
How well are they known? (Think mainstream, underground, superband)
This should be accompanied by a complete list of works cited (including the album you’re examining) and should convey proper use of in-text citation in MLA (or APA) format). You must cite any song, video, article, essay…that you use in this paper, both in text and in a bibliography.
READ THIS: Do not answer these questions in your essay. If your essay merely provides answers to these questions, it will receive a poor grade. These are merely here to help you formulate a paper. You have to know how everything fits together, and these are puzzle pieces you might need. As you begin to write the paper, you need to make a specific argument and then sustain that argument throughout the paper.

Thing you’ll want to avoid:

THIS IS NOT A BIOGRAPHY.
This is not a summary of songs.
This paper is not about praising the song or band.
This is not a critical review of the artist or performance.

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