Nicholas Kristof “Our Blind Spot About Guns”

Assignment—Draft, revise, and edit your text to produce a well-organized essay of at least 600 words and not more than 800. Your essay should be a rhetorical analysis of ONE of the following readings from your textbook:
• Johanna MacKay “Organ Sales Will Save Lives” (157-162)
• Nicholas Kristof “Our Blind Spot About Guns” (162-165)
• Molly Worthen, “U Can’t Talk to Ur Professor Like This” (165-170)
Purpose: The point of a rhetorical analysis is to evaluate the writer’s ability to use various strategies to create a convincing argument. Your thesis should answer the following questions: Is this an effective argument? Why or why not?
Skills: The purpose of this assignment is to help you practice the following skills that are essential to this course, first year composition, and most importantly, writing and researching across the curriculum: critical reading, critical thinking, evaluation, synthesis, and analysis.
Knowledge: This assignment will help you become familiar with evaluating sources. A rhetorical analysis requires you to “break down” an argument into pieces, closely examining the writer’s rhetorical strategies.
Task: Your essay should contain the following: an introduction, at least four body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Focus on developing each body paragraph with plenty of details and explanations to make your analysis convincing. Your final essay should be around 600 words or more. Four body paragraphs means that you need to make four points about the essay you’re evaluating. You will use MLA format for the essay: double spaced/12 pt. font.
Criteria for Success:
• Begin your essay with appropriate background information about the source essay. Your introduction should draw your readers in and lead them smoothly to your thesis statement. Your thesis should clearly state whether the writer has an effective argument.
In the introduction, mention the author by full name and state the title of the essay.
• Analyze the writer’s argument by examining the rhetorical features. Analyze the strategies the author uses to achieve his or her goals. This is key! Make sure you have not simply summarized the writer’s argument. It’s not important whether you agree with the writer; you’re evaluating the writing, not arguing about the issue.
• Explain your ideas adequately. Simply listing points is not enough. They must be explained.
• Organize your essay. Well-developed, unified, coherent body paragraphs should directly support your thesis.
• Check for good grammar and clear sentences. Proofread carefully.

• Format your essay in MLA format.
Some other ideas for writing your rhetorical analysis essay:
When you write an essay, each body paragraph can serve as an answer to a question. Here are some questions you might want to answer in your body paragraphs:
• Does the writer do a good job of getting readers interested in the issue?
• Does the writer effectively establish his or her own authority and credibility on this subject?
• How strong is the support provided?
• Does the writer show a good awareness of who his or her audience is?
• Does the writer use emotions effectively?
• Does the writer refute his or her opponents effectively?
• Is the tone of the essay appropriate to the topic?
• Does the writer choose words effectively?
• Is the essay organized in the best possible way?
• Is the thesis stated clearly?
• Is the essay gracefully written?
• Does the writer avoid logical fallacies?
• Are examples used effectively to support opinions?

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