Like any rhetorical analysis essay, an essay analyzing a visual document should quickly set the stage for what you’re doing. Try to cover the following concerns in the initial paragraphs:
Many authors struggle with thesis statements or controlling ideas in regards to rhetorical analysis essays. There may be a temptation to think that merely announcing the text as a rhetorical analysis is purpose enough. However, especially depending on your essay’s length, your reader may need a more direct and clear statement of your intentions. Below are a few examples.
Did it swing back again? 1. The essay has an adequate introduction in which the time frame isnoted.2. The thesis provides an answer to the question and divides the answerinto
categories.3. Proper essay style is used (think 5 paragraph format where applicable).4. Grammar and spelling are adequate (do not misspell words that aresupplied in
the documents).5. You have not referred to yourself in the essay and you have not toldthe readers what they are "going to learn".6. A great majority of the documents have been used in a manner whichmakes their use readily apparent to the reader.7. Quotations are limited to a phrase which is placed within the contextof your answer.8. ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTION have been answered.9. A conclusion exists which summarizes the evidence, restates the thesisand indicates a direction for further study or occurrences.10. Base all of your comments on the documents, NOT on outside information.
As an example from Dubliners, let us look at the first sentence of "The Dead":
"Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet."Now, a precise stylist would want to change this to "figuratively run off her feet." But the use of literally in this context is one that uneducated people, such as the housemaid Lily, frequently employ.
The unfairness and the utter corruption that had always surrounded Bigger shaped his psychological understanding of the world and helped to set a moral conscious in the American mind-set."
A Rose for Emily
Discuss the STORY (what happens)
Discuss the PLOT (the way the author arranged the story)
How does the author's PLOT STRUCTURE effect the short-story?
What are three things you should include in your introduction?
What is a thesis?
He excelled in the examinations, and the future of twentieth-century literature may have been decided when Joyce chose Ulysses as the character he would write about in the assigned topic "My Favorite Hero." This young man, who was to leave the Catholic Church once he arrived at puberty, and had to choose between sex and religion, was deeply religious, if we can take as evidence that he was chosen as head of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1896.
Knowing how to organize these papers can be tricky, in part because there is no single right answer—only more and less effective answers. You may decide to organize your paper thematically, or by tackling each idea sequentially; you may choose to order your ideas by their importance to your argument or to the poem. If you are comparing and contrasting two texts, you might work thematically or by addressing first one text and then the other. One way to approach a text may be to start with the beginning of the novel, story, play, or poem, and work your way toward its end. For example, here is the rough structure of the example above: The author of the sample decided to use the poem itself as an organizational guide, at least for this part of the analysis.
Here follows an excerpt from a brief analysis of "Design" based on the close reading above. This example focuses on some lines in great detail in order to unpack the meaning and significance of the poem's language. By commenting on the different elements of close reading we have discussed, it takes the results of our close reading to offer one particular way into the text. (In case you were thinking about using this sample as your own, be warned: it has no thesis and it is easily discoverable on the web. Plus it doesn't have a title.)
If you really want to master the practice of reading and writing about literature, we recommend Sylvan Barnet and William E. Cain's wonderful book, A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. Barnet and Cain offer not only definitions and descriptions of processes, but examples of explications and analyses, as well as checklists for you, the author of the paper. The Short Guide is certainly not the only available reference for writing about literature, but it is an excellent guide and reminder for new writers and veterans alike.
First, an example from the opening of the first story, "The Sisters":
"There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke.
In this example, we are looking to determine what kind(s) of disruption the poem contains or describes. Rather than "disruption," we want to see what kind of disruption, or whether indeed Frost uses disruptions in form and language to communicate something opposite: design.
Examples run throughout the stories: from the mothers in "The Boarding House," "A Little Cloud," and "A Mother," to the men in the world of business in "Counterparts," through the religious life in "Grace," and into the world of politics in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." So many of the characters we encounter here are paralyzed in both thought and feeling; indeed, when Joyce began writing "The Sisters" he stated that in the stories he planned to write he would portray the "soul of that...paralysis which many consider a city." The modernist is a revolutionary not only in content but in style.