Rhetorical Analysis 2
When college professors ask you to write a critique of a text, they usually expect you to analyze and
evaluate, not just summarize. A summary merely reports what the text said; that is, it answers only the
question, “What did the author say?” A critique, on the other hand, analyzes, interprets, and evaluates the
text, answering the questions how? why? and how well? A critique does not necessarily have to criticize
the piece in a negative sense. Your reaction to the text may be largely positive, negative, or a combination
of the two. It is important to explain why you respond to the text in a certain way.
Write a 2-3 page essay that includes an analysis of an article and the Work Cited page in MLA. You may
want to choose an article with a topic related to your major or a topic of high interest to you. You may be
able to use this article later in the semester when you write your research paper.
Your task is to select an article, summarize it, and then analyze its rhetorical situation. Use the sample
rhetorical analysis essay provided by me as a flexible guide- not a rigid model. Your analysis will contain a
variety of features perhaps even more than the ones provided. How you organize your analysis will depend
in part on the writing you choose and in part on the decisions you make about how to arrange the parts of
Select an appropriate article (6+ pages) that has enough elements to analyze thoroughly.
To prepare for your analysis, use the reading strategies presented in class.
Step 1. Analyze the text
As you read the book or article you plan to critique, the following questions will help you analyze the text:
• What is the author’s main point? (a brief summary of the article)
• What is the author’s purpose?
• Who is the author’s intended audience?
• What arguments does the author use to support the main point?
• What evidence does the author present to support the arguments?
• What are the author’s underlying assumptions or biases?
You may find it useful to make notes about the text based on these questions as you read.
Step 2. Evaluate the text
After you have read the text, you can begin to evaluate the author’s ideas. The following questions provide
some ideas to help you evaluate the text:
Is the argument logical?
Is the text well-organized, clear, and easy to read?
Does the argument use relevant sources?
Have important terms been clearly defined?
Is there sufficient evidence for the arguments?
Do the arguments support the main point?
Is the text appropriate for the intended audience?
Does the text present and refute opposing points of view?
Does the text help you understand the subject?
Are there any words or sentences that elicit a strong response from you? What are those words or
sentences? What is your reaction?
What questions or observations does this article suggest? That is, what does the article make you think
Step 3. Plan and write your critique
Write your critique in standard essay form. It is generally best not to follow the author’s organization when
organizing your analysis, since this approach lends itself to summary rather than analysis. Begin with anintroduction that briefly summarizes the article, then defines the subject of your critique, and finally gives
your point of view. The majority of your paper should defend your point of view (with ample evidence from
the source article) by raising specific issues or aspects of the argument. Conclude your critique by
summarizing your argument and re-emphasizing your point.
You will first need to provide a very brief summary of the article.
Then you will identify and explain the author’s ideas. Refer to specific passages that support your claims
about the article.
Offer your own analysis. Explain what you think about the argument. Describe several points with which
you agree and/or disagree.
For each of the points you mention, include specific passages from the text (you may summarize, quote, or
paraphrase) that provide evidence for your claim. Evaluate the effectiveness of the author’s claims. You are
NOT to use more than ONE quotation. You are NOT to use a long quotation (4+ lines).
Explain how the passages support your opinion.
Source of information: Rosen, Leonard J. and Laurence Behrens, eds. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook. 1994