Instant Download with all chapters and Answers
*you will get solution manuals in PDF in best viewable format after buy*
Part 2: Analyzing Arguments
Chapter 5: Analyzing Written Arguments
The central points of this chapter are that the term rhetoric refers to both making good arguments as a
writer and understanding good arguments as a reader, and that skill in the one activity improves skill in
the other. The chapter summarizes two kinds of rhetorical analysis—textual analysis and contextual analysis–making it clear that these are not mutually exclusive, but that both are commonly found in analytical
As you introduce the rhetorical appeals, take advantage of the fact that Faigley and Selzer use a broad
range of examples in their discussion of rhetorical analysis to incorporate examples from the everyday
experiences of your students. However, you do not want to oversell the importance of the appeals. Explain that the three kinds of appeals are not the only strategies that writers employ when they construct a
given argument, nor are they the only strategies that readers look for when analyzing a given argument;
rather, emphasize their importance as critical devices.
In addition to ethos, pathos, and logos (which fall under the category of invention), this chapter introduces
arrangement and style and explains the rhetorical importance of these activities in presenting arguments.
When you discuss this chapter in your class, you’ll probably find it easier to explain the concepts by illustrating them using a particular text as Faigley and Selzer do with the Silko essay from Chapter 11. To reinforce these concepts, you might want to perform a similar analysis on one of your own course readings
or on a short reading such as a newspaper editorial or magazine article. (Keep in mind that the analytical
techniques introduced in Good Reasons with Contemporary Arguments and Handbook are designed to be
used on texts that make a specific argument. So for this exercise, avoid choosing articles that are designed
to present facts “objectively,” such as newspaper reports, for they will make for more difficult classroom
discussion.) The discussion questions outlined below are presented generically, so they can be applied to
either the Silko text or a text of your own choosing.
Explain at the outset that rhetorical analysis refers to analyzing arguments. Also, you may want to return
to the class’s earlier discussion of rhetoric, since it is a term much abused. Pundits and politicians use the
term to refer to hollow or empty speech. An Austin newspaper once ran this headline: “Texas Voters
Want Facts, Not Rhetoric.” Prominent political figures have accused their opponents of “mouthing mere
rhetoric,” or making statements that go nowhere. We encourage you to steer the students toward a fairer
and more historically informed understanding of the term. As Faigley and Selzer note in the text, Aristotle
defined rhetoric as the art of finding the best available means of persuasion in any situation. The term
also historically refers to a staple of the traditional university education. English literature departments as
we know them today are a fairly recent invention, and while they teach strong reading and writing skills,
their main focus is the subject of literary texts. Emphasize to your students that rhetoric courses teach stu-
dents how to articulate and effectively communicate material that is not discipline specific. Encourage
them to apply the skills they will be learning to the work they do in their other classes, and to their work
and other social activities “off campus.”
When teaching ethos, pathos, and logos, as well as the other new terms introduced in this chapter, be sure
to emphasize that they do not have the same meanings as their English counterparts but rather are specific
terminology with new meanings that the students will need to memorize and become comfortable with.
Ethos means something more specific than “ethical,” a “pathetic” appeal has very little to do with the ordinary definition of pathetic, and discussions of a text’s “logical” appeal can concern much more than its
author’s use of reason.
Ethos Ask your students to consider the trustworthiness of the writer on the basis of the information in the
text itself and not on any secondary source information or any prior knowledge about the author of the
text. Are there any inconsistencies or seeming contradictions in the given text that lead the students to
doubt the trustworthiness of the author?
Pathos Explain to your students that writers use pathetic appeals in order to create a kind of pact between
themselves and their readers. Such appeals cultivate common ground between writer and reader. Pathetic
appeals work by provoking a particular emotional response in the audience. For example, if a writer is
claiming that a particular law is unfair, he or she will make remarks that provoke the reader’s anger about
the given law. If the writer is claiming that a particular community is being abused, he or she will make
remarks that provoke the reader’s sympathy for the given community. Ask your students to identify the
most salient emotional appeal in the given text. Then, ask them what particular values underlie the emotional appeal.
Logos Here, you will want to emphasize again that logical appeals refer to strong connections in a given
argument. In particular, we can see these kinds of appeals being made when the author refers to or enlists
a hard fact or other material piece of evidence. Ask your students to differentiate between evidence that is
accepted as factual or rarely disputed (for example a law or other piece of legislation, a physical event, a
statistical finding) and evidence that is disputed. Also, emphasize that writers selectively choose hard
facts, so just because the hard fact itself is indisputable does not mean the given argument (the argument
that enlists that hard fact) cannot be disputed.
Finally, don’t worry if your students are having trouble distinguishing between these three appeals. They
are inseparable. Thus, when you explain the appeals to your students, emphasize that when they write a
rhetorical analysis they will probably find that in many instances a given feature of the text can be talked
about as an ethical appeal, or a pathetic appeal, or a logical appeal.
Arrangement and Style
Ask your students to review Faigley and Selzer’s analysis of Leslie Marmon Silko’s essay “The Border
Patrol State” (in Chapter 11), particularly their discussion of Silko’s arrangement and style. Then, ask
your students to read another essay (perhaps the student essay by T. Jonathan Jackson included in this
chapter) and comment on the author’s arrangement and style. Ask them, In what ways is this arrangement
different from Silko’s arrangement? In what ways is this style different from Silko’s style?
As Good Reasons with Contemporary Arguments and Handbook explains, a rhetorical textual analysis
typically uses “rhetorical concepts to analyze the feature of texts.” In contrast, a rhetorical contextual
analysis focuses on the larger conversations going on around and about texts. Such analysis does not see
the text as self-contained but as part of a larger historic or cultural conversation. If, when you discuss rhetorical textual analysis with your students, you use the Jordan and Silko essays to illustrate your remarks,
perhaps you can choose a different text to work with when you discuss contextual analysis. For example,
use a short poem, an advertisement, or a newspaper editorial (again, this discussion will proceed more
smoothly if you choose a text that makes an explicit argument). Emphasize to your students that for a rhetorical contextual analysis they need to “step outside” the given text to be able to “step into it.” Working
with a given text, ask the students about the biographical facts of the author and his or her other work;
about the context of publication of the given text; and about the kinds of larger political or social conversations that the text seems to be participating in or contributing to. If you teach in a classroom that offers
students access to the Internet, you might elect some individual students or groups of students to begin to
research these questions online and present their findings to the rest of the class, which would give you an
opportunity to discuss not only the context of the text, but also the use (and misuse) of Internet sources.
JORDAN, “STATEMENT ON THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT” (p. 66)
1. What is Jordan’s central argument? What is her purpose in making this argument?
Jordan’s central argument is twofold. First, she argues for a specific understanding of when a president should be impeached, based on historical precedent and foundational American documents. Second, Jordan argues that Nixon’s actions fit the definition of an impeachable offense that she establishes. By making this argument, Jordan situates the debate over impeachment in an American tradition of political thought and positions Nixon’s actions within the accepted definitions of “high crimes
2. What textual features does Jordan use to establish her ethos, appeal to her audience’s emotions, or
make her arguments? (For example, look at her use of quotations from the U.S. Constitution, James
Madison, and other sources on the nature of impeachment.)
Jordan makes reference to a variety of historical documents ranging from the Federalist Papers to the
U.S. Constitution. These documents, which Jordan uses to establish the requirements that must be met
for a president to be impeached, give Jordan’s argument ethos: she positions herself as deferring to
established authorities. Furthermore, because she specifically refers to foundational American documents, Jordan appeals to her audience’s sense of patriotism. Impeaching a president, Jordan argues, is
a solemn American duty that is not taken lightly. Finally, in turning again and again to various authorities on impeachment, Jordan establishes the impeachment as a logical and well-reasoned process,
based on specific evidence and historical precedent.
3. How does the context that Jordan establishes at the beginning of her speech—specifically her references to her African-American heritage and use of the word inquisitor—affect its overall impact?
What changes would the deletion of these contextual features make on the impact of the speech?
Before turning to the issue of impeachment, Jordan establishes her own identity as an African American. Specifically, Jordan notes that it is only through “amendment, interpretation, and court decision”
that she is able to be a citizen. By beginning in this manner, Jordan suggests that she takes the task
before her seriously; she understands the impact legislative and judicial action can have on the individual. By omitting this contextual information Jordan would open her actions, and the actions of the
committee, to accusations of partisanship. Instead, Jordan suggests that the task of impeaching a president is solemn and the role of inquisitor is a serious one.
4. If you have already had your students read Chapters 8 or 15, on definitional arguments and oral
presentations, ask them how Jordan’s use of the techniques of definitional argument or oral presentations can be used to analyze this text.
In discussing Jordan’s speech as an oral presentation, your students will probably focus on several
features of Jordan’s argument: the ways that she establishes her own credibility, uses repetition to solidify her argument, and directly addresses her audience using examples and support that would appeal to them. In discussing Jordan’s speech as a definitional argument, your students are likely to focus on the way that Jordan establishes a definition of what an “impeachable offense” is. Specifically,
Jordan establishes a definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that categorizes Nixon’s actions as
worthy of impeachment.
SAMPLE STUDENT RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: JACKSON, “AN ARGUMENT OF REASON
AND PASSION: BARBARA JORDAN’S ‘STATEMENT ON THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT’”
1. What is Jackson’s argument? What is his purpose in making this argument?
Answer: Jackson argues that Jordan skillfully establishes her credibility and uses reason and emotional appeals to demonstrate why Nixon should be impeached. His purpose in making this argument is to
demonstrate the thoroughness with which Jordan constructs her argument.
2. Ask your students, either individually or in small groups, to label each analytical paragraph in Jackson’s essay as being either textual or contextual. It is likely that your students will find it difficult to
pick just one label for some paragraphs, or that some have identified a paragraph as textual analysis
while others have labeled the same paragraph as contextual analysis. As a group, discuss the reasons
for these different interpretations in relation to Faigley and Selzer’s claim that most analyses are
combinations of the two approaches.
Answer: As they label each paragraph, your students are likely to come to differing conclusions. For
example, Jackson uses contextual information—Jordan’s party affiliation—to explain Jordan’s use of
ethos. Picking out other examples from Jackson’s essay that involve both textual and contextual analysis will help your students see how the two can be used together to come to a greater understanding
of a text.
3. As a group, reread Jackson’s analysis of Jordan’s use of sources (on page 3 of the essay). Ask your
students if they find Jackson’s argument about these “reputable sources” to be sufficient or convincing. Could the same type of argument be made in this context about Internet sources? About the
French constitution? Why or why not? How does the context in which these sources were created, and
the context of Jordan’s use of them as a member of the House of Representatives, affect the authority
of those sources? How does it affect Jordan’s authority?
Answer: In support of her argument Jordan cites the U.S. Constitution, and the debates surrounding it,
and several important figures from American history. As a member of the House of Representatives,
Jordan uses sources that she knows her audience will find authoritative. The debate about impeaching
the president was rooted in American history, so her sources must be related to that history. By citing
authoritative sources, Jordan increases her own authority, which is essential to her argument, especially given the fact that she was “relatively unknown outside of Texas,” as Jackson notes.
4. Ask your students if they find Jackson’s conclusion (on page 4 of his essay) convincing. Why or why
not? How did Jackson’s ethos or his pathetic and logical appeals affect their reactions?
Answer: Answers will vary.
• A challenge in teaching ethos is to give students a sense of the many ways in which ethos is (or is
not) effectively established. Choose the rhetorical situation of writing a term paper or writing an editorial in the college newspaper. Then, ask your students to make a list of all that a writer in one (or
both) of these situations must do to appear credible. What could a writer do to damage his or her credibility? Students may start to recognize that nearly every component of an argument can be construed
as an issue of ethos: from a writer’s willingness to consider possible rebuttals to his or her argument,
to the sources he or she uses, to the grammar and formatting of his or her paragraphs. In addition, students may recognize that determining a writer’s ethos, or “credibility,” does not boil down to a fixed
set of questions to ask. In short, when considering ethos, everything matters, and authors must make
their decisions on a case-by-case basis.
• Choose a one-page advertisement from a newspaper or magazine. Have students write a short paper—
about 200 words—in which they identify one pathetic, one ethical, and one logical appeal. Then, have
students swap their papers. Students then see if what they have identified as a pathetic or ethical or
logical appeal has been so identified by their peer, and what other content in the text their peer has
identified in the advertisement as a pathetic, ethical, or logical appeal. Ask them how the context in
which the advertisement appeared—the audience of the magazine or newspaper, the story or stories
that surrounded it—affected their analysis.
• Choose a short story or non-fictional narrative. Divide your students into pairs, and have each pair
write two short papers, each about 200 words in length. One paper will be a rhetorical textual analysis
of the text. The student who prepares this paper will comment on how persuasive the narrative is,
based on the arrangement and style that the author uses. The other paper will be a rhetorical contextual analysis. The student who writes this paper will comment on how persuasive the narrative is,
based on the biographical facts about the writer and the larger political conversation that informs the
given narrative. Ask 1 or 2 pairs of students to present their findings to the class. Point out that interpretations of texts depend to a large extent on the particular critical tools that they bring to the given