Ideas for Rhetorical Analysis Paper

As I go through potential topics for the rhetorical analysis paper, I’m still a bit unsure as to what I would like to write about. When the assignment was first brought up in class, I immediately thought about the 2006 ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan that flooded television channels everywhere and brought most of its audience to tears. If you haven’t seen it, take a look: (keep some tissues with you, just in case).

Even after watching the advertisement multiple times, I never fail to be overly sentimental afterwards, and I think it’s because the video uses rhetorical strategies very well. The video has powerful appeals emotion, especially through the photos of the animals being the helpless subject of animal cruelty (pathos). Sarah McLachlan is a strong and long-time supporter of the ASPCA, which establishes her credibility (ethos). And lastly, the video utilizes very strong statistics on animal cruelty to establish its cause (logos). The rhetorical strategies used in this commercial are fairly clear and forthright, so I feel that this video would be a good topic for the paper.

Another topic that I am interested is a 2012 TEDTalk that discusses, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” If you haven’t seen it, here it is (I highly recommend it): The talk is given by Sir Ken Robinson, a well-respected author, speaker, and advisor on education. The presentation is really quite powerful, and makes us truly reconsider the infrastructure of our education system. The presentation does use many rhetorical strategies (through the use of personal stories and statistics), but they are certainly not as apparent as the strategies used in the ASPCA video. I am leaning a bit more towards writing about the TEDTalk because I feel like it will lead to a more interesting discussion that we can all relate to, but I am still continuing to go through different ideas.

Please let me know what you think!

3 responses to “Ideas for Rhetorical Analysis Paper

  1. Katie Czekalski

    I think all of us have seen that commercial at some point in our lives. So I think it’s good that you want to take something so widely viewed/criticized and analyze it. I think you could definitely make a strong case for many rhetorical strategies in that paper, so you wouldn’t run out of anything to talk about.

  2. I believe that either ideas would be great! In my opinion, I would choose the one that would best create interesting discussion in class. To me, I think the “TedTalk” would be very interesting because all of us could relate to the ideology and concepts of school. However, do the one that you believe you can could write the most effective analysis for!

  3. Mikaela Hermstedt

    Both ideas sound like they could make a great topic for your essay! The ASPCA commercial has always affected me personally. I get too emotional when I see it so every time it comes on, I either leave the room or change the channel. The TEDTalk is a very good one as well. I hadn’t seen that one before, and it was very enjoyable and funny. Both of them seem like they are full of rhetoric and you would have plenty to write about no matter which one you choose. Personally, I agree that the TedTalk would create more of a discussion that we could all have…but whose heart doesn’t go out to one of those poor puppies?!

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