Essay Assignment #2

Research Paper: Assignment #2
Advanced Academic Details
This essay will give you an opportunity to fine-tune your details. Remember that this is one of the first
expectations of advanced academic writing: The basic details of language, format, and essay form must be
correct. Let us look at a summary of the assignment.
Purpose: Rhetorical Analysis
This simple essay using only one source will give you an opportunity
to concentrate on the basic details of English, MLA, and essay format.
Topic: Interpretation of song lyrics
Once you’ve studied the rhetorical appeals of your song, you need to determine
HOW a musician employs rhetorical devices/literary devices to persuade his/her
audience. Remember, you are analyzing not what the singer/songwriter is saying,
but how he or she is saying what he or she is saying. You may not write a summary
paper about the song. Your assertion will be the thesis of your essay (remember:
topic + assertion/opinion). You will need the integration of quotes, which should
reinforce your thesis. You may want to write about the main theme, and then discuss
how said theme is established; you may choose something smaller that you notice
and wish to write about.
Length: One Page to a page and a half.
This paper must be no more than one and one half pages long, with an additional
page for the Works Cited. Failure to provide a Works Cited page will result in the
forfeiture of 15 points <-15>.
Due Date: This assignment is due January 19, 2016
Late papers will lose one letter grade per day. I will not accept papers after five
Format: MLA
This essay will strictly follow the MLA format with in-text citations. A paper done
in any other format will be returned to the student to be redone. The paper should be
typed on one side of the page only, in ragged-right, double-spaced Times New
Roman, twelve point font. There must be no more than one long quotation and three
short quotations in the paper.
Source: Single-source: A song…;-)
We have spoken of rhetoric as the study of how authors/speakers persuade their audience—
the art of persuasion—for a specific purpose. Your task in this assignment is to read the song
of your choice—from among the songs I’ve chosen for you—closely examining the rhetorical
tactics used to achieve that purpose. Once you’ve chosen a song, you may need to do some
research in order to be able to provide a close, rhetorical reading of the particular text as a
communication. Possible questions to consider: What is the writer’s/singer’s purpose? To
explain? To inform? To anger? Amuse? Motivate? Ridicule? Is there more than one
purpose? Does the purpose shift? What kinds of values or customs about the audience does
the song reveal? How do the allusions, or diction (word choice) place your song in a certain
*** Use your “Rhetoric” handout w/info. On Ethos, Pathos, Logos***
Honor: Your Plagiarism Pledge
Before you turn your paper in, you should write on your last page, “I know that
plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else’s words or ideas, and I pledge
that this paper is not plagiarized” and sign it. A plagiarized paper will receive a zero.
A Note on Conclusions:
All papers need conclusions, yet it can be difficult to know how to write a conclusion. Often, conclusions
are viewed as a place to restate the introduction. That approach is rather limited though, since it allows for
no real development or synthesis of ideas in your paper. Try to look at a conclusion as the last word you’ll
have on a subject, and as your final opportunity to impress. In ending your paper, think about what you can
say to make the reader feel that the subject and your discussion of said subject matter. Remind your reader
about the importance of the issue perhaps, or about the persuasive power of rhetorical devices. Talk about
how the parts of a piece of writing/music assemble to form the whole, and the whole can change the mind
of the reader/listener. However you approach it, remember that your conclusion is perhaps this single most
important aspect to your paper, the commentary that will, with skill, linger in the minds of your readers.
If you want a 7 or higher, get your English right.
Either we are serious about advanced academic writing, or we are not. If you want a 7 or a passing
grade, then the paper must—at the very least—be at grade-level English. It must be free or almost free of
elementary errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage, and formal style. These papers are not
in-class assignments scribbled in an hour; you have time to proofread them, double-checking every detail.
A paper filled with bad elementary English should and will receive an F, regardless of its other merits.
You are responsible for correct elementary English, and this is non-negotiable.
If you want a 8 or higher, also get your MLA format right.
In order to receive an 8, the paper must not only be in good English, it must also be in correct
MLA format. It must have a one-inch, ragged-right margin, be in double-spaced Times New Roman type
font, have a mix of long and short quotations done in MLA style, and have a correct Works Cited page.
Papers that are not in MLA format are not acceptable and will be returned to be redone. Part of advanced
academic writing is following the assigned format.
If you want a 9 or higher, also get your essay structure right.
If your paper is written in good English and is in correct MLA format, then we can look at the
third element, the essay structure. In the advanced academic writing of our assignments, you must write a
true essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion built around a thesis statement that connects the
paper together. Furthermore, the paragraphs must be unified with language that connects each paragraph
to the next or previous paragraph.
If you want a 10, also have a good thesis.
If you want a 100, your paper must have four elements: good English, correct MLA format, clear
essay form, and finally a worthwhile idea. It must have an interesting, meaningful thesis that is
thoughtful and insightful and that makes the paper worth reading. This does not mean that the thesis
must be a major concept or grand theory—our little one-page papers are too short for that sort of
masterpiece—but it means that you must find an interesting and worthwhile insight to talk about in the
little space of a single page. You may have to do a considerable amount of thinking (!) before you write.