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In this essay, you’re doing a rhetorical analysis of the article “A Virtuous Cycle: How Truth Can Win In Our Public Discourse” by the writers Gleb Tsipursky and Agnes Vishnevkin. A rhetorical analysis essay asks you to break down a piece of writing, explain how the parts work and why the authors made the choices they did, and evaluate the effectiveness of the argument.
Introduction paragraph
The first paragraph of your essay where you introduce your reader to your topic and your thesis. It has two parts. The first is the hook, which is several sentences long and introduces your topic, gets your reader interested, and gives necessary background information. The second part is the thesis, which is a sentence that usually comes at the end and tells your reader your claim or what your main idea is.

What will you do for your hook? For this type of essay, summarizing the article is a good way to get your reader interested and provide necessary background information. You may also try asking questions or defining key terms (“virtuous” could be a good one since it’s in the title).

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What will your thesis be? For this essay, you’re making a claim about whether or not the article effectively argues its point. In other words, is it likely to convince the intended audience to take the “Pro-Truth Pledge”? Here is a “fill in the blank” thesis starter:

“A Virtuous Cycle: How Truth Can Win In Our Public Discourse” by Tsipursky and Vishnevkin is/is not/is partially effective because ____________.

Body paragraphs
The middle paragraphs of your essay are the body paragraphs. In these, you will do your in-depth analysis of the article and, in the end, you’ll give your reasons for why you think the piece is or is not effective.

What will you talk about in each body paragraph?

I suggest you focus on answering each of the questions from the assignment sheet in its own paragraph for this essay. As you write each paragraph, you should refer to the Tsipursky and Vishnevkin article and the readings I’ve assigned you from our textbook.

Body 1: Who are the authors of this piece? What expertise do they have? Who is the audience for this piece? How do you know?
Body 2: What is the setting for this piece? In other words, what was going on in the world at the time the piece was written that the writers are responding to? What might have inspired them to write this piece? How do you know?
Body 3: What is the purpose of this piece? What is the article’s main claim/thesis? How do you know?
Body 4: What evidence or reasons do the authors give to support their claim? In other words, how do they try to convince their audience to accept their claim?
Body 5: What is the tone of this piece? How do you know?
Body 6: What appeals (ethos, logos, pathos) do the authors use? How do you know?
Body 7: Is the piece effective? In other words, is it likely to convince the intended audience to take the “Pro-Truth Pledge”? How do you know?

Conclusion paragraph
The last paragraph in your essay is the conclusion. In this paragraph, you restate your thesis and wrap up your ideas. You want the reader to leave your essay feeling like they learned something and like the time they spent reading your work was worthwhile.

What will you say in your conclusion after you restate the thesis? For this essay, I suggest you tell your reader why it’s useful to do rhetorical analysis. How can breaking down a piece, looking at all its parts, and then evaluating a piece help give you a better understanding of an article?



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