A rhetorical analysis is an essay that breaks a work of nonfiction into parts and then explains how the parts work together to create a certain effect — whether to persuade, entertain, or inform. In a broader sense, a rhetorical analysis has you “writing about writing.”
First, understand two important terms:
a. Rhetoric: the art or science of the use of language. You will apply your own rhetoric to analyze Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. You will be persuasive and detailed
b. Analysis: the separating of any material into its individual elements. You will “break down” Into the Wild, using your rhetoric to prove your points with each separated component.
1. Make a main claim about Into the Wild. Your main claim is a well-constructed opinion that goes deeper than “The book was good” or “Krakauer is a good writer.” If you are stuck, you may select a claim from this list (These are just suggestions that may be tweaked to your satisfaction.):
“Jon Krakauer used multiple rhetorical devices to compose Into the Wild, including comparison/contrast, characterization, and argumentation.”
“Although Jon Krakauer attempted to prove Chris McCandless walked into the wild as a mentally stable young man, he ultimately shows the reader that McCandless suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness.”
“Into the Wild is a tale of selfishness.”
“Into the Wild is a story of an individual living the American dream to the fullest.”
“By sharing Chris McCandless’ story in reverse chronological order, Jon Krakauer provided his reader with a most compelling tale.”
Do you have a main claim that is not listed above? Go for it!
2. Explain the purpose of the novel, as you believe it to be. As you continue to prove your main claim, you should somehow speak of the author’s purpose. Why did Krakauer write Into the Wild? This, too, is your opinion. You may weave this opinion into your analysis wherever you believe it best fits, but with creative and critical thought, tie this opinion to your main claim.
3. Identify the intended audience, as you believe it to be. As you continue to prove your main claim, you should somehow identify the demographic of Krakauer’s reader. For whom did Krakauer write Into the Wild. Young men? American families? Transcendentalists? Nature lovers? Another group of people? This, too, is your opinion. You may weave this opinion into your analysis wherever you believe it best fits, but with creative and critical thought, tie this opinion to your main claim.
4. Identify the author’s ethos, pathos, and logos.
Ethos (credibility): How does Krakauer establish credibility? Is there any information that is questionable Who, specifically and beyond name, is Krakauer? Does Krakauer include any fallacies?
Pathos (emotions): Does Krakauer bring out the reader’s emotions? How does Krakauer bring out your emotions? What emotions are brought out? What emotions does Krakauer write of?
Logos (evidence): How effective are Krakauer’s uses of personal experience, science, testimony, trace/history, relationship, data, physical matter, methods of research, scope, boundaries, ethics, questions and answers, participants, visuals, and/or reportage?
You may weave your discussion of ethos, pathos, and logos into your analysis wherever you believe it best fits, but with creative and critical thought, tie this discussion to your main claim.
5. Announce the most effective part and the least effective part of the novel.
What has Krakauer done with Into the Wild that makes the novel shine? Where has Krakauer come up short? These areas are your opinions, too. You may weave these opinions into your analysis wherever you believe they best fit, but with creative and critical thought, tie these opinions to your main claim.
1. You are required to quote Krakauer at least four times. You may place your quotations wherever you believe they best apply.
2. You are required to use and cite at least two additional sources that are academically worthy and independent from Into the Wild. If you work with the Internet, please confirm the site(s) sport Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, and Support (CARS). You may learn more about CARS by viewing this PowerPoint: CARS Internet Research.
3.You are required to have a Works Cited page.
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