Introduction to the Writing Assignment

Using your skills in reading, research, and analytical skills, compose a 3- to 4-page rhetorical analysis essay of a historical speech. Remember to use the steps and handout on the previous page to analyze the speech before you begin writing the essay. Then use the instructions on the following page to construct and revise your essay.

Your essay should demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of how the speech responds to and is shaped by a specific rhetorical situation in a particular cultural and historical context. In order to do this, you must:

- read the speech closely and responsibly, carefully annotating words, phrases, and references with which you are unfamiliar or about which you are a bit uncertain

- examine language patterns and major and minor claims

- conduct research on the rhetor, audience, occasion, setting, exigence, historical and cultural contexts, etc.

In writing this paper, you must make full use of the recursive process of inventing, composing, revising, editing, and proofreading your paper. You have four deliverables for this assignment:

  1. Create a short (one to two paragraphs only) proposal about the purpose of your essay; submit to teacher for feedback.
  2. Develop a first draft of your essay; submit to teacher for feedback.
  3. Revise draft and proofread; submit final essay to teacher for feedback.
  4. Upon final reflection, write a memo to your teacher about your progress as an analytical reader and writer.

Select a Speech

If your teacher did not assign a specific speech for this assignment, consider selecting from the following:

Presidential Speeches

Commencement Addresses

Advocacy and Human Rights Speeches