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Think Your Email’s Private, Think Again: The Rhetoric of Andy Yen



Go to Choose one TED Talk that is either 12 or 18 minutes long. Note that there is a huge range of topics to choose from: technology, entertainment, design, business, science, global issues, medical, psychology, art, leadership, and much, much more.


Complete a CTA (close textual analysis) of the talk, in which you

1)   explicate portions of the text thoroughly (close textual reading),

2)   cite textual evidence to support your claims, making clear connections between your argument and the text you are referring to (analysis).

Many things go on simultaneously in a text. Tone, diction, syntax, argumentation, and theme all develop at once, and the reader is constantly being supplied with clues for reading these developments. Such textual events happen to the reader; they are the elements of the text that help develop meaning for the reader. (See questions below.)

  1. Choose a short passage of the TEDTalk: about 50-100 words. Copy/paste the passage or retype it.
  1.  Then, following the model, split the text into at least 10-20 sections, number the items (words, phrases, whole sentences, groups of sentences, etc.) to which you want to refer.
  1. Write a response in which you analyze the different sections of the textual event you identified. Work through the text in order, referring to your numbers. Be specific; do NOT merely write “develops tone,” but EXPLAIN WHY (ANALYZE) you made the particular notation and that event’s effect on the reader. Avoid paraphrasing (summarizing) the text. I will not give you credit for the assignment if you do not analyze the text. You should use the questions on the following page to help you along.

Part 3:

Write a 3-5 page well-structured essay that provides a rhetorical analysis of the TEDTalk of your choice. This will give you a chance to practice using all of the terminology from the first half of the semester and to display your ability to read actively.

  • Provide a summary of the talk.
  • Analyze 1-2 aspects of the writer’s rhetorical choices:

o   APPEALS: Analyze the writer’s appeal to his/her audience. How does the writer display an appeal to ethos, pathos and logos? Are these appeals utilized in a balanced manner? Are the appeals effective? Provide specific reference to the talk.

o   STRUCTURE: Analyze the writer’s structure. Does the writer utilize the classical structure? (Introduction/Exordium, Narration, Confirmation, Refutation, Conclusion/Peroration). If not, where does the writer deviate? How does this affect the writer’s argument? Provide specific reference to the talk.

o   TONE: What is the writer’s tone? How does this affect the writer’s argument? (See below for questions to help guide your analysis.)

  • STYLISTIC CHOICES: Analyze the writer’s style. Does the writer rely on figures of speech? Provide specific examples. How does the writer’s style affect his/her argument? (See below for questions to help guide your analysis.)
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