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Man at the Crossroads” Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetoric – the way we use language and images to persuade an audience – and understanding
rhetorical messages is essential to help us become informed readers, but it also helps evaluate the
ethics of messages, how they affect us personally, and how they affect society. Your task is to
write a 1000-word essay on one of the articles or artworks listed below. Your essay should analyze
the work, its overall goal, and how it works and uses all kinds of rhetorical devices to build an
argument. It may be helpful to think about putting this essay together in four parts: (1) identify the
argument(s) that the piece is making; (2) identify the rhetorical moves the author(s) or artist(s) use
to construct that argument; (3) explain how those moves and techniques constitute an argument;
and (4), arrange your analysis to build a compelling case for the piece’s overall thesis.
Choose ONE artwork OR creative essay from the following list:
Essays:
Alexander, Elizabeth. “The Trayvon Generation: For Solo, Simon, Robel, Maurice, Cameron, and
Sekou.” The New Yorker, 15 June 2020, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/22/thetrayvon-generation
Smith, Danez. “Crying, Laughing, Crying at the George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis.” The New
Yorker, 5 June 2020, www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/crying-laughingcrying-at-the-george-floyd-protests-in-minneapolis
Artworks (pictures & links on page 3):
Diego Rivera: Man at the Crossroads, 1934
Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller for the Rockefeller Center in NYC. Destroyed in 1934.
Wangechi Mutu: All Rosey (2003)
You will need to read/view the piece you have chosen several times. What patterns do you see?
What persuasive strategies do the author(s) or artist(s) use? How does the piece make an argument?
What kinds of knowledge, attitudes, and literacies does it assume of its audience? Use the chapters
on argument and analysis in your textbook (Views, “What’s Motivating This Writer,” “Analyze
This”) to help you identify and analyze the work. Also make sure to view the video recordings in
Week 2 folder on rhetoric and rhetorical analysis.
2
Specific guidelines to follow when completing this assignment are:
• The essay should 1000+ words long & a separate works-cited page (MLA format)
• If you use outside information, cite sources in an MLA style format.
• NO BLOCK QUOTES
• Double-spaced, standard one-inch margins, Times New Roman font, utilizing 12-point
font size
Tips for success:
• Remember: a simple summary of the essay or artwork is not an analysis.
• Google the author(s) or artist(s) and any terms, people, or places that are unfamiliar to you.
• You are allowed to do outside research, but make sure to cite any information used to
further your analysis and argument.
• Read student sample essays in Views (page numbers found on the syllabus)
• Review video recordings on rhetoric, rhetorical analysis, and argumentation
• Ask me if you have any questions.
How to write about art:
http://sites.uci.edu/humcorebeauchamp/files/2015/03/visual-rhetoric-and-literacy-paintings.pdf
http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/rwc/repository/files/WAC/Writing%20About%20Art-
%20Asking%20Questions%20.pdf
3
Diego Rivera: Man at the Crossroad
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_at_the_Crossroads#/media/File:Libro_Los_Viejos_Abuelos_
Foto_68.png
Wangechi Mutu: All Rosey
http://www.artnet.com/artists/wangechi-mutu/all-rosey-4oLVipVVM5sBE6byUGMuGQ2

  

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