TTTC: Rhetorical Analysis Essay


Choose a significant passage from the novel and write a rhetorical analysis.

FIRST, choose a passage. When choosing a passage, consider the following:

  • Think about the “big ideas” discussed in class―storytelling, memories, coping, life and death, and love, among others. Consider choosing one of the passages discussed in class on one of the big sticky posters (see the gallery of sticky posters from class below).
  • Speaking of sticky notes… review the post-it note reflections you completed in your initial reading of the book.
  • Review your reflections from our Socratic Seminars. Did a particular passage stand out to you?
  • Consider length, choosing a passage that is neither too long nor too short. Be sure that your passage is long enough to write a substantial analysis, but not so long that your analysis becomes overwhelming. If you are unsure about a passage, run it by me in class.
  • Last, but not least… choose a passage that speaks to you. Chances are, you’ll be in a better position to write about the passage because it stood out to you while you were (re)reading.
  • IMPORTANT: You may NOT choose a passage from the title story, “The Things They Carried.” You may also not choose the passage on pages 76-77 that begins with “How do you generalize?” and ends with “the truth is ugly.”

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SECOND, after choosing a passage, photocopy the excerpt. Then annotate the excerpt thoroughly. You’ll bring this to class for review on Monday, 11/23, and then turn this in with your final essay on Wednesday, 12/2.

THIRD, begin drafting/writing/revising your rhetorical analysis. Your final rhetorical analysis essay should be about two pages in length (between 400-600ish words). Some tips:

  • Review your photocopied annotation.
  • Review the steps to writing a rhetorical analysis and rhetorical precis (see Quick Links).
  • Review the sample rhetorical analyses from class.
  • Consult your lists: powerful verbs, tone words (see Quick Links).
  • Think RLW (“How to Read Like a Writer”), especially the reminder below:


Screenshot 2015-11-21 at 7.59.01 PM

MONDAY, 11/23: Bring completed annotations to class for review.
WEDNESDAY, 12/2 THURSDAY, 12/3: Turn in annotations and your essay together (do not staple).