Critique is the application of rhetorical analysis to a text

Critique is the application of rhetorical analysis to a text. Basically, it involves breaking the text’s context and language down into various parts, seeing what those parts are made of, how they interact, and whether they effectively work together.

Choose an article from the “Academic/Peer Reviewed” journals on Academic Search Complete. Then:

1) Summarize the text briefly, remembering to be objective and complete explaining as much as you can determine about the essay’s context—when was this published? what is the background of the author? The publication? Any stated purpose for the essay? This time, try to make your summary 100 words or less. The idea here is to drastically compress the summary to about the length an academic paper would require. This time, your summary will be incorporated into a standard, thesis-driven MLA essay.

2) Then, critique the rhetorical elements of the essay (audience, language, vocabulary, tone, allusions, logic, the sources quoted and used by the author, the quality/type of the author’s arguments, the way the author defines terms, any assumptions the author makes, etc).

The point is not to enumerate each of the above items and “rate” their successfulness, but rather to explain in a unified way how they work together to achieve a certain effect. It may be the case that they don’t work together very well, but that, again, is a unified statement about the text as a whole.


–What is the writer trying to accomplish in the essay?

–Who is the author writing to, or assuming will read the essay?

–What techniques does the writer use to try to accomplish their goal?

–How do things like organization and tone help/hinder the goal?

–Is the writer effective? Why or why not?


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