Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Gender & American Identity (Essay Sample)
You've probably noticed that the world around you is full of rhetorical situations, textual objects and communicative acts. In this 4-6-page essay you will choose and analyze a text that makes an argument about gender. Look for a text that has interesting rhetorical features and eloquently makes a claim about how Americans construct gender identity. In other words, pick an excellent example of rhetoric that uses all three of the major appeals and is free of logical fallacies. You can pick from argumentative genres such as, but not limited to, editorials, polemic speeches, political cartoons, videos (5 minutes or less) published or broadcast since 2013. You could also choose a monument or other publicly displayed object that has been installed for longer than five years if it is currently viewable to the public (take a photo to include with your essay). Pick your text and present it to your essay high school instructor for approval. Answer the essay question below.
While hiking through the Texas Hill Country, you encounter an extraterrestrial being named Pat who visited earth back in the days of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Pat had a wonderful time learning about rhetoric and decided to come back to learn something about America today. Pat's species doesn't have specialized sex characteristics and is curious about the concept of gender identity. Clearly, you can't tell Pat everything about such a broad topic in a single essay. You can, however, take advantage of your common vocabulary in rhetoric to explain how one text makes an argument about gender. You are acting as a cultural ambassador; therefore, write in a clear, formal style with a neutral ethos. Remember: you're an intergalactic diplomat, not an activist. Analyze, don't advocate!
With that in mind, thoroughly introduce the specific rhetorical situation of your text. Gathering this important cultural context could mean doing some research, so be sure to document your sources. Then, include the audience for the text and its overarching claim. Explain how the text uses rhetorical appeals to support its claims. Relate your text back to ideas discussed in the curriculum using these questions to brainstorm ideas: What arguments does your text make about gendered power dynamics? Does your text approach gender through tropes or commonplaces about the roles people should play like mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, princess, hero? Does the text maintain or disrupt commonly held ideas? Are there small flaws in the text that reveal something about the larger conversation around gender?
Hint: if you chose an image or video, give specific examples of how colors, lines, sounds, and other features make rhetorical appeals.
• Your essay MUST be on topic!
• Include a clear thesis statement
• Invent an arrangement/organizational strategy that best showcases your findings and analysis
• Length: 4-6 pages, double-spaced, size 12 font (not including the Works Cited)
• MLA formatting
• Parenthetical Citations and Works Cited—the MLA guide in Purdue has strategies for citing unusual sources. Hint, hint!
• In the Works Cited, include a link to the text (or an image if you took a photo) for the grader so they can quickly find what you picked.
• Plagiarism results in a zero (0)
*******Number of sources depend on the writer,thanks.
Gender Identity in “What Do Women Want?”: A Rhetorical Analysis
The United States of America is an old country with a rich history. It has a long list of great people who help shape its history. Sadly, gender identity is quite a great debate in the modern world and the roles of men and women are still dictated by society.Gender is usually first recognized on the sexual characteristics that a baby has upon birth (“Understanding Gender”). A child born with a penis is considered as a boy while a child born with a vagina is considered as a girl (“Understanding Gender”). Yet, it does not end on the assignment of sex alone for aside from the body, gender consists of two more dimensions which are identity and expressions (“Understanding Gender”). Identity will be the focus of our discussion. It is one person's deep sense of self that could either be male, female, a blend of both or neither despite what the body tells you to be (“Understanding Gender”).In the Gender power dynamics that society has imposed,women or females are perceived weaker than men or males which is often a great debate. In a poem “What Do Women Want?”written by Kim Addonizio, we will analyze how society sees women in contrast to men. The lines of the poem are written below.
1 I want a red dress.
2 I want it flimsy and cheap.
3 I want it too tight, I want to wear it
4 until someone tears it off me.
5 I want it sleeveless and backless,
6 this dress, so no one has to guess
7 what's underneath. I want to walk down
8 the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
9 with all those keys glittering in the window,
10 past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
11 donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
12 slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
13 hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
14 I want to walk like I'm the only
15 woman on earth and I can have my pick.
16 I want that red dress bad.
17 I want it to confirm
18 your worst fears in me,
19 to show you how little I care about you
20 or anything except what
21 I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
22 from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
23 to carry me into this world, through
24 the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
25 and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
26 it'll be the goddamned
27 dress they bury me in.
Red is power (Przybyla). This color also symbolizes dominance and attention (Przybyla). This means that the first line of the poem does not only say that the woman only wants a dress that is colored red. It means that the color of the dress can be interpreted as the woman wanting power, attention, and dominance. This want can only surface if she lacks those things in the first place. This poem was written at the turn of the century in the year 2000 where women, despite their accomplishments were still seen as the weaker gender. This is further confirmed in the next succeeding lines.From line 2 up to line 7, the dress was discussed. Wanting it cheap and flimsy from line 2 could be interpreted as women are not as valuable as men. The author could have preferred the dress as expensive to gain a much better attention, but she has written it as cheap and having a low-quality material to impart that women are often undervalued. Men are often CEOs or get the job with ease. Women who work more, often twice as hard as those men would still need to overcome a lot more difficulties before they can become one.Line 3 up to line 7 ...
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