rhetorical summary

u Exercise #1: Rhetorical Summary

After reading the essay by Orenstein, “I Tweet, Therefore I Am” you will write a rhetorical summary for this essay. A rhetorical summary is not a recap of the essay. Rather, your rhetorical summary should include the author, title of the work, present the major claims of the essay, and consider the author’s intended audience and purpose. This assignment should demonstrate that you are exploring the larger implications of the ideas. For example, what does the text say that others may not be aware of? The rhetorical summary should be 150-175 words (minimum) for each essay.   The summary also is to be in MLA format.  See RFW, pg. 410 and look at the summary example posted on Moodle.


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In writing a rhetorical summary, ask yourself the following questions:


  • What is the author’s intended purpose in writing this essay?
  • Who is the author’s audience? Why is he/she considering this particular audience?
  • Who is the author of this essay? Do his/her beliefs show in this essay?
  • What is the background of this essay? What was going on (socially, politically, etc.) at the time while this essay was being written?
  • What kinds of rhetorical appeal or appeals is this text making? Remember: ethos, pathos, and logos.
  • What kind of language does the author use? Is the style formal, informal, or academic? Does the author use sarcasm? Humor?


Also, remember a summary should have the following elements as well (see RFW):

n  A summary restates the main idea of a text in concise terms.

n  Much shorter than the original

n  Use your own words and phrasing

n  You can use an author’s distinctive words or phrases, but do so with proper citations

n  Be objective in presenting the author’s main points.  Do NOT include your opinion of those ideas.

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