What to Analyze in Summary and Analysis and a Word about Thesis

After today’s class, I became concerned that some students are not quite grasping the rhetorical angle of the analysis. Some students appear to have have trouble discerning what to write about, and when they talk about their articles or essays, they are focusing more on a critical understanding or cultural critique instead of an analytical breakdown of the elements in the article/essay.

Remember, a rhetorical analysis is a breakdown of the whole of the text to analyze its parts. A rhetorical analysis answers the question: How does the author make his or her argument?  Again, you look at the parts of a text in order to understand how they work together to make meaning for the reader.

We are talking about word choice, sentence structure, purpose, audience, angle of vision, tone, and devices such as appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos.

And like I said in class, if you are really stuck, and if you must, you can choose to do a simple rhetorical analysis based on ethos, pathos, and logos, but if you do, you should go fairly deeply into each element, writing with facts and supporting points. It should NOT read like you are filling out a worksheet. For example I do not want to see four paragraphs that look something like this:

The audience of this article is_______________.

The ethos of this article is _________.

The pathos can be seen by ________

And finally, the logos is evident in ________________.

If you are going to talk about ethos, talk about the writers appeal to ethos, and support it with in-depth in-text proof that shows actual methods the writer is using to appeal to ethos and provide a certain effect for the reader. If you are going to talk about audience, don’t just say who the audience is, demonstrate the specific words and phrases the writer uses that clue the reader in to who the audience is. Every statement you make should be backed up by proof in the text.

I am going to lift a paragraph from one of the sample essays we have already read. Read this paragraph again and look for the specific proof the author is using to support his/her points.

Here is the link:  http://www.stlcc.edu/Student_Resources/Academic_Resources/Writing_Resources/Writing_Handouts/Rhetorical-Analysis-Sample-Essay.pdf

And here is a sample paragraph. Note how in-depth the writer goes into the author’s language choice and how it affects author’s appeal to pathos.

“Along with strong logos appeals, Grose effectively makes appeals to pathos in the beginning and middle sections. Her introduction is full of emotionally-charged words and phrases that create a sympathetic image; Grose notes that she “was eight months pregnant” and her husband found it difficult to “fight with a massively pregnant person.” The image she evokes of the challenges and vulnerabilities of being so pregnant, as well as the high emotions a woman feels at that time effectively introduce the argument and its seriousness. Her goal is to make the reader feel sympathy for her. Adding to this idea are words and phrases such as, “insisted,” “argued,” “not fun,” “sucks” “headachey,” “be judged,” “be shunned” (Grose). All of these words evoke negative emotions about cleaning, which makes the reader sympathize with women who feel “judged” and shunned”—very negative feelings. Another feeling Grose reinforces with her word choice is the concept of fairness: “fair share,” “a week and a half more of ‘second shift’ work,” “more housework,” “more gendered and less frequent.” These words help  establish the unfairness that exists when women do all of the cleaning, and they are an appeal to pathos, or the readers’ feelings of frustration and anger with injustice.”

Here are some more sample papers:

file:///C:/Users/Dawn%20Davies%20Tyrrell/Downloads/rhetoricalanalysis%20(2).pdf (we read this one)


There are number of them online. If you feel you need to read more, just google “rhetorical analysis sample” or something similar and you will find several more.

And here is a link I just found that can help you with your own writing language. If you scroll down on the page you will see sample words for things like talking about tone, strong verbs that are an alternative to “show,” as in “the writers shows us that…” It also has words to help you analyze syntax and diction.



I’m pretty sure I said that we are primarily concerned with understanding the thesis of the paper you are writing about. You will be addressing that in the summary part of the paper. With regard to your own thesis, you need one, but with an analysis that is only three pages, you are not likely making any big argument or claim about your paper, as this is not an argument paper. The thesis of a short analysis may be as simple as stating the elements you see at work in your article, and what you will be writing about.  Use the thesis to narrow the focus of what your paper will talk about.

Like with any thesis, it’s often easy to start with a questions.

What elements do I see in this essay that work to persuade the reader of____________?

Or, what rhetorical tools does this writer use to get her point across so effectively?

Then, once you answer that question, turn the answer into a thesis statement.

Here is an example of a thesis process:

What rhetorical elements do I see Anne Lamott using in “Sh!##y First Drafts?”

Hmmm, well, I see her using a conversational tone, surprising language, and humor to primarily connect the reader to the text.

Well, that’s decent. What’s the purpose of it? Let’s think more deeply…..

Maybe she does it because she wants the readers to not take writing, which is often fraught with fear, so seriously. Maybe she wants them to lighten up because they will be better writers when they are not stressed.

So a rough of a thesis might be, Anne Lamott, in “Sh!##y First Drafts,” uses a conversational tone, surprising language and humor to connect her readers to her topic, allowing for the reader to more easily retain the methods of writing first drafts she is trying to teach.

Then the next nice, filled-out paragraph talks about conversational tone, and proves that she uses it with facts she pulls from the text.

The next nice, long paragraph after that talks about surprising language, and proves that she uses it with facts she pulls from the text.

Then the next rich, long-enough paragraph talks humor, and proves that she uses it with facts that she pulls from the text.

Then there can be a simple conclusion that does not exactly regurgitate the thesis. If you take more than one paragraph to talk about an element, it’s fine. You have up to four pages total to write something meaningful.


Unit Three Popular Culture Analysis Week 7 – 10/5 – 10/11

This week we begin the long-awaited Popular Cultural Analysis assignment. Yay!

Monday 10/5 and Tuesday 10/6

  • Pop culture flash write
  • Introduce and discuss Popular Culture Analysis
  • Talk about plagiarism in terms of popular culture


No homework! Finish your papers.Turn in with paper:

  1. rough draft
  2. final draft
  3. peer review
  4. hard copy of article you wrote about
  5. revision checklist in lieu of reflection — typed and double spaced

Wednesday 10/7 and Thursday 10/8

  • Collect Summary and Analysis paper
  • Hand out Pop Culture assignment sheet
  • Wallowing in Complexity


  • Read Curious Incident pp. 177-198
  • Read pp. 51-59 in Bridging the Difference textbook.

Week Six -Summary and Analysis – 9/28 – 10/4

Fears over GCSE exam shake up...File photo dated 10/6/2005 of school exams in progess. Teenagers will no longer be required to sit all their GCSEs after two years of study, under radical plans to break courses into 'bite sized' modules. PA wire

Week 6 Summary and Analysis, continued…


Monday 9/28 and Tuesday 9/29


  • Flash Write Monday Warm-up
  • Review practice summaries, paraphrases, and quotes homework
  • Identify, with peer review, if your chosen article is suitable for S&A paper
  • Write thesis of S & A in class. Share in peer-review.
  • Curious Incident discussion


  • Read this post: https://byrnescomp.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/what-to-analyze-in-summary-and-analysis-and-a-word-about-thesis/
  • Write paper. Turn in typed draft Wednesday/Thursday. Bring 4 copies.

Wednesday 9/30 and Thursday 10/1


  • Peer Review of Drafts with mini-conferences.


  • Read Curious Incident pp. 140-177. There may or may not be a quiz on Mon/Tues 9/5 or 9/6, depending on the kind of mood I am in.
  • Write final draft due on Wednesday 10/7 or Thursday 10/9. THIS IS A DATE CHANGE.

Preview of next week – 10/5….I will give everyone grade update.

How to Choose a Topic for Summary and Analysis Paper


Choosing a Topic for Summary and Analysis Paper

Step 1
Choose something that interests you. You will have plenty of time on your college career to read about things that do not interest you at all, so find a topic you like.
Step 2
Choose something fairly practical and easily visualized, and then brainstorm it. Freewrite it or idea map it.
Step 3
Find an article or essay or paper that deal with the subjects you have brainstormed. Make sure it is not so long that summarizing it will be a chore. At the same time, make sure it is not too short to provide enough information for you to analyze.

A good article will have some sort of thesis or argument the author is making. Even Mike Bunn’s article, “How to Read Like a Writer” presents an argument. You should also be able to discern an angle of vision, what the author is trying to convey to the audience, and how the author does it. If you can’t identify these concepts, the piece might not be right to use. An example of a difficult piece to use would be a sports showcase or profile piece that simply extols a writer, or provides a basic biography.


MLA for Regular People

MLA for Regular People

regular dude

This post is created from notes on our MLA class lecture/game show quiz. MW, you guys got the short end of the stick because I misplaced my list of questions and, being the imperfect person that I am, I couldn’t remember the full list. TTH, you got the full list. Everybody got candy, but to even things out, and provide a written resource you can turn to any time, I am summarizing what we talked about below.

Remember, MLA changes rules from time to time. It is possible that by the time you are writing senior papers in college, that what is on these pages might no longer apply. Use Purdue Owl as a regular resource, like everyone in the English-speaking world does.

The least you should do is this: any time you cite something, give Purdue Owl a quick read to make sure you remember your rules. And don’t just guess on how to do something. If you come across something new to you, I promise you….it already exists and there is a rule for how to cite it. So do your homework on how to cite. Do not turn anything in that is cited wrong. It steams me up, and more important, it will lower your grade. We have the luxury of rough drafts in this class, so we have time to address any MLA citation questions that come up long before the final draft is due.


Here goes:

General Guidelines Summary, thanks to Purdue Owl:

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use 12 point Times New Roman font to be safe. Nobody complains about Times New Roman. If you feel wild and want to use a different font, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor’s guidelines.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.

First Page Formatting (again, thanks to Purdue Owl):

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Double-space it.
  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in “After Apple Picking” We forgot to talk about what to do in class with title of book in title, but it’s logical….if you italicize a title in body of work, italicize it in title. If you would quote it in body of work (article or chapter title), quote it in title.
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. Start this on page 2. Other instructors may want this on page one. Just do what your instructor says and it should go well for you. Here is a correctly formatted first page from Purdue Owl:purdue owl first page format image

Citing sources in Works Cited Page (note: Works Cited for more than one work cited, Work Cited if you are citing one source.

For the best rundown on how to do articles: click PO here.

For books, click here. Purdue Owl leaves no stone unturned, as you can see from this section.

It includes how to cite web, print, single authors, multiple authors, editors only, multiple editors instead of authors, and importantly, what to do with online sources that were originally in print. This is common nowadays, and it needs to be cited a certain way. Note that authors are no longer required to include the url in electronic sources unless an instructor or publisher insists on them.


Click here. Someone at Purdue Owl has a mainline to someone at MLA. These detail-oriented people get together and make mad order out of an increasingly complex webby world.

Electronic-Specific Citations

You want to know how to cite a tweet? Click here. The Owl will tell you everything you want to know about citing electronic sources.

In-Text Citations

Here you go. Everything we talked about and more, according to Purdue Owl’s vast storage of MLA information.

Don’t be afraid of MLA. Don’t ignore it, either. If you have questions, look it up. Did you note that I gave Purdue Owl credit for every time I referenced their information?

Signal Phrases, Attributive Tags, and Transition Words


Here is a handy-dandy list of “signal phrases,” also called “attributive tags” –the phrases writers use to provide a seamless from his or her thoughts to the writer’s thoughts when paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting:

Acknowledges       Comments       Endorses       Reasons       Adds       Compares       Grants       Refutes       Admits       Confirms      Implies      Rejects      Agrees      Contends      Insists      Reports      Argues      Declares     Illustrates     Responds     Asserts     Denies     Notes    Suggests     Believes     Disputes     Observes     Thinks     Claims     Emphasizes Points out      Writes

Use them! Also, here are a few examples of how signal words work in a sentence:

  •  In the words of noted psychologist Carl Jung, “…”
  • As cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead noted, “…”
  • Kanye West, Grammy award-winning songwriter and rapper, says, “…”
  • “…,” claims reality-TV star Hulk Hogan.
  • Authors Amy Tan and Tobias Wolfe offer two unique perspectives on growing up: “…”

Here is an example of a “dropped quote,” which is a quote without a signal phrase indicating the author.

Did you know that some bread batters should be hand mixed? “This light mixing technique produces quick breads with a lovely open crumb” (Greenspan 2).

As you can see, this thing is dangling out in space, all cold and lonely. Give it an attribute:

Did you know that some bread batters should be hand mixed? According to Dorrie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours, “This light mixing technique produces quick breads with a lovely open crumb” (2).

Note that when you mention the author’s name and text you are quoting from as a signal phrase in the same sentence as the quote, you don’t need to put the author name in the parenthetical citation. Just write the page number.

Here are lots of verbs that you can use in attributive tags, so choose one that works appropriately for your writing:

  • Neutral tags: says, writes, claims, comments, notes, discusses
  • Tags to suggest that an idea may not be fully accepted: contends, suggests, asserts, believes, proposes, speculates
  • Tags that allow you to emphasize a source’s key ideas: points out, emphasizes
  • Tags for adding information to an idea you’re establishing: adds, agrees, confirms
  • Tags to introduce counter-arguments or alternate views: argues, disagrees, warns, contends
  • Tags related to future actions/solutions: proposes, predicts, speculates

And finally, the icing on the cake of this language foray, here is a good list of transition words and their categories. I urge you to refer to this list every time you have to write a paper.


Week 5 – Continuation of Summary and Analysis Unit 9/21 – 9/27

tracy flick keener

Monday 9/21 and Tuesday 9/22

Week 5 Summary and Analysis continued


  • In-class mini-writing with fun-filled prompt
  • The gifting of the Summary and Analysis assignment sheet
  • Read sample article and sample summary and analysis paper – discuss
  • Lecture – Paraphrasing vs. summarizing vs. quoting
  • Casual peer review of practice summary and practice analysis


  • Read pp. 83-115 “The Incident” novel
  • Do all five of these paraphrasing exercises (turn in Wednesday 9/23). Typing not necessary, though it is appreciated.

Wednesday 9/23 and Thursday 9/24


  • Return memoir papers – -discussion and showcase
    • common grammar/syntax/format issues (apostrophe lesson, no space between paragraphs)
    • read a good reflection
    • read paper excerpts
  • Discuss paraphrasing homework exercise in class – read aloud and discuss samples together.
  • MLA/ grammar quiz with candy!