30 April 2012

Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet


Note that this is assuming a singular speaker; if you’re looking at a conversation, you can focus on one speaker, or you can work through both (or all), depending on the purposes for which you’re hoping to use your analysis. If you're analyzing something other than a conversation or monologue within a novel, you can still use these questions, you'll just have to modify some of them slightly.

The People:
Who is speaking?
To whom?
What are their respective social positions?
Who has what kind of power?
How do those powers influence what is being said or not said?
Who is there, but not speaking?
What are the power dynamics between those people, the speaker, and the listener?
How do they influence what is being said and not said?

The Setting:
Where is the speech happening?
What else is happening there?
What has happened there (what kinds of histories are involved in that place)?
How do the people relate to that place?
How does that place influence what is being said or not said?
What other places come up in what is being said?
What has happened in those places?
How do the people – the speaker, the listener, the observers, the reader – relate to those places?
What other places, that might seem relevant, are left out?
How do the people – the speaker, the listener, the observers, the reader – relate to those places?

The Words:
What is the speaker saying?
What is the speaker not saying?
What histories is the speaker drawing on?
What histories is the speaker leaving out?
How does the speaker position him- or herself relative to the things he or she is talking about?
How does the speaker position him- or herself relative to his or her audience?
How is the speaker phrasing what he or she is saying?
What kinds of patterns is the speaker using?

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