Essay Experiment: Letter of Civic Engagement
Word Count: 1100-1500 words
THIS ESSAY IS WRITTEN IN THREE PARTS
(Include all three parts in the document that you upload to turnitin.com)
PART ONE (300-400 words) In this part of the assignment you will have to negotiate the rhetorical situation of civic engagement by writing a letter to a senator, the white house, a local representative, a candidate running for office, or a university administrator – someone in public office with the power to do something. The topic of your letter will be EDUCATION since this is obviously an issue that affects you personally. (You may write about something else, but please discuss this with me first). In this letter you should demonstrate an understanding of what might be persuasive in political discourse. You should also recognize the formal requirements of such writing – what sort of tone is appropriate? 2-3 weeks after I have graded your essay, you will need to confirm that you have sent this letter to your recipient OTHERWISE YOU WILL RECEIVE A GRADE OF ZERO ON THIS ASSIGNMENT. Have a look at the letter confirmation assignment if you want more information about this.
PART TWO (500 words) In addition to this you must write a rhetorical analysis of your own letter. In this section, you will discuss THREE specific rhetorical choices you made based on your target audience. To do this effectively, you will have to research your particular recipient and explain to me how your letter was written specifically for them and why specific moves in your letter will persuade them. For example, “In X section of my letter, I tried to ______ because I thought it would have [some effect] on my target audience. I thought it would have this effect because ______.” Essentially, you will have to explain to me why this letter will be persuasive. I would also like to see you use some of the psycholinguistics we will talk about in class. For example, you might write something like: “I changed Word/Syntax X to Y, because I thought X would have _____ effect and Y would have ______ effect.” Throughout this analysis, make sure you quote and/or reference Aristotle, Backpacks vs. Briefcases (already saved as PDF file ), and the other texts we’ve read during this unit.
PART THREE (300-500 words) If we think of this assignment as an experiment, reflect on the experience of writing this kind of essay as opposed to other kinds of persuasive papers you’ve written in the past. What was different for you? How did the experiment turn out? What did you learn about writing? How has your writing changed? How can you incorporate what you learned here into future writing assignments?
All three parts of this assignment should demonstrate rigorous effort and creativity on your part as you figure out how you will appeal to your audience.
I have two basic rules:
1. You must actually care about the topic. If you don’t care, this will be obvious in your rhetoric.
2. The issue must actually affect YOU personally. You can’t write on behalf of other students.
1100-1400 words, double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.