Joe Biden and Donald Trump acceptance speeches

by | Apr 3, 2021 | College (1-2), English, Literary Analysis

Comparative Rhetorical Analysis (1000 words)

For this essay, you will write a rhetorical analysis in which you compare and contrast how effectively Joe Biden and Donald Trump used pathos, ethos, and logos in their acceptance speeches at the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention respectively.

Who used each of the rhetorical appeals better? Perhaps one speaker used stronger appeals to emotion while the other used stronger appeals to logos. Perhaps both of them used appeals to ethos equally well. This is up to your judgement, evaluation, and analysis to decide. When you organize your essay, focus on just one rhetorical appeal per paragraph or per section of your essay (you may have two paragraphs analyzing a certain rhetorical appeal, for instance). In other words, don’t mix examples of pathos and ethos together; analyze how the two speakers compared or contrasted on their use of pathos and then move on to a paragraph that compares or contrasts them on ethos, and so on.

Importantly, you will not include your own personal opinions about any of the issues raised in either speech (whether you personally think the speaker is right or wrong). You will only look at how effectively the author constructed and crafted the argument by using the rhetorical appeals. Your paper must be at least 1000 words, and it must include a Works Cited page and proper in-text citations for the sources you are evaluating.

Here are the articles you will need to analyze for this essay:

Transcript: Joe Biden’s 2020 DNC Acceptance Speech
Transcript: Donald Trump’s 2020 RNC Acceptance Speech
Make sure you do the following:

Write a thesis that compares and/or contrasts how effectively Joe Biden and Donald Trump used the rhetorical appeals to persuade their audience in each of their acceptance speeches.
Write clear and direct topic sentences that sum up how Biden and Trump compared or contrasted in their use of either pathos, ethos, or logos.
Include specific examples from each speech that clearly demonstrate each rhetorical appeal. Be sure to explain how each example ultimately strengthens or weakens the author’s argument and affects the persuasiveness of the speech. Tie everything back to your thesis!
Document the two speeches in a Works Cited page.
Leave yourself time to edit for wording, grammar errors, and basic MLA formatting before you submit your assignment.

Introduction (5 points):

The introduction includes an accurate, unbiased summary of the speakers’ arguments (about 4-6 sentences) and transitions smoothly into the thesis.

Thesis (10 points):

The paper clearly states a strong main point (thesis) in a complete sentence at the end of the intro. The rhetorical analysis thesis should compare/contrast the two speakers on how effectively or ineffectively they used the rhetorical appeals to persuade their audiences.

Topic Sentences (15 points):

Each body paragraph has a clear topic sentence that sums up the main point of the whole paragraph. For the rhetorical analysis essay, this sentence should sum up how effectively or ineffectively the two speakers used either ethos, pathos, or logos.

Support (30 points):

The main idea of each paragraph is developed with specific and detailed supporting examples. The analysis of each rhetorical appeal is thorough and does not rely on quotations (especially long quotations) to do the talking for the writer. Furthermore, there is enough support to make the main point evident to the reader, and all the support is directly related to the topic sentence and thesis. The student also does not write about more than one rhetorical appeal per paragraph; each paragraph only focuses on analyzing one appeal. Quotes and summaries are formatted and cited correctly, are relevant, and are well-placed.

Organization (10 points):

The writing is logically organized, and the student uses plenty of transitions throughout each paragraph (from introduction through conclusion). The Works Cited page and any in-text citations (if applicable) are correctly formatted according to MLA Style.

Conclusion (5 points):

The conclusion moves beyond simply repeating the same information in the essay. It effectively wraps up the essay and reflects on the importance of what the student just wrote.

Grammar/Sentence Structure (25 points):

The writing is free from the most serious grammar errors (comma splices, run-ons, fragments). The sentence structure is clear and is free of unnecessary extra words and phrases that would make the wording choppy or difficult to understand. The student uses words that clearly express his/her meaning. Spelling and punctuation (including commas) are correct.

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