Writing A Rhetorical Analysis Essay On Me Talk Pretty One Day

David Sedaris, American humorist and writer, published a bestselling collection of essays in 2000 titled, Me Talk Pretty One Day. This selection of essays is in two parts, the first one being about the author’s life before he moved to France. The second part is about his life in Normandy with his partner and how he coped with learning the French language.

Writing a rhetorical analysis is pretty straightforward if you follow some steps. First of all, you need to have a good understanding of what this type of analysis should consist of. It’s an essay where you break down a piece of non-fiction work into parts. Then you explain how the parts fit together to create a certain effect. That effect may have the purpose of informing, entertaining or persuading the reader.

Steps to writing your essay

  1. Explore the author’s goals, what techniques he used, and then give some examples of how he used those techniques. Were they effective? Remember you aren’t necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the argument. Your purpose in writing the analysis is to present how the author made the argument and whether or not the approach he used was effective or successful.

  2. How appeals work in writing. This is an attempt to gain approval or agreement of the audience – the readers – by playing to common experiences or natural tendencies. These appeals come in three types: pathetic, ethical and logical. The pathetic tries to invoke emotion from the audience. The writer taps into the reader’s compassion, sympathy, anger or disappointment, sadness or desire for love etc. The ethical appeal utilizes the writer’s credibility or character to state their case and attempt to gain approval. The writer positions himself as expert. The logical appeal makes its case using reason. He relies on evidence and proof, as well as scientific reasoning.

  3. Determine what type of appeal David Sedaris uses in Me Talk Pretty One Day using the information described in step 2, above. Once you have figured this out, you can go on to build your analysis by prewriting.

  4. Prewriting uses answers to questions to lay a foundation for your rhetorical analysis essay. For example, ask yourself what is the author’s goal, and then answer it. Ask what appeals, evidence, examples and techniques he used and why? Then go on to explaining which of them worked or not. Once you have all this information written down, it will be much easier to create an outline and then put it all together in your first draft.

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