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Writing Program at New College

Assignments - Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetoric: An Introduction and “Briefcases vs. Backpacks”

Purpose: The purpose of this essay assignment (750 - 1000 words) will be to identify an advertisement for analysis, and then to create a rhetorical analysis that discusses exigence, audience, and constraints. Make sure to create a works cited for the text you are analyzing and (if used) Carroll’s essay. Use techniques and strategies addressed in both the New College Guide and Carroll’s “Briefcases and Backpacks” essay. The essay you write will demonstrate your ability to analyze a text and critically think, read, and write. For additional assistance in developing a rhetorical analysis, click HERE

Audience: Your audience for this assignment is your instructor and you classmates. Be careful that you do not assume all readers will have seen and/or understand the product in your advertisement. Provide background, explanatory, and or contextual information as needed.


You are to write a rhetorical analysis that:

  • Identifies the ad and its “author”
  • Identifies the rhetorical situation/context
  • Identifies exigence, audience, and constraints
  • Identifies the argument of the ad
  • Identifies the intent or purpose
  • Identifies content of message
  • Identifies form/style/tone
  • Examines how the piece is arranged and organized
  • Demonstrates your understanding of the “author’s” purpose
  • Demonstrates standard edited English Writing conventions
  • Includes a works cited page for information cited in the essay: the advertisement and Carroll’s essay, for example.

Writing Program