Reading with the grain, or “The believing game”: try to see the world through the author’s eyes and consider how the intended audience would receive the text by exploring their beliefs and values through acquiring background knowledge or context of the subject.
Reading against the grain, or “the doubting game”: begin to question or even point out fallacies about the text. Now you are a resistant reader that asks questions rather than accepts the writer’s claims outright. Read the text from multiple perspectives so that you can challenge the author’s reasoning, sources, and rhetoric.
When you analyze a text you are drafting strong response writing, in which you speak back to the text in a multiple of ways. In particular critical thinking is a large part of this process because it allows you to generate your own questions about the text for response. The type of response that we will be focusing on for Unit Three is often called a rhetorical critique.
In a rhetorical critique you analyze a text’s rhetorical strategies and briefly evaluate how the author achieves their intended goal. You do this by discussing how a text is constructed via its rhetorical strategies such as the modes of persuasion, diction, syntax, and imagery. This critique can either work with the grain or against it, as some of the writer’s claims will undoubtedly prove effective and ineffective.
The Unit three rhetorical critique is a closed form, thesis-driven essay. The thesis should capture your overall findings of the piece and map out specific rhetorical points you will cover in the analysis. Typically your analysis will zero in on some key point of rhetoric that you feel was most interesting or effective.
Questions to ask when writing a rhetorical critique:
-Who is the intended audience?
-What is the writer’s purpose?
-Does the execution of the essay suit the audience and intent?
-How does genre effect the author’s style?
-How does word choice define this text?
-How does the author’s sentence structure define the text?
-What modes of persuasion are present in the author’s argument?
-Is the author’s evidence to their claims relevant, current, and reputable?
-How much does the author’s point of view dominate the text?
-What sides of the author’s argument are omitted?
-Does the author recognize the opposing viewpoint that accompanies their argument and how so?