So the focus of this essay is: How does a speaker communicate a message to their audience, right?.
You will also talk about: How effective the speaker was at this task.
You will NOT say how you feel about the speakers ideas or summarize them. You need to argue something, specifically what is mentioned above :)
Your essay is going to be 4-5 paragraphs long.
Your intro is going to be a Rhetorical Precis and is made of four sentences:
- [Author] in his/her [genre, such as speech], [Title, if given] [(Year)], explains that [thesis]. (NOTE: The College Board is extremely picky that you MUST state the main idea of the passage in your essay. Why not in the very first sentence?)
- To strengthen this argument, [Authors last name] uses [2-3 rhetorical strategies, in chronological order].
- Through these strategies, the author hopes to [inform, persuade] his/her audience to/that [the purpose].
- In all, [Authors last name] writes in a formal tone and [how appeals to audience] to the [adjective] audience which are entirely appropriate and, in fact, effective.
The body paragraphs are going to discuss how this builds throughout the speech or article.
In each one, first discuss what the author is doing, then discuss how they did it, then discuss why they did it and what it means for the audience (in other words, how does it make the audience feel?). Each point will transition to the next idea, constantly building on one another.
What the author is doing:
- In the beginning, [Authors last name] introduces the idea that [idea]
- As he/she continues, [Authors last name] discusses further how [a point that is closer to the thesis]
- Finally, he/she confirms that [some point the audience cant deny]
How they did it:
Try to know the names of devices you might want to comment on even though its not required. Make a note by everything interesting you see in the text and pick the best ones. My personal plan is to make brackets around things longer than 3 words because it is quicker but you do want to make notes on the passage.
Devises you want to look for include: To strengthen this argument, Williams uses emotionally charged words to hook readers, extreme connotation to solidify the discrepancy between violence and nonviolence, and finally directly addresses the audience to persuade them to take a stance on the matter of resistance.
Other things to look for:
Imagery (and the connotation of that imagery)
Bold exclamation (No, we will never give up!)
Forced teaming (Our only hope is....)
Absolutes (every dollar spent on music has been invested in the lives of individuals)
Invective, or abusive language.
** I have two other whole PDF's with lots and lots of sophisticated things to point out. Let me know how you want me to send them to you.
I am looking at a passage now in which JFK says the actions of the rich steel robber barons display "wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance". I chose to comment on tone as this is full of confidence and even aggressive! Later in that speech, JFK says they are acting with "ruthless disregard of their public responsibility." While this isnt the most toxic insult, it is still unkind to come from the president so I would write about invective and the way it helps him connect with people who also feel that way. His point was to act stunned at the actions of the rich, and create a divide between poor Americans and the wealthy steel companies. His audience was the poor, and he sympathizes with them while putting blame on "them".
Then, in the conclusion, comment on how effective the speaker was. (Likely they will be very effective as the College Board has chosen the passage for the SAT).
Think about what this piece means in history. In AP Language we learned about a SOAPSTone which stands for:
- Subject (what is the essay about? examples: violence, change, history)
- Occasion (What caused the essay to be written? Note the time and place. You will get this information in the blurb at the top. example: racial inequality in the 1900's across America)
- Audience (What does the audience believe? What makes them agree?)
- Purpose (What does the speaker what the audience to do?)
- Speaker (Who were they? Why were they important? What do they want most?)
- Tone (use the connotation of words to discover what the tone is. Usually it will shift in the article or speech)
If you remember, you should make SOAPSTone notes in the margin and discuss what this piece changed in history.
- If you are going to quote, you can just say "In lines 4-6, the author says" instead of (Author line)
- Consider counter artument if you feel confident.
- The rubric is on page 181 of the book I gave you. This is a VERY important page.
- Remember good essay skills: stay focused on your main idea, be careful about word choice, etc. Looking at the rubric will help give you a good idea of what they want
- DO PRACTICE ESSAYS! You have 50 minutes, right? So plan for 15 or so and then write write write. When you practice, you can prepare a plan alone or write as well. Baby steps still count :)
- I have a tumblr post to share with you (not mine) with very good essay advise for essays which ask you to argue something (like essay 3 of the AP Language test). Its for a different prompt but I really like it. Let me know if/when you want it.