Rhetorical Analysis


You are extremely prepared for this essay. We have spent quite a bit of time working closely with Jane Tompkins’ complex argument,”Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History.” In Module 2, you watched and took detailed notes on “Indians” and New Historicism, a brilliant lecture by Dr. David Nunnery. In addition, you used a critical reading strategy, Charting the Text, to understand her structure and major claim. In Module 3, you identified Tompkins’ target audience, her kairos and exigence, as well as analyzed her use of appeals and the strategies she employs to achieve them. Finally, in Module 4 you studied induction and learned how and why Tompkins used it. Some of you may want to go back and review the work we have done to help you begin your essay. For this assignment, you will be pulling everything together to write a cohesive rhetorical analysis.


Write a 4-6 page rhetorical analysis of Jane Tompkins’ “Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” using correct MLA Format & Style (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Your essay should address each of the following (though you may alter the order):

  1. write an introduction that engages your reader on the subject of your paper: rhetoric.
  2. fully introduce and articulate Tompkins’ major claim (use the Academic Meaty Sentence to make sure your introduction to her is complete) and summarize her argument, including her major claim and how she establishes kairos and exigence and make your major claim with regards to how persuasive her argument is for her intended audience;
  3. describe and explain Tompkins’ use of inductive reasoning and how it affects her argument as a whole;
  4. identify, analyze, and evaluate her appeals to reasoning (logos), credibility (ethos), and emotions (pathos) and the strategies she uses to make them. Discuss all three appeals and at least two strategies per appeal–it is expected that you quote directly from the text to support your analysis, using correct MLA in-text citation.
  5. evaluate how persuasive Tompkins’ argument is as a whole for her intended audience, academic peers who read Critical Inquiry.



This essay* is not on the content, or subject matter of the text, is it on form, how the text is written. You are giving and supporting your position on how well her argument is written and how persuasive it is for her intended audience.

Do not write an extensive summary of the article–one paragraphs should suffice.

Paraphrase and quote from the text to support and illustrate your assertions.

Strengthen your ethos by using a strong and clear academic voice. Avoid contractions, you, and “I” to help you do this. You want to work to sound authoritative.

To help you to stay focussed, organize your essay utilizing the language of the prompt. This will also help you to answer all of the prompt.

Use transitions (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. between ideas and sentences. Make your writing flows.

Be sure to demonstrate mastery of MLA Format and Style, including the Works Cited page.

If you have questions, email me, as I am always here for you!

*Essays will be accepted up to 48 hours late with permanent a 30 point deduction.

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