RWS 280 Project 3 Ivory Tower Movie Rhetorical Analysis Essay

This essay requires watching a movie and taking notes. and requires to talk about a specific topic on the documentary and i was think you could write about the statistics on college loans. and I have an article you could read and add it to the essay.

Project # 3 Prompt: Analyzing Rhetorical Conventions Across Genres


During the past two months, we have focused extensively on the idea of “safe spaces” in colleges campus. Moreover, we have looked at several written texts for their claims, evidence, and rhetorical strategies and analyzed how these academic texts advance their arguments. Not only have you analyzed one text for the author’s choices, but your last paper called on you to synthesize two academic texts. Now, we will turn our attention to analyzing one academic text and one alternate form of media.

For this assignment, we will watch the documentary, Ivory Tower (2014) by Andrew Rossi. In the documentary, Rossi explores the value of a college education considering the ever-rising costs and offers insight into various forms of higher education.

Your goal for this assignment is to identify Rossi’s overall argument, claims that he makes in order to advance his argument, the evidence he provides, and the rhetorical moves he makes to persuade the reader.

Then, you will be responsible for locating one outside text—found on SDSU’s Library Database—that relates the argument being made in the documentary. You can find a text that agrees with Rossi’s stance, disagrees, qualifies, or illustrates the argument being made.

Just like the last paper, your goal is to effectively synthesize the two genres and offer analysis on how they each present their argument.



  • Watch documentary, take extensive notes on overall argument, claims, evidence, and rhetorical strategies
  • Locate an academic text that relates to the topic at hand—cost of college & value of a degree—and also identify the overall argument, claims, evidence, and rhetorical strategies
  • Begin finding areas where the documentary and written text agree, disagree, or use similar/different rhetorical strategies
  • Put the two media “in conversation” and analyze the effectiveness of their choices
  • Develop an essay between 4-5 pages



  • Intro:
    • strong hook, background context on your selected topic, introduce authors & texts, road map of your analysis, thesis
  1. Body (within each body paragraph):
    1. provide an account of each author’s central claims and explain how these claims strengthen the author’s main idea
    2. describe some of the rhetorical strategies both authors use, provide interpretation and analysis of how these strategies work, and explain the impact of these decisions in relation to the author’s purpose and audience
    3. analyze rhetorical strategies
    4. evaluate how effectively or ineffectively the author uses said rhetorical strategies
  1. Conclusion:
    1. offer a conclusion that is not merely repetitive, but instead offers insight into the significance of the topic as a whole
  1. MLA 8 Works Cited


Evaluation Criteria:

  • Comprehension
  • Development
    • Details/analyzes chosen texts thoroughly and thoughtfully
    • Writer thoroughly address elements of the argument, including author, context, audience, purpose, claims, and evidence.
    • Analysis of rhetorical strategies is thorough
  • Organization
  • Expression/Mechanics/Grammar


Important Dates:

  • 03.19: Discussion of Prompt; Practice; Brainstorming; Contextual Videos
  • 03.26: Watch Documentary; Locate Secondary Text
  • 04.02: Spring Break—Draft your Essay
  • 04.09: In-class Peer Review
  • 04.16: Conferencing—You will meet with either me or Gaby for a 10-minute one-on-one meeting to discuss your essay
  • 04.23: Final Essay Due


  • Develop an effective process of reading for comprehension
  • Develop an effective writing process—including prewriting, drafting, revision, and self-evaluation
  • Analyze the elements of academic texts—particularly argument, genre, audience, context, purpose, and strategies
  • Articulate in writing key rhetorical concepts.

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