Rhetorical Choices in Writing

Essay 2: Understanding Uses of Genres in Differing Communities

1. Respond appropriately to the needs of various audiences and writing situations through the use of various genres, context, and content. (PLO 1)

2. Recognize, critique, and defend the rhetorical choices in writing situations. (PLO 1)

3. Apply conventions of Standard American Academic English including word choice, formality, grammar and

mechanics, MLA formatting, and essay format. (PLO 2)

4. Effectively apply a process of writing from invention, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading. (PLO 3) 5. Ethically collaborate in the writing process with peers through peer-review, constructive self-critique, and

teamwork. (PLO 3)

6. Compose written work that reflects on the writing process, articulates how writing skills transfer across

contexts, and identifies the writer’s strengths and weaknesses. (PLO 4)


You have been working on evaluating and analyzing participants, communities, and genres. Now, it is time for you to combine the concepts that you learned in Essay 1 with the ones you are learning in Essay 2. For this essay, you will choose one written genre and analyze how that genre is used in three different communities. Unlike Essay 1, your goal in this essay is not to simply describe how the genre differs between the communities. Your goal in this essay is to make a claim about why the genre is used the way that it is in each community: what changes in the community that causes the users of the genre to change it? What differs in the communities that require the genre to be different? The same? Your audience for this essay will again be your English 1301 classmates. Again, the community and the written genre may be virtual or live. However, to be a community, there must be at least 2 participants, and the genre must be a written form of communication and not a video or an image. Also, you must choose the same written text (the same genre) to analyze that is used in all three communities.

Nuts and Bolts:

For this essay, you will choose three examples of the same genre from three distinctly different communities. You are to evaluate and analyze the choices the authors make and how the authors use the genre to create meaning and to communicate with the participants of that community. You will also analyze how the members of this community use the genre as a written form of communication: you will discuss how the written text is used within each respective community to communicate ideas. You will be making a claim about how and why the genre is used now in three different rhetorical situations. You will analyze how the members of each community use the genre as a written form of communication: you will discuss how the written text is used within each respective community to communicate ideas, beliefs, values, and so on. The genre and the communities that you choose MUST be available to you in written form: you cannot choose a written genre that you cannot observe in action because you cannot write this essay in generalities. You MUST be able to examine the genres themselves.

For example, you could choose the syllabi from your Accounting, Biology, and English classes. Caution: Making a claim that these three syllabi set up expectations for students does not reveal anything new to your readers about the genre, as you have simply provided a definition for a syllabus. Instead, you’ll have to seek out answers to the “Why?” or “So, What?” questions to be successful in this essay. You could also use three menus from three different restaurants. Then, you will determine why the menus are set up as they are—what are they really selling to the patrons?

You could evaluate border crossings signs form various countries. To say that they all welcome visitors and guide tourists would be very obvious. Instead, you, again, will need to dig deeper and reveal what the signs are saying about their respective countries’ values, morals, and ideologies (maybe even the political or religious values that these signs portray). You could also analyze three different Facebook groups to determine why the participants use the Facebook


group as they do—what is the purpose of the posts? Remember, saying that they post to share their common interests or to have a support group is too obvious and merely defines the genre. You will need to dig deeper to see what is really happening in these groups.

For this unit, you will write a 950-1200 word essay that makes a claim about the genre you have chosen and what it tells your classmates about the people who use it and how the 3 communities use the genre in similar and different ways. Your essay must make a claim and must have evidence from your chosen genre for each community to support the claim. Your essay should be focused around your claim and discuss nothing but the genre and communities and the claim you are making about it. Your essay must be in MLA format and should be free of most grammatical and mechanical errors.

Features of the Compare and Contrast Genre:

This essay asks you to compare and contrast how specific communities use a genre in similar and in different ways to achieve their specific communication goals.

This second essay can include a personal perspective with the use of “I” and “we” and so on, but only if you are part of the community. The first-person perspective should not be used to say things such as, “I analyzed this genre, and this is what I found.” Furthermore, this essay, like most other essays, omits the direct address to the reader by removing the “you” in the essay. The use of the pronoun “you” can be very offensive to your reader, and we need to work to remove it from our writing.

This essay asks you to create a controlling idea, one that guides your readers through your ideas in your essay. Your introduction should hook the readers into wanting to read your essay, and should then narrow your focus so that your readers have context for your ideas. Then, each paragraph provides an explanation and evidence from the genre and the communities to support that controlling idea. Each paragraph should be built around the similarities and differences in how the different communities use the genre and not the communities themselves. This means that you will compare and contrast the communities’ use of the genre in each paragraph rather than focusing each paragraph around each community. In other words, you will analyze how each community uses the same written text to communicate, and then, you will compare and contrast how each community uses it and build your paragraphs around those similarities and differences.

A few reminders about paragraph structure:

1. You should have a topic sentence that includes a transition and overviews the focus of the paragraph as it

connects to your controlling idea.

2. You should then expand on your controlling idea, describing how this idea furthers your controlling idea.

3. Give examples to which the audience can relate.

4. Synthesize your outside sources with your ideas (examples from the genre)

5. Discuss how the examples from the genre help you demonstrate the sub-point.

6. Finish the paragraph with a sentence that connects the sub-point back to your controlling idea.

Finally, your conclusion should answer the following three questions:

1. Did I do what I said I would do? In other words, did you present enough evidence to support the argument

that you made? This is more than a mere recitation of your thesis.

2. Why is this important? This question moves your ideas beyond our classroom walls. What is the

significance of your argument?

3. What do you want readers to do with this information? You are the expert on this area and you need to tell

readers what they should do with the knowledge that you have given them.


Things to consider when analyzing:

● What do the rhetorical choices and the language the authors make and use demonstrate about how each

community uses the genre?

● What do the rhetorical choices and the language the authors make and use demonstrate about the culture and

purpose of each of the communities?

● From the rhetorical choices, language, and culture, can you hypothesize why the genre is used within the

community that it is used? That is, why did the authors change the genre, given the rhetorical situation?


1. Identify the communities you would like to use.

2. Identify the genre within the communities that you will analyze.

3. Choose 3 examples of that genre (texts) from three different communities that you will analyze

4. Observe and ask questions of the community, the participants, and the genre.

5. Decide upon the claim you would like to make about the genre: What do you think your classmates want to know

about it? What can you reveal that is not obvious?

6. Organize your ideas around your claim. Decide what evidence you have from the three texts that will support your


7. Write a rough draft.

8. Share your draft with your group members via Blackboard. Print your group members’ essay. Annotate them (all of them) and bring them to your group conference.

9. Attend your group conference and actively participate.

10. Make changes to your draft based upon feedback you received from your group conference.

11. Go see your professor or the Writing Center if you are struggling.

12. Attend the peer review workshop.

13. Make content changes to your draft based upon feedback from your workshop.

14. Attend the peer review workshop. Make changes to your draft based upon the feedback you received. And, complete the working with peer feedback worksheet.

16. Edit and proofread on your own or go to the Writing Center.

17. Hand in essay

To earn the minimum grade of a C, your essay must…

1. Be in MLA format

2. Be on time

3. Have been peer reviewed in workshop

4. Have been reviewed in your group conference

5. Meet the page requirements

6. Reveal something about the genres that is not obvious to your audience

7. Have a controlling idea (claim) with evidence from the three genres that supports it

8. Be cohesive and organized around your claim

9. Be specific and give details and examples

10. Include transitions and transitional phrases to guide your audience through your ideas

11. Be nearly free of comma splices, run-ons, and fragments


Essay 2 Reflection Questions

Directions: In a MLA format, construct a short essay that responds to these questions. Your reflection is due the day of your Unit 2 essay at 11:59pm to the appropriate TurnItIn drop box and is worth 5% of your overall grade for this class.

1. What did you learn in Essay 1 that you used in Essay 2? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

2. What did you learn in Essay 1 that you did not use/was not applicable to Essay 2? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

3. What did you learn in this Essay 2 that can be applied in other courses? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

4. What do you think you learned in Essay 2 that will not be applicable to other classes? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

5. How does the analysis of the same genre in multiple communities help you improve your writing, in general? How will it help you approach writing tasks in the future? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

6. From the comments you received from the readers of your essay, what are your writing strengths? Writing weaknesses? Are these weaknesses and strengths the same or different from Essay 1 and Essay 2? How so? Give examples, explain, and be specific. Remember, grammar is neither a strength nor weakness.

7. From my comments as a reader of your Essay 1 essay, what do you think my comments to you will be on your Essay 2 essay? What will be different? The same? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

8. What was the most challenging aspect of this Essay? Least challenging? Give examples, explain, and be specific. 9. How has your identity as a writer changed with this essay? Give examples, explain, and be specific.

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