Long Form Review Rhetorical Analysis
Investigating How Review Writers Do Rhetoric
Assignment Introduction and Goals
This assignment asks you to read and analyze a review of a book, movie, video game, musical album, or other cultural text published by a newspaper, blog, or other publication. Your goal in this analysis will be to understand the composition choices made by the author of the review, and how these choices allowed them to use ethos, pathos, and logos to achieve their purpose and connect with their audience.
This analysis will help you learn the techniques that review writers employ and be ready to compose a review of your own. You won’t necessarily be called on to write a review as part of your classes or job, but practicing analyzing and composing will help you adapt to the kinds of writing you will need to produce!
To complete your analysis:
- Find a review of a book, movie, video game, musical album, or other cultural text published by a reliable, high quality publication. I’ve included a list of reliable, high quality publications you can use to look for reviews on the last page of this assignment. If you want to use a review from a publication not on the list, you must email me for approval first. You aren’t required to choose a review of a text you are familiar with, but it might make the process of analysis easier if you do!
- Some publications run both short form (1-2 paragraph) and longer form (several screens/pages of text) reviews. You should select a longer form review for your analysis!
- Read your review once through carefully. Make sure you feel ready to spend some time reading and thinking about this review! Go back and choose a different review if your current choice seems boring or difficult to think about!
- Follow the prompts below to compose your review in a word or .pdf document.
- Upload your completed review to the “Long Form Review Rhetorical Analysis” assignment on D2L
Follow the prompts below to compose your analysis:
- Introduction (1 paragraph): Introduce the review you will be analyzing. Give its title, the publication it appeared in, and a link to the review. Briefly summarize what you learned about review writing from analyzing this review (NOTE: You will probably need to complete the other prompts below BEFORE you can write this step!).
- Purpose (1 Paragraph): All reviews want to express some sort of “take” on the thing they are reviewing, but what’s this review’s “take?” Try to sum this up in a single sentence, and then use the rest of the paragraph to explain and support how you know this is the “take” your review wants to make.
- Audience (1 Paragraph): Closely examine the review and the publication the review appeared in for clues about the likely audience of the review. Does this publication only review certain genres? If so, that suggests the audience is likely a fan of this genre. Does it use language we associate with a particular level of education? Does it use references that only people a certain age or from a certain place would understand?
Consider all these clues and then write a paragraph that gives the most specific definition of the audience of your review that you can. Give this definition in a single sentence at the beginning of the review. For the rest of the paragraph, use details drawn from the review and the publication the review appeared in to support this definition.
- Constraints (1 paragraph): Take a look at the other reviews appearing in this publication. What formal constraints do they all appear to meet? Are they all about the same length, do they all use similar sorts of images, do they all include video, do they all use similar language? Make an educated guess at the constraints authors writing for this publication probably have to meet and explain in this paragraph.
- Ethos (1-2 paragraphs): What sense of the author’s character do you get from this review? Do they seem like an “ordinary person,” an “expert,” a “fan,” something else? What gives you this impression? Include details about language use, credentials, etc. that help to establish this Why do you think the author chose to create this sense of ethos? How is it appropriate to their audience and purpose?
- Logos (1-2 paragraphs): What evidence or reasoning does the author give to support their “take?” Choose a couple of specific examples of this evidence and explain how they are particularly effective at supporting the author’s position. Explain anything you can about how the audience of the piece may have shaped the details selected. Explain as much as you can about how the author incorporates these details in their composition.
- Pathos (1-2 paragraphs): Use the most specific adjective you can to describe the tone of this review. Is it “snarky,” “matter of fact,” “irritable,” “cheerful,” something else? Start a paragraph with a single sentence stating this tone, and then go on to use details from the review to show the language choices that set that tone and explain why the tone is appropriate given the purpose, audience, and constraints of the piece.
- Lessons for Writing Reviews (1-2 paragraphs): Conclude by explaining what you learned about writing reviews from doing this analysis. What will you try to do in your own review? Feel free to use a bulleted list as part of this section.
Your analysis will be evaluated based on the rubric on the next page
|Clarity||The analysis is clearly written and easy to understand.||For the most part, this analysis is easy to understand, though some small errors may undercut your authority.||Significant errors make it hard for me to find your key points or follow your reasoning.|
|Support||Everything you tell me about how this review is written is backed up by good, specific details from the review showing me how the author accomplished this.||Mostly, you provide details to support your position, though some may be missing or unclear.||Details supporting your ideas are absent. You just tell me what the review does.|
|Class Concepts||Your analysis demonstrates your mastery of concepts like the rhetorical situation and rhetorical appeals.||Your analysis demonstrates at least some understanding of the rhetorical situation and rhetorical appeals.||Your analysis suggests your understanding of the rhetorical situation and rhetorical appeals is flawed or incomplete.|
List of Reliable Review Publications
Movies and Television:
- The Onion AV Club (https://www.avclub.com/)
- IO9 (https://gizmodo.com/io9)
- NPR (https://www.npr.org/sections/tvreviews or https://www.npr.org/sections/movie-reviews/)
- Vulture (https://www.vulture.com/)
- The Verge (https://www.theverge.com/tv-reviews or https://www.theverge.com/film)
- NY Times (needs a subscription, but can be read on-campus via the library https://www.nytimes.com/reviews/movies)
- LA Review of Books (https://www.lareviewofbooks.org/reviews/)
- NY Times (needs a subscription, but can be read on-campus via the library https://www.nytimes.com/section/books/review)
- The Onion AV Club (https://www.avclub.com/)
- Spin Magazine (https://www.spin.com/new-music/)
- Paste Magazine (https://www.pastemagazine.com/music)
- Rolling Stone (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/)
- Pitchfork (https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/)
- Kotaku (https://kotaku.com)
- Polygon (https://polygon.com/)
- Rock, Paper, Shotgun (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/)