Rhetorical Analysis Assignment: The Perils of Indifference

Rhetorical Analysis Assignment

Point Value: 160 points (16% of course grade)

Definition: A rhetorical analysis asks you to explain how writers or speakers within specific social situations attempt to influence others through discourse (including written or spoken language, images, gestures, and so on).

Caution: A rhetorical analysis is NOT a summary. It also does NOT ask you to agree or disagree with the author’s argument.

Expectation: In 5-7 pages (excluding the title page and the reference page), make an argument about how a speaker use a speech to convey messages to a particular group of audience by 1) exploring the speaker’s goals, 2) describing the techniques or tools used, 3) providing examples of those techniques, and 4) analyzing the effectiveness of those techniques with at least 5 sources (e.g., scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles, documentaries, movies, books). Please use the APA Style & Formatting Guide (7th edition) to format your essay.

Learning Outcome:

  • Identify the relational components of rhetorical situations and the larger conversations, activities, and environments in which they are embedded
  • Recognize and exemplify rhetorical features—including genres, language

conventions, and methods of delivery—employed in civic and professional discourse communities

You may conduct your rhetorical analysis over four phases:

Phase 1: Reconstruct the historical context in which the speech occurred and advance claims (45 points). During this phase, you explore the rhetorical situation, namely the communicative context of a text/speech using 3-4 sources. It includes:

Audience: The specific or intended audience of a text.

Exigence: The text/speech’s reason for being, such as an event, situation, or position within an ongoing debate that the writer is responding to. It may also refer to the problem that requires change.

Constraints: The obstacles that stand in the way of solving the problem.

Phase 2: Analyze the speech by applying classical elements (60 points). You may refer to Table 15.4 Five Canons of Rhetoric, p. 281. During this phase, you examine the speech text in terms of 2-3 of the following elements:

  • Organization: Arrangement; The structure or general pattern of the various components in a rhetorical speech
  • Style: The language the speaker uses
  • Delivery: The mode of presentation adopted by the speaker, including vocal and nonverbal behavior.
  • Memory: The devices speakers use to help them remember significant ideas and illustration throughout their speeches.

Or, you may examine claim, support and warrant of the speech text:

Claim: The main idea, thesis, opinion, or belief of an argument that the author must prove. The claim should be debatable and answer the question, “What’s the point?”

Support: The statements given to back up the claim. These can take the form of facts, data, personal experience, expert opinion, evidence from other texts or sources, emotional appeals, or other means. The more reliable and comprehensive the support, the more likely the audience is to accept the claim.

Warrant: The connection, often unstated and assumed, between the claim and the supporting reason(s), or support. The warrant is the assumption that makes the claim seem plausible. More specifically, warrants are the beliefs, values, inferences and/or experiences that the writers/speakers assume they share with the audience. If the audience doesn’t share the writers’/speakers’ assumptions within the text, the argument will not be effective.

Phase 3: Assess the effects of the speech on the audience (40 points).

During this phase, you may analyze the invention of the speech by exploring how the speaker’s argument is supported by inartistic proofs (e.g., testimony from witness, key documents) and artistic proofs using 2-3 sources. The artistic proofs include:


The authority or credibility of the author/speaker. Can refer to any of the following: the actual character of the speaker/writer, the character of the speaker/writer as it is presented in a text, or as a series of ground rules/customs, which are negotiated between speaker, audience, and specific traditions or locations. The speaker must convince the audience of their credibility through the language they use and through the delivery, or embodied performance, of their speech.

Did you analyze ethos enough in your essay?

  • Have you looked at what experiences or claims to authority qualify this author/speaker to speak or write?
  • Have you considered the credibility and moral character of the writer/speaker?
  • Have you considered the design or appearance of the text you are analyzing?

Does it look professional? What can you say about the author/speaker based on the appearance of the text alone?


Emotional appeals to the audience to evoke feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow. The speaker may also want the audience to feel anger, fear, courage, love, happiness, sadness, etc.

Have you analyzed pathos enough in your essay?

  • Have you considered how the author/speaker appeals to the emotions of the reader/viewer? How does the author/speaker establish a bond with his audience?
  • How might the author/speaker change his strategy if he/she was trying to

establish a bond with a different audience?

  • Have you considered your own personal reaction to the background music of this advertisement?
  • What kinds of feelings do the colors that the author/speaker uses provoke?
  • What other images in the text provoke an emotional response? Why would the author include these images?


In classical rhetoric, logos is the means of persuasion by demonstration of the truth, real or apparent, the reasons or supporting information used to support a claim, the use of logic or reason to make an argument. Logos can include citing facts and statistics, historical events, and other forms of fact-based evidence.

Do you analyze logos enough in your essay?

  • How does the author/speaker back up his argument in this text? Does he incorporate facts, statistics, or numbers?
  • Have you considered how logical the author/speaker’s argument is?
  • Are the claims this author/speaker is making realistic?
  • Does the author/speaker consider alternative arguments?

Phase 4: Finally, you will need to create a conclusion for your rhetorical analysis (15 points). Your conclusion should briefly restate your main argument. It should then apply your argument on a higher level. Consider the following questions as you develop your conclusion:

  • Why does your argument matter?
  • What does it mean in the real world?

For example, the conclusion of the rhetorical analysis of the Nacirema article may point out Miner’s underlying message of tolerance and appreciation of other cultures and how his authorial choices influenced the delivery of that message.


Howe Center for Writing Excellence of Miami University. (n.d.). Rhetorical Analysis. https://miamioh.edu/hcwe/handouts/rhetorical-analyses/index.html

Illinois Writers Workshop. (n.d.). Rhetorical Analysis. https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/academic-writing/rhetorical-analysis/

University Writing Center of Texas A&M University. (n.d.). Rhetorical Analysis. https://writingcenter.tamu.edu/Students/Writing-Speaking-Guides/Alphabetical-List-of-Guides/Academic-Writing/Analysis/Rhetorical-Analysis


                 Rhetorical Analysis of “The Perils of Indifference”

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, gave a speech, “The Perils of Indifference,” where he defines indifference, highlights some consequences of indifference, and urges his audience to avoid it. Through this speech, Wiesel gives a logical argument about his view of indifference, refers to past experiences as a victim of indifference, and appeals emotionally to his audience to convince them indifference is not the way to move into a new century.

Phase one

Wiesel delivered the speech “The Perils of Indifference” in April 1999, in the Millennium Lecture Series held at the White House. This event was hosted by the First Family, President Clinton, and his wife Hillary, where they had brought various speakers to address important issues before welcoming a new century. Wiesel’s speech on indifference and why it should stop was addressing not only the powerful leaders such as the top officials in the government but also to Americans who need to avoid indifference (Schlicher, 2018).  However, this speech was a wake-up call to President Clinton and other world leaders to protect those being treated inhumanly rather than watching.  

Moreover, Wiesel’s speech was delivered at a very highly influential and tense time especially because there an ongoing war in Kosovo where there were evident crimes against humanity similar to those of the Holocaust (Webber, 2009). He was very aware of these issues and circumstances, and he was made sure to use his speech and platform to highlight the need to intervene and stop such acts of inhumanity before it’s too late. Based on his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and referring to some of the most horrific violent times in history, he explains that indifferences can be harmful to humanity. Through the speech, Wiesel emphasizes that although due to indifference, it is easy to ignore the injustices and inhuman acts going on in some parts of the world, world leaders need to do the right thing of protecting and helping innocent people, especially children who do not deserve harsh and horrific treatments …………for help with this assignment contact us via Email Address: consulttutor10@gmail.com

Phase 2

In “The Perils of Indifference,” Wiesel uses ethos, logos, and pathos to support his stance on indifference. Regarding ethos, he builds his credibility on this issue by showing that he is knowledgeable, believable, and trustworthy. By mention that “I stand before you, Mr. President-Commander-in-Chief of the army that freed me, and tens of thousands of others and I am filled with a profound and abiding gratitude to the American people,” Wiesel (1999) shows that he respects the audience, the American people thus they are likely to agree with what he presents. Additionally, aiming to reveal his background and experiences as a child, he states that “Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far from Goethe’s beloved Weimar, in a place of internal infamy called Buchenwald” …………for help with this assignment contact us via Email Address: consulttutor10@gmail.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *