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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP English Language & Composition
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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by Chenthil Kumar Sankaramoorthy on January 28, 2015

Hi Professor,

I understand that good language use is so important. What is the best way to develop it?

Rhetorical Analysis Practice

  • Where to Find the Prompt
  • Analyzing the Prompt
    • The prompt offers background information: the author’s vital dates (1859 – 1932), her profession (social worker), and her achievements (child labor laws and improved labor conditions for working women).
    • The prompt gives the context of the speech: the National American Women Suffrage Association, July 22, 1905.
    • The prompt has a focus: the rhetorical strategies Kelley uses to convey her message about child labor. Everything else in the passage will probably be secondary (but still potentially important).
  • Reading the Text
    • Kelley begins with statistics: two million children under age 16 in the American workforce. This defines the scope of the problem.
    • Then she uses a series of examples, focusing in particular on children working all night in mills (note the emphasis on night-time work, forcing children to forgo sleep).
      • Note the appeals to sentiment: the six-year-olds working all night, the 13-year-old carrying the pail with her “midnight luncheon”, the mothers powerless to help. Note the emphasis on adults sleeping through this.
    • Note the use of description and narration.
    • Note the analogy: children are “little beasts of burden.”
    • As the piece moves on, Kelley focuses more and more on individual states’ laws and how they affect child labor.
    • She emphasizes the outrage of mothers and teachers.
    • Finally, she proposes her solution: use the children’s plight to get men to vote for women’s suffrage. The same techniques that have affected her audience will be used to win her audience the vote.
    • The speech ends with an appeal to patriotism: women must be given the vote, and allowed to stop these child-labor practices “for the sake of the Republic” and the children who will vote for it in the future.
  • Scoring Guidelines
    • The scoring guidelines are also available on the College Board’s website: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap11_eng_lang_scoring_guidelines.pdf
    • Note that a score of 9 is reserved for essays that meet the 8 criteria but are unusually good—“sophisticated in their argument, thorough in their development, or impressive in their control of language.”
    • Note that the 8 score is all about effectively analyzing Kelley’s rhetoric, not her actual point. The prompt mentions “appropriate and convincing” analysis and evidence, including (but not requiring) direct quotation.
    • Essays that are like 8s but less well-developed and less skillfully executed earn a score of 7.
    • Essays that earn a score of 6 are like 7s, but even less well-developed.
  • The Sample Essays
    • The 2011 sample essays are also available on the College Board’s website.
    • Let’s look at Sample 2A, which earned an 8. (http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap11_english_language_q2.pdf)
    • Note the use of the rule of three!
    • This essay is notable for its language—the College Board points out selections like “the oxymoron ‘pitiful privilege’” and “Utilizing forceful emotional appeals to the consciences of her audience, Kelley urges her audience to empathize with the victims of the labor policies”. Language made the difference here!
    • The analysis is also unusually sound, focusing first on Kelley’s use of numbers—a particularly effective point when the student is mainly writing about how Kelley appeals to her audience’s emotions. Cleverness helps!
    • The 2012 sample essays are also available on the College Board’s website.
    • Let’s look at Sample 2B, which earned a 6.
    • This essay begins with a general description of 19th- and early 20th-century labor practices—too vague to be helpful, and it reads like filler.
    • In fact, the analysis of this essay focuses on its imprecision—the student used vague terms when more specific ones were available.
    • While this student appealed to high-minded academic ideas (ethos and pathos), the discussion of them was perfunctory –consider phrases like “ponder the rights and wrongs of child labor.” Is there a clearer, more effective way to say this?
    • The 2012 sample essays are also available on the College Board’s website.
    • Let’s look at Sample 2C, which earned a1.
    • Note how short this essay is, and how full of grammatical and syntactic errors (“womens”).
    • It also uses imprecise language, calling the textile workers “young women” when in fact they are children.
    • The essay mentions “rhetorical strategies” but does not name them, and the student’s approach to point of view is almost nonexistent (even though the phrase is underlined).
  • Tips for the Rhetorical Analysis Essay
    • Dig into the rhetoric. Look for the elements of argument and for rhetorical modes.
    • Language, language, language! The author’s use of language will almost always be important, and YOUR use of language can be the difference between a 6 and an 8.
    • Outline your ideas clearly in your thesis statement, and stick to your outline.
    • Give the prompt, and the text, that extra second of attention in order to find a twist on the main idea that a cursory reader would miss.
    • Quoting the text is great, but don’t over-quote.
    • No filler should be allowed!

Rhetorical Analysis Practice

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:08
  • Where to Find the Prompt 0:52
  • Analyzing the Prompt 1:19
    • It Offers Background Info
    • It Gives the Context of the Speech
    • It has a Focus
  • Reading the Text 2:36
    • How She Begins
    • Uses a Series of Examples
    • Appeals to Sentiment
    • Use of Description and Narration
    • Analogy
    • As the Piece Moves On…
    • Proposes Her Solution
    • Appeal to Patriotism
  • Scoring Guidelines 5:04
    • Score of 9
    • Score of 8
    • Score of 7
    • Score of 6
  • The Sample Essays 6:14
    • Sample 2A, Score of 8
    • Rule of Three
    • Sample is Notable for its Language
    • Sample 2B, Score of 6
    • Imprecision
    • Sample 2C, Score of 1
  • Tips for the Rhetorical Analysis Essay 10:44
    • Look for the Elements of Argument
    • Language!
    • Outline
    • Don't Over-Quote