Uncovering Your Rhetorical Self
Purpose of the assignment: To analyze the rhetorical choices we make in order to craft the persona we choose when we interact with others.
Procedure: For this assignment, you will write a short essay (250-500 words) analyzing the rhetorical choices you make using at least two of the following:
• your appearance (clothing, hair, body art, makeup, accessories, and so forth)
• your living space (décor, furniture, tidiness/cleanliness, and so forth)
• your social media activities (“about” information, photos, posting, commenting, and so forth)
• where you shop and the products you buy
• your behavior in different social groups (family, friends, work, classes, older people, younger people, and so forth)
As our textbook states, “all of us work to craft a persona for ourselves to help us appeal to specific groups and gain social standing” and “it’s important to acknowledge that we position ourselves differently in different social groups: how we react in relation to our friends is probably different from how we act with families or with employers” (pp. 22-23). Many times we are not consciously aware of the choices we make when we post something on social media or dress a certain way, but we make those choices nonetheless with specific aims in the backs of our minds: To be perceived a certain way or to be accepted in a certain way by the groups with which we interact.
In order to begin this assignment, brainstorm the social groups you interact with (work, friends, family, social media, and so forth) and the types of dress, décor, products, and behaviors associated with each. (You may recall prewriting strategies such as freewriting and bubble charts from previous classes; also, consider writing a “zero draft,” as described in Chapter 12 of your textbook.) You do not need to share your prewriting strategies for this assignment; they are solely for your use.
Format: Standard essay format of introduction, body, and conclusion. Think of the five-paragraph essay model, though you are not restricted to five paragraphs. You may use more if necessary. Your introduction should include a thesis statement that expresses the main point of your rhetorical choices. For a breakdown of the format of your essay, see Chapter 1 of the textbook. See also this sample essay.
Photos, screenshots, and other visual aids are optional for this assignment.
Format the assignment in basic APA Style: one-inch margins, page numbers at the top right, and title page.