In this essay, you will rhetorically analyze a TED talk on a topic that interests you. The essay should summarize the talk in light of its thesis and then examine the rhetorical strategies and tactics which the speaker employs in his/her efforts to persuade listeners. Using that analysis, you will assess how well the speaker’s rhetorical techniques succeed—or how badly they fail–in matching the content and style of the talk to its implied audience.
Remember that this essay is not about whether you agree or disagree with speaker’s argument, except insofar as your (op)position might be addressed (or not) by the speaker’s choice of rhetorical strategies (Did the speaker account for opposition or resistance to their argument? Does the talk include a compelling refutation?). First and foremost, the essay should be an assessment of the speakers’ appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos, of their logical moves and their use of evidence, oral and visual. It will look to how the talk is organized (is it easy to follow? is there a clear introduction/body/conclusion?) and how well the language (diction, figures of speech) is fitted to its purpose. (In the time between now and the due date we shall cover a number of critical terms and tools that you will be expected to use in the essay.)
You can use TED Talks from the list below or you can choose a talk that interests you at If you choose a talk that isn’t below, please run it by me first since not all TED talks work well for this assignment. You should look for a talk that is about 10-20 minutes long. The following TED Talks work well for this assignment (though do not feel that your choice is limited to them):
Wanjira Mathai, “Three Ways to Uproot a Culture of Corruption”

Debbie Millman, “How Symbols and Brands Shape Our Humanity”

Dr. Philip Atiba Goff, “How We Can Make Racism a Solvable Problem . . .”

Kade Crockford, “What You Need to Know about Face Surveillance”

Erika Pinheiro, “What’s Really Happening at he U.S.-Mexico Border . . . “

Laura Bates, “Everyday Sexism”

Your essay should be 4 – 5 pages in MLA format (be sure to double space and use 12 point Times New Roman font). It must contain at least three quotations from your TED Talk, correctly introduced and cited using MLA style documentation, and it must include a works cited page (does not count towards page requirement).

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