Your first essay – the critical evaluation essay – will be evaluating the rhetorical skills of a skillful speaker.
Choose one of the TED Talks you found on the TED site. The link was in the “Supplemental Readings” section of the course lessons from Week 2. Ideally, you’ll choose to analyze the talk you discussed in the Week 2 Forum, but that’s not a requirement if you’d prefer a different speech.
Decide whether the speech offers a persuasive and convincing argument. If you decide it is persuasive and convincing (and it probably is), discuss why. Evaluate how well the speaker uses logos, pathos, and ethos to sell us on the main idea. Make sure that your essay has an introduction that contains a hook and a thesis, body paragraphs that discuss one proof at a time (one paragraph per example), and a conclusion. If you decide that the speech is not convincing, then discuss the fallacies that the argument makes or other failings, such as structure, tone, and so forth. You are still required to have a strong introduction (hook and thesis), body paragraphs that discuss one supporting point at a time, and a conclusion. You may also discuss how the talk is successful with reservations. In this case, point to both the weaknesses and the strengths you have found in the speech.
Most of you will decide that your speaker has done a good job in composing his or her argument, so you will have three body paragraphs, on each evaluating how well the speaker used ethos (credibility), pathos, and logos to support the central message.
We are not summarizing the talk or adding our own thoughts on the talk’s subject matter; we are only evaluating how well the argument is composed and how well it uses rhetorical strategies to make its point. This is an opportunity for us to learn from other writers/speakers’ approaches to posing an argument.
This paper should be at least 700 words, but no more than 1000.
The paper should be formatted correctly using MLA, APA, or Chicago–your choice based on your field of study or preference.
It must be written in third person (do not use the words such as I, me, us, we, or you).
The essay should also contain citations and a works cited page based on your selected reading from the assigned list–no need to use outside or additional sources other than the piece you’re analyzing. You can use the bio posted on the TED site to evaluate the speaker’s ethos.
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