A brief summary of the basic plot of the film

A brief summary of the basic plot of the film

Paper instructions

A brief summary of the basic plot of the film; summarized in your own words and not copied and pasted from the internet.

The documentaries specific purpose i.e. thesis; what claim is it making (what it is trying to persuade us to do).

Specific examples of rhetorical theory used to influence and persuade the audience; including:

Ethos: Credibility of the documentary’s character.


Exterior influences found outside of the film: the documentarian’s reputation, experience, background.

Internal influences found inside the film: the credible sources used i.e. the experts interviewed and what makes them an authority on the subject as witnessed in the film, which could include their reputation, experience, and background.


How the documentary displayed its intentions and concern it has for the audience. How the documentary appeared trustworthy, objective, honest, and similar to the audience. Were any of the fallacies discussed in the textbook evident? Is so what effect did they have on the ethos of the film. How the film handed opposing views (if applicable).


Personality and likeability of the documentary and or documentarian. Consider the tone of the documentary; the way the subject matter, audience, Americans, etc. are portrayed.

Pathos: Emotional appeals

Use of emotional narratives (stories) that creates sympathy that attempts to affect the audience’s attitudes, values beliefs, and or behaviors.

The films use of images, words, sounds, music, set design, camera angles, and other various film techniques as tools to affect audience’s emotions.

Logos: Logical appeals

Statistics, facts, and expert testimonies presented in the film.

You need to use the terms ethos, pathos, and logos in your writing.

Conclude by making a judgment about the film’s rhetorical effectiveness.

The word ‘Rhetoric’ refers to the use of symbolic artifacts (including words, phrases, images, gestures, performances) to influence and persuade an audience.

A rhetorical analysis breaks down the artifacts used by an author or speaker into parts and then explains how the parts work together to persuade an audience.

This is accomplished, in part, by examining traditional rhetorical appeals, which include the use of ethos, pathos and logos.

These rhetorical appeals are often utilized in documentary films to influence and persuade the audience. This assignment asks you to view a documentary film and to analyze the rhetorical strategies employed by the filmmaker in the construction of the film’s argument.

The paper should not be a summary of the film, nor should it be a review based on your personal reaction to it. The aim of the project is to identify the film’s argument, and to analyze the rhetorical strategies used to develop the film’s specific purpose i.e. thesis.

The paper will be 3 to 5 full pages in length with an additional works cited page that includes the documentary and any other sources you may use. The paper will follow the guidelines of MLA. Once the paper is written, submit a copy to turnitin.com and upload it to Canvas. *3 to 5 full pages; meaning at minimum 3 full pages and one sentence on the fourth page.

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Discipline: Documentary Rhetorical Analysis


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A brief summary of the basic plot of the film


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