Discuss some of the rhetorical tools you used to convince your specific audience
You have read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” which directly responds to a statement published by Alabama clergymen that criticizes his actions. In his letter King, Jr. uses compelling rhetoric to defend his beliefs and convince his specific audience. Using his letter as an example, we will now consider ways we can try to convince a specific person or group to take on our own convictions.
For this project you will pick and read an opinion based text (you can also watch a video or listen to audio). You can pick anything from a political speech, to a business plan. Next, you will respond to what that person/group has said by writing a letter. Your letter will seek to persuade the person/group that you are responding to. By persuade, I mean that you must present an idea of your own and demonstrate why that particular audience should accept it.
Your stances do not have to be political and contrary, like King. Jr.’s; you may want to write a letter that is either civic minded or business minded. What you must do though, is find something specific to respond to. Because of this, your letter will need to be accompanied by a “statement” of sorts that you are addressing, and a personal reflection that explains the rhetorical strategies you use in your letter.
Project Parts and Requirements:
1. A Statement You Will Respond to from a Person/ Group: for example: a Mission Statement from a non-profit, a speech from a senator, or a Business Plan from a company. This should be the first page of your Final Draft.
2. Your Response Letter (2-4 pages): From you to a specific audience (formatting requirements listed below)
3. Rhetorical Analysis of Your Letter and a Reflection Statement (2 pages minimum): Included on a separate page after your letter.
Outline for Correspondence Project:
Part One: The Statement You Are Responding To
• This is the statement your letter will be responding to. You’ll post the text on the page/s before you begin your letter.
o It could be a brief statement made by someone
o An op-ed you’re responding to
o A mission statement for a company
o Note: if you use a statement from a video—you’ll need to print out a transcript.
Part Two: The Letter (2-4 pages)
• This should come on the page after the text from Part One.
• This is your response to the statement made in Part One.
• It should address a person or group (example: board of a company)
• Letters should be 2-4 pages
• Letters must use Times New Roman font, size 12, Double Spaced, and have page numbers, but be in a
• Letters need to be revised and edited.
ELEMENTS OF THE LETTER:
1. Tell them what you’re responding to.
2. Tell them your position.
3. Tell them your main points
1. Respond to various points made from the statement in Part One
2. Make your points/ claims clear
• submit your points with evidence that will convince your audience.
• You get to pick the types and amount of evidence, but try to think about what will convince your audience best.
• Use the language/ diction/ tone that will best fit your audience.
• Your tone might shift throughout the letter as MLK’s tone changed in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
• Use strategies that fit your audience
• Vary your use of appealing to: logic, credible sources, emotion
• Restate your main point/ argument
• Summarize your supporting points
• Give a call to action—what do you want to happen now?
Part Three: Rhetorical Analysis of your letter and Reflection (2 pages minimum)
1. Start this on the page following your reflection.
2. Tell me in paragraph form.
3. This is your chance to tell me why you think your letter is effective in convincing the specific audience you’re responding to.
1. Discuss some of the rhetorical tools you used to convince your specific audience (2 claims, 2 types of evidence, 2 strategies)
2. Who was your specific audience?
3. Why did you choose those specific rhetorical strategies (claims, evidence, strategies) to convince that person/group? (What made your argument effective?)
4. What did you do well in the writing process for this paper?
5. What you need to work on in the future to improve your writing/studying?
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