Rhetorical Modes Dr. Downing College Composition Kutztown University Fall 2008
Rhetorical Modes • Narration • Description • Comparison/Contrast • Problem/Solution • Explication • Definition • Analysis • Argument
Narration Narration involves telling a story. It typically has a beginning, middle, and end. There is usually a main character who takes some kind of action. There are typically other characters. There is often a lesson, or moral. Typically, narratives require no sources.
Description Description is a detailed snapshot (like describing feelings or the beauty of a flower). It can be used in a narrative to provide specific details about a character or situation. Although process descriptions can involve the movement of time, literary and narrative descriptions usually make time stand still. Typically, description requires no sources.
Comparison/Contrast Comparison means to identify similarities. Contrast means to point out differences. The Joseph Campbell essay was comparison. The organizational styles are either block: AAAA/BBBB Or point-by-point: ABABAB Your Joseph Campbell paper was point-by-point. Comparison/contrast may or may not require sources, depending on the nature of the topic
Problem/Solution Problem/Solution essays begin with a problem and then offer a solution. These essays can spend a great deal of time discussing the problem and a short amount of time providing a solution OR These essays can describe the problem in a paragraph or two (briefly) and then describe several possible solutions. Problem/Solution almost always requires a works cited page.
Explication Explication means “explanation.” For example, I might write an explication essay explaining some of the ideas of Joseph Campbell, August Wilson, or Don Miguel Ruiz. Such essays provide basic background, cite certain sections of the text, and provide a detailed summary or description. Explication almost always requires a works cited page.
Definition According to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, definition is “a statement expressing the essential nature of something” It provides the specific meaning of a term or idea Provides outlines or limits
Analysis Analysis literally means to “break into parts” This kind of essay begins with a complex situation, argument, or text and breaks down the idea into separate parts Sometimes opinion is included and sometimes not Analysis almost always requires a cited source
Argument Argument means “a coherent series of statements leading to a logical conclusion.” Arguments begin by summarizing a situation, referring to an author, or citing a particular text. Then it offers numerous reasons for or against the situation As you provide your rationale, you will continue to cite sources. Arguments definitely require a works cited page.
Other Tricks • Hegelian Dialectic • Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis • Question and Answer • Socratic Method • Journalistic Method • 5 Ws and H