Modern Political Rhetoric – ‘What is the relationship between the citizen and The State’?

As we continue our examination of the question ‘What is the relationship between the citizen and The State’, we turn our attention to modern political rhetoric. You guys will need to continue improving and building your analytic skills, as well as making connections between texts, ideologies, history and politics.

In our last series of rhetorical analysis, you will first examine the speeches of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, former President Ronald Reagan, and the Amendments to the Constitution.

Next, using reliable research sources, you need to find an example of a speech from a US President or elected official that most closely defines or represents the relationship between the citizen and the state as you interpret it. You will need to annotate the speech and note where the language and rhetoric of the document connects to the Amendments or compares/contrasts with the speeches you analyzed this week for Socratic Seminar. As you analyze the speech you’ve picked, focus on the following questions:

  1. What is the speaker’s purpose?
  2. Do they achieve their purpose effectively through rhetoric?
  3. How does their rhetoric define the relationship between the citizen and the state?
  4. How does the speaker’s rhetoric align with that of our founding documents?
  5. How do the speaker’s rhetoric encourage, or not encourage, citizens to be active in their relationship with the state?

You should then write a reflection discussing how the interpretation of  our founding documents, or our Nation’s ideals, or the relationship between the citizen and the state, changes over time. You should reference the speeches you’ve analyzed in this reflection – the one you’ve selected, and the three I provided to you (Reagan, Trump, Obama). You should also reflect on how culture/technology/and beliefs influence that interpretation. At the end of this reflection, hypothesize what elements of our modern culture most impact our interpretation of our founding documents.

You will submit the annotated speech, and submit the typed reflection in the Google Classroom.

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Rhetorical Analysis: Politics – What is the relationship between the citizen and the State?

From ‘The Language of Composition:Reading, Writing, Rhetoric”: 

“Politics, the process by which groups make decisions, play part in all human interactions. When we study history, the social science, religion or business, we learn about politics; whenever we read the newspaper or watch the news on television [or online], we see politics in action; and when we discuss issues with our classmates and friends or involve ourselves in our community, we engage in politics […] Thus one could argue that politics is the cause of all social change.

Democratic governments, such as the one under which we live, exercise power through the will of the people. With that power comes the responsibility, even the responsibility to dissent if necessary. So what is the nature of patriotism in democracy? Is it loyalty to the government of loyalty to the ideals of the nation? How is American patriotism colored by the fact that our country was born out of a revolution? […]

Educated citizen – the root word of the word politics is the Greek word for citizen – must know about the politics of the world as well as the politics of their own country. “

As we begin our first unit over Rhetorical Analysis, we will be examining a series of speeches, letters, articles by, and about, politicians and the political systems that surround us and our relationship with them.

Each Tuesday you will be analyzing and writing on a previous AP Language and Composition Free Response question that relates to this topic. Each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we will be conducting Socratic Seminar, projects and class discussion over extended readings that address the same topics.

democracy2Please see the list below for the texts you will need to analyze and engage with over the course of this unit, while we ponder and examine the question “What is the relationship between citizens and The State?”. These texts provide us a selection of “interrelationships amount citizens, their states, and the world” and well as “voices delivering sardonic criticism and lofty idealism; you will encounter the immediacy of personal reflections on the nature and experience of war” and you will read contemporary pieces by our current national leaders.

davidpol_1447631730_democracy-logo3

Elections

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

The Modes Project

Over the next few weeks you will be focusing on mastering the different modes of writing. These are:

  • Classification and Division
  • Cause and Effect
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Process Analysis
  • Narrative
  • Description
  • Exemplification

The purpose for learning these modes is two-fold:

  1. When conducting your readings for this course, you will be able to identify when an author uses one, or a combination of, the modes above. This will allow you to conduct a more thorough analysis of their rhetoric and how they use style and structure to effectively achieve their purpose.
  2. When writing your own essays, you will be able to use or adopt elements of these modes of writing to more effectively achieve your own purpose.

In part one of the activity, you will need to learn about your assigned mode of writing.

In your packet you have been provided a short definition and overview of your mode, as well as three example essays written in the style of your mode. One of these essays is a student sample, and the other two are from formal publications.  There are two assignments you must complete at this point:

  1. Write a rhetorical precis for the two formal essays in your packet. Remember, this should only be a paragraph long.
  2. Teach your classmates about your mode of writing, and walk them through how they would write an essay in that style.
    1. If needed, conduct research and gather examples in order to teach your classmate how to write in the style of your mode.
    2. Let me know which essay you would like to use as an example, or share a new example you find or create so I can print it for your classmates.
    3. Use any technology, samples, or presentations tools you need to teach your peers. Remember, they WILL have to write an essay using the information you provide them!
    4. You presentation cannot be shorter than 5 minutes, but can be as long as 30 if you need it.

In part two of the activity, you will practice writing in each of the modes of writing you learned in part one.

You will be assigned a topic, and for each topic you must write six essays, one in each of the styles. Your topic will be pop-culture, and your prompt is: How is pop-culture a reflection of our current society? Please see the image below for an example of how you should address this prompt in each of the modes essay your must write.

In part three you will collect all of your classmates’ essays written in your mode, review and rank them. The steps for part three of this assignment include:

  1. As a group, you will read and review each essay, providing feedback to your classmates and assigning them a grade based on the College Board AP Rubric.
  2. Rank the essay you have graded, selecting the highest, lowest and best example of ‘average’ from the group.
  3. Be able to explain and provide justification during whole group discussion with the rest of class as to why you ranked these examples in this order. Give specific feedback on why the essays did or did not meet the requirements and expectations for your mode of writing and the level of finesse needed for AP essays.

Click here to access the rubric you will use to assess your classmates’ writing.

In part four, you will choose two of your essays to revise and resubmit for grading.

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Rhetorical Precis Writing

“Précis” is French for “specific” or “precise.” A rhetorical precis is an excellent exercise in being sucicent and being able to identify the most important information in an article or text you are engaging with. Throughout this course you will need to not only read all of the assigned texts for class, but if you wish to perform well on the Q3 essay or during Socratic Seminar, you should be pushing yourself to read Read READ – and creating a precis for those articles and documents that you read is a good way to have a concrete set of ‘notes’ or a reminder to review later.

In order to write a successful precis, and really to do well in this class, you need to be an active reader.  “Active reading requires you to slow your reading down, engage more intentionally with the text, think about it, and focus your attention on its ideas. When you read actively, you can’t just flip pages and daydream about tomorrow’s plans…

    • Skim over the text before reading it.
      Look to see how long it is, where it’s published, how it may be divided into sections, what kind of works cited list it has, whether there are appendices, etc. Use the title to help you predict what the text is about and what it argues. This overview will help you to understand the context, genre, and purpose of this piece as well as help you gauge how long it will take you to read it and how it might be relevant to your class, paper, or project.
    • Take notes about the text’s key ideas and your responses to those ideas.
      Depending on the text and your preferences, these notes could be made on your copy of the text or article or in a separate place. Notes will help you remember and process what the text is about and what you think about it” (Wisc. University Writing Center).

In class we will review how to complete a precis, and read a sample article while looking at an example together

You will then need to work in your groups to write a precis for the article ‘The Ugly Truth about Beauty‘.

Following the format for rhetorical precis writing, and using the best elements from each of your groups in class, this is the sample precis we created in class today for David Barry’s articleL

In the Miami Herald article “The Ugly Truth About Beauty” (1998), David Barry explains that men and women have different perceptions of self-beauty. Barry illustrates this idea by arguing that women will never be happy with their appearance, while “…average is fine for men…(3). He also reasons that women have unreal standards of beauty to meet, which are established by society and multi-million dollar companies that make “women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie…” and ridicules the idea of men applying cosmetics under Brad Pitt. Barry contrasts men and women’s sense of self in order to explain how men view themselves as average, while women tend to place unrealistically high expectations on their own beauty. Barry directs this analysis to men who set unrealistic expectations for women, or don’t understand why women are so concerned with their looked, and to women who blindly try to meet these expectations by using satirical anecdotes and extended metaphors. 

Additionally, you need to be prepared to write a precis each week over a current event item from a reliable source. 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Arguments on Education: David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water”

As we continue to look into the topic of Education in America in order to answer our essential question ‘Do we provide an equal education to all citizens?’, we turn our attention to the prolific post-post-modern writer David Foster Wallace and his commencement address to the graduating class of 2005 at Kenyon College.

In this commencement speech Wallace addresses and poises a few questions for his readers/audience:

  • How do we understand the ‘real world’, if we only live it through our own immediate experiences and point of view, where we are the ‘center of the universe’?
  • How much of the task of adapting our world view actually involves or requires ‘higher education’?
  • How do you construct meaning from experience?
  • What is the difference between ‘teaching you how to think’ and ‘learning what to think about’?
  • What is the role of higher education in your everyday life?

Consider these questions as you read the speech, and prepare for a collegiate discussion of the text in class tomorrow.

 

The audio of this commencement speech is available on YouTube if you would like to hear Wallace deliver it himself. Additionally, I have included a link to the full version of the speech, as a few paragraphs were missing in our textbook’s abbreviated version.

Click here to access the full version of Wallace’s speech.

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2017

Preparing for the AP Exam: Q3, The Argumentative Essay

We’ve reached the last essay in our preparation for the exam in May – rejoice! Q3, or the Argumentative Essay, is similar in form to Q1, The Synthesis Essay. You will be required to take a position on a topic – either defend, qualify or challenge – and support your argument with evidence. However, unlike the Synthesis Essay, College Board will not be giving you a packet of 8 sources to pull your information from. You must come to this essay with enough personal experience, observations from current events and real-world situations and knowledge of readings/texts, that you can cite reliable evidence off the top of your head.

For those of you that do not feel comfortable with current events or the scope of your literary background, you may want to spend some time between now and May reading, reading, reading. 

Before we dive into how to write the Argumentative Essay, watch the short video below that will help to explain the essay a bit more.

Now that you’ve watched the video, let’s look at the 2007 prompt:

q3

Notice the prompt is much shorter than the Synthesis Essay, though it follows the same basic format: pick a position, and argue that position.

For the Argumentative Essay we are going to use the ‘PRO’ method of pre-writing and brainstorm. This will ensure that you are writing a well-balanced argument, and that you use the required types of evidence.pro1

pro2pro3

pro4

If you were to do this for the 2007 prompt it would look something like this:

pro2007

You may use personal pronouns in this essay, however, you must be careful to maintain a mature authorial voice. If you’re not sure you can do this, I would try not to use the personal pronoun ‘I’ too often.

As you can see, the depth and maturity of your writing will depend on the PRO evidence you can provide – mature personal experiences, in-depth knowledge of relevant texts, and astute and applicable observations of the world around you. If you do not feel comfortable with aspects of your ability to ‘go PRO’ for this paper, please see me for suggested readings and activities you can do on your own to improve your chances of scoring a 3 or higher on the exam.

AP Language and Composition Spring 2016 Spring 2017

Arguments on Education: Liber Ethicorum des Henricus de Alemania

“We know almost nothing about the 14th century Italian painter Laurentius de Voltolina, except that his signature appears on one of the most remarkable images of the late middle ages. The drawing appears in a preserved […] manuscript […] by a medieval scholar named Henricus de Alemania (Henry the German). We scarcely know more about Henericus than we do Laurentius. All we can say for sure is that he is the figure at the front of the class in the famous illustration that decorates his book. This drawing by an obscure painter in a virtually unknown manuscript has become famous in our day as one of the earliest concrete pictures of a medieval university classroom. […] The reactions of the students give us a window into education in the 14h century […] some of the students, primarily in the front row, listen to his words with rapt attention. Other follow along studiously in the text. Towards the back of the room, students seem more distracted; some look bored, others are socializing with each other, and at least two appear to have fallen asleep. It is, in other words, like many college classrooms today.”

As we begin our next unit over the argumentative Q3 essay for the AP Language exam, we will be focusing our reading through the lens of education, and will specifically be looking to answer the essential question: “How do we provide an equal education to all citizens?”.

We’ll be answering this question through a series of documents from a variety of sources in order to help you improve your ability to make text-connections during the Q3 essay. You will have the chance to practice the essay itself, and build other skills through Socratic seminar, collegiate discussion, and a series of projects.

You did an excellent job today of starting your discussion of this essential question by deciding to break it down further and negotiate the specific meaning behind this question. In doing so you clarified that by ‘provide’, we should instead rephrase our question to reflect ‘the opportunity for’. Additionally, you chose to define’equal education’ as meaning ‘equal regardless of economic means, race, gender, religion, disability, ect.’. You further defined the idea of the ‘education’ you were discussing as one ‘that takes into account a student’s learning style, that differentiates, that has highly trained teachers, that provides students access to technology, promotes good student/teacher relationships, and that prepares students for the real world’.

Your revised essential question is therefore: “How do we provide the opportunity for all citizens, regardless of economic means, race, gender, religion, or disability, for an education that takes into account a student’s learning style, that differentiates, that has highly trained teachers, that provides students access to technology, promotes good student/teacher relationships, and that prepares students for the real world?” Whew! That’s a difficult question to answer – but I’m sure you guys will do a great job working towards that answer the next two weeks!

You also did a wonderful job today connecting the similarities and differences with the image above to the modern classroom. Be sure to take notes in class over our seminars and discussions, and this material can still show up on any quiz or test we have! 🙂

AP Language and Composition Spring 2017