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Ericksons Second and Third Hour Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Classes

Your Name: _____________________________ Class Hour: ________

The Rhetorically Accurate Verb

A _________________________ ________________ ________ is an action word that describes what kind of action the individual performed that created their influence. Here are some examples of rhetorically accurate verbs in use: Ayn Rand _____________________________ radical capitalism. Douglas Engelbart _________________________ the computer mouse. Galileo______________________________ sunspots. Mohammad __________________________ Islam. Salk __________________________ smallpox. Jimi Hendrix __________________________________ the electric guitar. Examples of rhetorically accurate verbs: ________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________ A ______________________ ____________ is a highly specialized, specific type of summary. It differs from the more general summary in that emphasis is placed upon providing the ____________________ aspects of the work under consideration. Like the summary, the goal is to provide in ____________, _______________ language, the __________ __________s of a piece. ____________________ information within the rhetorical prcis includes (1) the writers name, (2) the genre and name of the piece, (3) the way in which this information is delivered, (4) the main point, (5) how the point is developed, and (6) the relationship between the writer and audience. This information is presented in four very specific __________________________ as outlined below.

The rhetorical prcis is a highly structured four-sentence paragraph that records the essential elements of a unit of spoken or written discourse, including the name of the speaker/writer, the context of the delivery, the major assertion, the mode of development and/or support, the stated and/or apparent purpose, and the relationship established between the speaker/writer and the audience (the last element is intended to identify the tone of the work). Each of the four sentences requires specific information; students are also encouraged to integrate brief quotations to convey the authors sense of style and tone.

The Rhetorical Prcis Format

a) In a single coherent sentence give the following: -name of the author, title of the work, date in parenthesis; -a rhetorically accurate verb (see your list above); -a that clause containing the major claim (thesis statement) of the work. b) In a single coherent sentence give an explanation of how the author develops and supports the major claim (thesis statement). c) In a single coherent sentence give a statement of the author's purpose, followed by an "in order" phrase. d) In a single coherent sentence give a description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author establishes with the audience.

Charles S. Peirce's 1 article, "The Fixation of Belief (1877), 2 asserts that 3 humans have psychological and social mechanisms designed to protect and cement (or "fix") our beliefs. 4 Peirce backs this claim up with descriptions of four methods of fixing belief, pointing out the effectiveness and potential weaknesses of each method. 5 Peirce's purpose is to point out the ways that people commonly establish their belief systems 6 in order to 7 jolt the awareness of the reader into considering how their own belief system may the product of such methods and to consider what Peirce calls "the method of science" as a progressive alternative to the other three. 8 Given the technical language used in the article, Peirce is writing to an well-educated audience with some knowledge of philosophy and history and a willingness to other ways of thinking. 9

1. Author
Start with the author's name and be sure to give it in full. It is optional to provide a phrase describing the author such as "Arthur Schopenhauer, as 19th century German philosopher,..." This describing phrase is optional because the Prcis really focuses on the content of the work. Where the background details are relevant to summarizing the content, then you should include it.

2. Genre &Title & Date

Provide the title in full and the date of it's first publication. Note that the date of the edition of a work you are using may not be the original publication date at all. You may need to do a bit of research to figure this out. Many editions give an original publication date or mention it in the preface. Recognize that different genre's of work use different conventions for listing. Essays and journal articles are usually listed in "quotes". Books are generally underlined. A genre is the type of work that a source is; e.g. books, monographs, chapters, essays, articles, stories, novels, treatises, etc.

3. That
This common pronoun does a crucial job in the Prcis. To remain grammatically sound, we must include the subject (the work and it's author), a predicate (your claim about that work). These must be linked by a rhetorically appropriate verb. Rhetorically appropriate here means that it expresses the action of the author in the work. The that phrase is formed as follows: ....verb that.... Without the that phrase and the associated subject and predicate, you cannot have a well-formed Prcis.

4. Thesis
The thesis, or major claim, of the work is statement of the overall and final point that it aims at. It is not easy to identify the thesis of a philosophical work (or novel, for that matter). Still, it is a basic part of philosophical reading to be able to say briefly what the main claim of the work is. Note that this claim may never be stated by the author as such. You may have to interpret and synthesize to draw out a thesis. This work is essential because it is the base of your reading. The thesis statement you attribute to a work is your concise summary of what you understood the author's point to be. You may find it frustrating to put the meaning of a long, complex work into a single sentence. If you simply draw a blank or cannot get the words to come out right, that is a sign that you need to read the work again with the intention of getting the major claim.

5. Explanation
The task of this sentence is to explain how the thesis, presented in the last sentence, is developed by the author.

The author may give several arguments for a single thesis. Or the author may give a chain of arguments leading up to the thesis. The author may define key concepts related to the thesis. Your job in reading intellectual literature is to identify how the main claim is produced by the work. We take it as a basic standard here that sophisticated literature does not merely make claims, it provides support for them.

6. Purpose
A statement of the author's purpose in writing this work. What is the writer trying to accomplish here? This statement of purpose is connected to the audience effect by the in order to phrase.

Author's purpose in order to effect on the reader 7. In Order To

This phrase is crucial to the Prcis. It directly indicates the effect the author intends to have upon the audience. To produce this sentence, think about what change will occur in the reader if the author's purpose is successful. Authors may write with the purpose to persuade, to refute, to change, even to frighten, anger, or confuse. Determine what you think the author's purpose is and what that purpose is supposed to do to the reader. Note that the purpose may or may not be successful (i.e. it may not have the intended effect).

Author's purpose in order to effect on the reader 8. Effect

A statement of the author's intended effect on the reader. This statement of purpose is connected to the audience effect by the in order to phrase. Every author writes to have some effect on the audience (readers). It may be to make the audience laugh, to cause the audience to question their own beliefs, to persuade them to a point of view, to challenge a belief they are likely to have, etc. This effect is not a report of how the work affects you, but of what you think the author's intended effect is. Author's purpose in order to effect on the reader

9. Audience
A statement of the author's intended audience and the relationship the author establishes with the audience. The language of a work selects a certain audience and excludes others. Examine the language and references of the work to judge what sort of pre-knowledge the author assumes of the reader.

FURTHER EXAMPLES of Completed Preces:

Sheridan Baker, in his essay "Attitudes" (1966), asserts that writers' attitudes toward their subjects, their audiences, and themselves determine to a large extent the quality of their prose. Baker supports this assertion by showing examples of how inappropriate attitudes can make writing unclear, pompous, or boring, concluding that a good writer "will be respectful toward his audience, considerate toward his readers, and somehow amiable toward human failings" (58). His purpose is to make his readers aware of the dangers of negative attitudes in order to help them become better writers. He establishes an informal relationship with his audience of college students who are interested in learning to write "with conviction."

Jane Goodall in "Primate Research in Inhumane" argues that most laboratories using primates engage in inhumane practices. She supports her argument through detailed descriptions of lab environments and draws special attention to the neglect of psychological comforts which these primates endure until they sometimes become insane. Her purpose is to speak on behalf of the chimpanzees in order to persuade her readers to see that if we do not fight for improvements in lab care, "we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice." Goodall writes to those who have compassion for other species and who might have enough courage to speak out for chimpanzees and other primates.

Bell hooks, in her essay Women Who Write too Much from Remembered Rapture (1999), suggests that all dissident writers, particularly black female writers, face enormous time pressures, for if they are not prodigious, they are never noticed by mainstream publishers. She supports her position first by describing her early writing experiences that taught her to not be afraid of the writing process; second, by explaining her motives for writing, including political activism; and lastly, by affirming her argument, stressing that people must strategically schedule their writing and make much of that time. Her two-pronged purpose is to respond to critics and to encourage minority writers to develop their own voice. Although at times her writing seems almost didactic, hooks ultimately establishes a companionable relationship with her audience of both critics and women who seek to improve the effectiveness of their own writing.

Format Take Two:

1. Name of author [optional: a phrase describing author], genre and title of work [date and additional publishing information in parenthesis]; a rhetorically accurate verb (such as "assert," "argue," suggest," "imply," "claim," etc.); and a THAT clause containing the major assertion (thesis statement) of the work. 2. An explanation of how the author develops and/or supports the thesis, usually in chronological order always identifying the rhetorical mode(s) employed. 3. A statement of the author's apparent purpose followed (introduce with the infinitive to). 4. A description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author establishes with the audience.

Further Details and Explanation of Purpose:

The first sentence is probably the most difficult. Students should be careful to employ a rhetorically accurate verb followed by a THAT clause, avoiding the use of more general words such as "writes" and "states." The THAT clause is designed to demand a complete statement: a grammatical subject (the topic of the essay) and predicate (the claim that is made about that topic). If the THAT clause is not employed, students will end up allowing "about" and "how" to slip out in stating the thesis: i.e., "Sheridan Baker writes about attitudes in writing" or "... states how attitudes affect writing" -neither of which reports what he claims to be true about attitudes. The second sentence is less structured. Sometimes it works best to report the order of development: "The author develops this assertion first, by applying these techniques to two poems; second, by providing definitions; and third, by explaining the history of each approach." A more general statement may also work in the second sentence: "The author develops this idea by comparing and contrasting the lives of these two Civil War heroes." In works of literature, the second sentence may provide a short plot summary: "Hemingway develops this idea through a sparse narrative about the 'initiation' of a young boy who observes in one night both a birth and a death." The third sentence sometimes inadvertently restates the thesis: "The author's purpose is to prove that..." Remember that ones purpose is always to put forward a thesis, but there are others as well. The infinitive to" phrase should transcend a phrase such as Her purpose is to inform;" look beyond such a simplistic response to assess what the author wants the audience to do or to feel as a result of reading the work. In the fourth sentence, students need to ask how the language of the work excludes certain audiences (non-specialists would not understand the terminology; children would not understand the irony) in order to see that the author did make certain assumptions about the pre-existing knowledge of the audience. This sentence may also report the author's tone.

(All pieces can be linked to directly from the Rhetorical Precis web page:
*all due-dates and assignments are subject-to-change by teacher

1.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, October 26th, 2009. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Friday, October 30th, 2009:
The Perils of Indifference by Elie Wiesel - 1999 OR The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt - 1948

2.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, Wednesday, November 16th, 2009. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Friday, November 20th:
Sweeping the Clouds Away by Virginia Heffernan - 2007 OR A Model for High Schools by David S. Broder - 2005

3.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, December 14th, 2009. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Friday, December 18th, 2009:
Drugs, Sports, Body Image and G.I. Joe by Natalie Angier - 1998 OR Global Greening? The Time for a 'Global Green Deal' has Come by Mark Hertsgaard

4.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, January 11th, 2010. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Friday, January 15th, 2010:
A Crime of Compassion by Barbara Huttman - 1983 OR Dispensing Morality by Ellen Goodman 2005

5.) Can be turned in beginning Tuesday, February 22nd, 2010. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Thursday, February 25th, 2010:
The White Man Unburdened by Norman Mailer - 2003 OR Soap and Water (half way down the page) by Anzia Yezierska - 1920

6.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, March 22nd, 2010. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Thursday, March 25th, 2010:
Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation by Jonathan Swift - 1709 OR On the Different Kinds of Republics, and What Kind the Roman Republic Was by Niccolo Machiavelli

7.) Can be turned in beginning Monday, April 26th, 2010. Due no later than 2:14 p.m. on Friday, April 30th, 2010:
Science: It's Just Not Fair by Dave Barry - 1998 OR Wears Jumpsuit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husbands Last Name. by Deborah Tannen - 1993