Review the Basics of Rhetorical Analysis - Determine Your Readiness - 5 Steps To A 5: Writing the AP English Essay 2017 (2016)

5 Steps To A 5: Writing the AP English Essay 2017 (2016)


Determine Your Readiness


Review the Basics of Rhetorical Analysis


Summary: Learn how to achieve your rhetorical purpose using the tools of analysis


Key Ideas

image Practice with the most common figures of speech

image Use the rhetorical question

image Review rhetorical techniques, including diction, syntax, and attribution

image Practice with the powers of organization

image Acquaint yourself with the rhetorical keystone


“One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. . . . Once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.”

—Gabriel García Márquez

This next set of writing warm-up exercises will have you reviewing and working with rhetorical devices and techniques and, then, writing style. In the previous chapter, you flexed those muscles that recognize and develop material according to a specific rhetorical pattern or strategy. If a rhetorical strategy is the carefully developed plan for achieving a specific writing purpose, then rhetorical devices are the tools and mechanisms the writer employs to produce that plan, and the rhetorical technique is the manner in which the author uses these tools or devices.

As an example, let’s examine a simple task: draw a square. The equipment includes a straight-edged object, a pencil, and a piece of paper. In writing parlance, to “draw a square” would be the writing purpose, deciding whether to draw it free hand, to use a template, or to trace it would be the rhetorical strategies, and the listed equipment would be the rhetorical devices. These are the tools that enable you to develop that strategy. How the person positions the paper, holds the straight-edged object and places it on the paper, how the person holds the pencil and draws the line would ALL be referred to as rhetorical techniques (in some cases, this is termed style).

Rhetorical Devices

Let’s begin with rhetorical devices, those writing tools and mechanisms that an author uses to develop a specific strategy. Because this section of the book is concerned with stretching and flexing exercises, we will not be examining all of the possible rhetorical devices. (You may be interested in knowing that there are over 60 of them.) We will have you working out with the most often used and analyzed of the rhetorical devices in an AP freshman college level English course, whether in composition or in literature.

Here is the list of the most used and referred to rhetorical devices and figures of speech that you will be working with during your warm-up activities.
















Rhetorical Question



Circle those terms that you know; those you currently can both recognize and use in your own writing. These are the devices you will most probably skip over or just briefly review. For the rest, carefully work your way through each set of exercises. In mostly alphabetical order, we provide a definition, an example, and practice for each of the terms. At the end of this section, there is a self-test that will allow you to evaluate your working knowledge of these particular rhetorical devices.

Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant sounds in a group of words. For example, Tommy towed the tiny truck to the town dump. Repeating the “t” sound is an obvious use of alliteration. Now, you try one by filling in the missing letter in the following sentence. The _____ong, _____ow incoln _____urched ahead after the _____ight turned green. Easy, right? The initial consonant sound being repeated is _____.

Warm-Up Exercises

Warm-Up 1


• How about trying an original one on your own? ______________________



• The initial consonant used in this sentence is _____.

• Here’s an example of alliteration I found in my reading: ________________________


• The initial consonant used in this example is _____.

Allusion is an indirect reference to another idea, person, place, event, artwork, etc., to enhance the meaning of the work in which it appears. Allusions can be mythological, biblical, historical, literary, political, or contemporary. The writer assumes that the audience or a specific part of the audience will have knowledge of the item to which he or she refers. For example, if a writer were to refer to his or her subject in these terms: “The killer wore the mark of Cain as he stalked his brother,” it is assumed that the reader would be assuming his readers are familiar with the biblical story of Cain and Abel. As you read your favorite periodicals or as you read your class assignments, be aware of allusions and jot down a few as practice and review.

Warm-Up 2


• Here’s an example of an allusion that I found in my own reading.

This is the statement that contains the allusion:



I found this in _________________________________________.

The allusion is to _________________________________________.

• Here is an original allusion I created: ______________________________



The allusion is to __________________________________________.

Analogy is comparison between two different items that an author may use to describe, define, explain, etc., by indicating their similarities. Here’s an example from Gary Soto’s A Summer Life. “The asphalt softened, the lawns grew spidery brown, and the dogs crept like shadows.” Did you recognize the two analogies? The appearance of the lawns is compared to spiders, and the way dogs walk is compared to shadows.

Can you spot the analogy in the following selection from Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night? “. . . even the pale institutional green paint of the walls would be the same. Perhaps even the prison would not be so dissimilar.” Here, ____________ is being compared to _____. (If you saw that the walls or the room were being compared to a prison you’re right on track.)

You’re on your own. Take those periodicals you read regularly; take your class assignments; we’re certain you will be able to locate many, many examples of analogy—some using “like” and “as”; others not.

Warm-Up 3


• An example of an analogy I found was in ________________________


The statement reads “______________________________




In this example, _____________________ is compared to _____________________


• Here is an example I created: _________________________



Antithesis is just that—two opposing ideas presented in a parallel manner. For example, we’ve all used the expression Sometimes I love . . . , and sometimes I hate. . . . Notice the parallel structure of the opposing ideas. There is probably no better example of this device than the opening of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness . . .

The strength of the parallelism lies with its grammatical structure, “It was the . . . ,” where each opposing side is structured with the same pattern.

Can you recognize the antithesis in this statement from Alexander Pope?

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

The parallel structure is created with _______________. (If you recognized the use of infinitives, you’ve got the idea.)

Give it a try. This may not be the easiest rhetorical device to find on a casual basis, but keep your eyes open and your mind alert. You may find examples in speeches that you are reading in your history class, essays in your English class, or ads in your favorite periodicals. They’re out there.

Warm-Up 4


• Eureka! I found an example of antithesis. I located it in _________________________


The statement is “______________________________




The two opposites are _________________ and _________________.

The parallel structure is created by ______________________________.

Here’s my own antithesis: __________________________



The two opposites are __________ and __________.

The parallel structure is created by ________________________.

Apostrophe is a device or figure of speech that is most frequently found in poetry. When a writer employs apostrophe, he or she speaks directly to an abstract person, idea, or ideal. It is used to exhibit strong emotions. Here is an example from Yeats:

Be with me Beauty, for the fire is dying.

Can you recognize the direct address to “Beauty” and the strong emotional content of the line? This is apostrophe.

Can you pick out the apostrophe in the following from Shakespeare?

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks.

Simple enough, isn’t it? Here the Bard is directly speaking to the “winds” in an imperative appeal.

Try your hand at recognizing apostrophe.

Warm-Up 5


• First, can you spot this figure of speech in the following lines from a Sir Philip Sidney sonnet?

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb’st the skies!

How silently, and with how wan a face!

The apostrophe is centered on ______________________________.

The emotion is quite evident with the use of the _______________________.

(Good for you if you recognized the moon as the apostrophe and the exclamation point as the indicator of emotion.)

• Second, can you find an example of apostrophe in your literature text?

I found an example in _______________ by _______________.

The line(s) reads “______________________________



The apostrophe centers on ______________________________.

The emotional aspect is indicated by ______________________________.

An epithet is an adjective or adjective phrase that an author uses to describe the perceived nature of a noun by accentuating one of its dominant characteristics, whether real or metaphorical. Ancient Greece used epithets to characterize their gods and goddesses. For example, in The Iliad you can find among the many examples “grey-eyed Athena,” “‘The wide-ruling king’ warned the priest. . . .” Sports figures often acquire epithets, such as “Wilt the Stilt” Chamberlain, “Broadway” Joe Namath, “Mean” Joe Greene, and “Air” Jordan.

Unfortunately, today, epithets are too often used as a weapon for verbal abuse. These abusive phrases can be obscene, sexist, racist, prejudicial, jingoistic, or discriminatory. In this context, Robert Ingersoll said, “. . . epithets are the arguments of malice.” When dealing with epithets be aware of their connotative implications.

Can you pick out the epithet in this sentence? The dark woman smiled at her dark-eyed lover. (If you recognized that “dark-eyed lover” was an epithet, you’ve got the idea.)

Step up to the plate. Go to the sports section of your newspaper or a sports magazine and see if you can spot examples of epithets.

Warm-Up 6


• I located an example of an epithet in ______________________________.

Here’s the complete statement that contains the epithet.



The subject of this epithet is ______________________________.

The actual epithet is ______________________________.

This example treats its subject in a ____________ positive ____________ negative manner.

So, you’ve tuned to the TV broadcast of your favorite football team’s Sunday afternoon game. The commentators are excited to tell the audience what a great game it’s going to be, with the two unbeatable quarterbacks of these two super teams battling it out on their way to winning the greatest of sports trophies, the immortal coach Lombardi trophy. Zap! You’ve just been the victim of hyperbole. You know hyperbole. This is exaggeration or overstatement to emphasize a point or to achieve a specific effect that can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, or even ironic. The writer needs to be aware of the dangers of overuse, and the reader should be aware that the hyperbolic word or phrase should not be taken literally.

In another example, Robert Burns emphasizes the depth of his love when he says it will last “until all the seas run dry.” (That’s a lot of loving and a long, long time.) Hyperbole is a mainstay of advertising: the paper towel that is as strong as iron; the kitchen knife that can slice through a silver dollar; the auto sale of a lifetime. We’re certain that you can also find hyperbole in song lyrics, ads, and ordinary conversations.

Become an hyperbole detective. Read, look, and listen carefully. We know you are going to discover many examples, one of which you will note below.

Warm-Up 7


• I found this example of hyperbole in/when _________________


Here’s the actual hyperbole: ______________________________



The hyperbole is emphasizing ______________________________.

I think the intended effect is _____serious, _____humorous, _____sarcastic, _____ironic.

• Here’s one I created: ______________________________



The hyperbole is emphasizing ______________________________.

I want the intended effect to be _____serious, _____humorous, _____sarcastic, _____ironic.

The other side of hyperbole is understatement. When a writer wishes to minimize the obvious importance or seriousness of someone or something, he uses understatement, assuming that the audience knows the subject’s significance. As with hyperbole, the intended effect of understatement can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, or ironic. In many cases, it indicates politeness, humility, or tact. To hear a firefighter describe the rescue of a family from its fiery home as “just doing my job” is an example of understatement. Here the firefighter is being humble about his bravery, and the effect on the audience is ironic.

Be careful. There is a danger that the use or overuse of understatement can be taken as flippant, when that is not the intended effect. If a weather reporter were to comment on a dangerous hurricane as a “little rain shower,” she or he might be seen as sarcastic and insensitive.

In presenting an argument, especially to a hostile audience, understatement may prove useful in getting your opinion heard. When writing a letter to the editor opposing the building of a theater next to a school, it may be best to refer to your opponents, not as “hedonistic heathens,” but rather as “theater lovers.”

One of the most famous examples of understatement is Marc Antony’s many references to Brutus and the other conspirators in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as “. . . all honorable men.”

Take a stand. You will be able to find examples of understatement in your favorite periodicals and in song lyrics. List one example below.

Warm-Up 8


• I found an example of understatement in ______________________.

The statement reads “______________________________



The writer is trying to minimize the _____importance _____seriousness of the subject.

I believe the intended effect was to be _____serious, _____humorous, _____sarcastic, _____ironic. And, I think the understatement was a way to show _____humility, _____politeness, tact, _____none of these.

A special type of understatement is litotes. Used for emphasis or affirmation, litotes asserts a point by denying the opposite. For example, Tornadoes are not unheard of in Nebraska during the summer. Compare this with Tornadoes occur frequently in Nebraska during the summer. (In the first, “not unheard of” is a denial of the opposite of “frequently,” which is used in the second sentence.) Litotes can have the same intended effect as any understatement. As another example, compare these two sentences: (1) Our family did not fail to have its usual tension-filled vacation, (2) Our family had a tension-filled vacation. (The first sentence seems more modest in its intent and more sarcastic than the second.)

Can you spot the litotes in the following statement? Eating that pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream certainly didn’t do my diet any good. (The dieter is affirming the opposite of doing good.)

Now is the time not to give up. (An example of litotes, by the way.) As you read materials for your classes, try your hand at locating an example of litotes.

Warm-Up 9


• I found an example of litotes in __________________.

The statement reads “______________________________



I believe the intended effect was to be _____serious, _____humorous, _____sarcastic, _____ironic.

By this time in your educational career, you probably know this next definition by heart. A metaphor is a direct comparison between two unlike things, such as “Thine eyes are stars of morning.” (Longfellow) In this comparison, eyes are compared to morning stars. And, a simile is an indirect comparison of two unlike things using like or as, such as “The short story is like a room to be furnished; the novel is like a warehouse.” (Isaac Bashevis Singer). Here short stories are compared to unfurnished rooms and novels to warehouses.

We do this type of comparison all the time. Remember our examination of analogy. If you’re watching a film in a cold movie theater, you could use a metaphor and say, “This place is a freezer.” Or, you could use a simile and say, “This place is like a freezer.”

Whether used in poetry or prose, both metaphors and similes engage the imagination of the reader and can make the strange or abstract familiar and concrete. However, it’s wise to remember that a little goes a long way—all things in moderation. Also, be wary of:

1. Mixed metaphors/similes, comparisons that do not fit together (I’m such a poor cook that I feel like a bull in a china shop.);

2. Inappropriate metaphors/similes, comparisons that bring up unwanted associations (The popularity of our rock band is spreading like cancer.); and clichés, comparisons that have been overused (That outfit is as old as the hills.).

Remember, a successful writer will always choose material and devices with the purpose and audience in mind.

Now it’s time to put on your thinking caps. (Metaphor, if you please.) This should be an easy set of exercises for you. You’re going to find examples of metaphors and similes in three different places: in your literature book’s poetry section, in your favorite periodical’s main article, and in an ad.

Warm-Up 10


• I found a_____ metaphor, _____simile in the poem “___________________” by


The metaphor/simile is “______________________________.”

_____ is being compared to _____.

• I found a _____metaphor, _____simile in an article titled “_____” that appeared in the __________ issue of __________magazine.

The metaphor/simile is “______________________________.” __________ is compared to _____________________.

• I found a _____metaphor, _____simile in an ad for ___________________

that appeared in the ____________ issue of _______________magazine.

The metaphor/simile is “_________________________.”

_______________ is compared to _______________.

Metonymy is another widely used figure of speech. Here is a familiar example. Today, the White House issued a statement congratulating Congress on its passage of the new energy bill. You know and we know that the White House did NOT speak, but rather a spokesperson representing the President of the United States. In this case, our close association of the presidency with the White House allows this statement to make sense to us. Metonymy, therefore, is a metaphor in which the actual subject is represented by an item with which it is closely associated. Can you identify the metonymic word/phrase in this old adage? The pen is mightier than the sword. (If you identified pen for words/writing and sword for violence/war, you understand what metonymy is.)

Synecdoche is a metaphor that uses a part to represent the whole. Here’s a familiar example, I just got a new set of wheels. Here the new car is represented by a part of the vehicle, its wheels. Carefully read this example by Joseph Conrad, “Jump, boys, and bear a hand!” It’s obvious to the reader that Conrad uses “hand” as a synecdoche to have the speaker exhort his crew to get busy and use their hands and skills to achieve a goal. Can you identify the synecdoche in this phrase: “many moons ago . . .”? (Sure, you recognize that moons is being used to represent the passage of months, the cycle of the moon being a part of the monthly passage of time.)

It’s important to note that in current literary circles, metonymy is also employed to refer to synecdoche.

Take your mark. Find examples of metonymy and synecdoche in your current class readings and periodicals. By the way, advertising loves these two devices. Pen two samples below. (Metonymy, here.)

Warm-Up 11


• I found an example of metonymy in ___________________.

Here’s the actual statement. “______________________



The author uses ______________________________ to represent


• I also found an example of synecdoche in ________________.

Here’s the actual statement. “___________________



The author uses __________ to represent ___________________.

Beep. Beep. Pow. Zap. Swoosh. We’ve all seen, read, and heard these words in cartoons, in fiction, in poetry, and on the radio. These are very simple examples of a figure of speech termed onomatopoeia. Don’t let the word frighten you off. Onomatopoeia is simply the word imitating the sound that is being made. Here are some further examples: buzz, sizzle, lisp, murmur, hiss, roar, splat. Look carefully at I quickly swallowed my coffee. Now, compare it with I gulped my coffee. Can you feel the difference between the two? The second sentence uses onomatopoeia to bring you into the scene to actually hear the sound of the speaker drinking and being rushed.

Don’t sigh. (Onomatopoeia, here.) Now, it’s your turn. Turn to your literature texts and your favorite periodicals to find examples of onomatopoeia. Advertising also makes great use of this figure of speech.

Warm-Up 12


• I found an example of onomatopoeia in ____________________.

Here’s the statement. “______________________________



The onomatopoetic word/phrase is “_______________.”

It is being used to imitate the sound of _______________.

Oxymoron is another figure of speech borrowed from the Greek. An oxymoron is a paradoxical image created by using two contradictory terms together, such as bittersweet, jumbo shrimp, pretty ugly. A writer employs an oxymoron for one or more of the following reasons:

• to produce an effect,

• to indicate the complexity of the subject,

• to emphasis a subject’s attributes,

• to be humorous.

Jonathan Swift uses an oxymoron when he states, “I do make humbly bold to present them with a short account . . .” (To be humble and bold at the same time is oxymoronic.) As always, the writer must be aware of his or her purpose and audience and use this device in moderation.

Recognition time. Using your textbooks for English, social studies, and science, look for examples of oxymoron as you read. You will also find them in political speeches, comedy routines, advertising, and song lyrics.

Warm-Up 13


• Hooray! I located one in _______________________.

Here’s the statement that contains the oxymoron. “_______________



The oxymoron is “______________________________”

I believe that the author’s intended purpose is ____________ to indicate the complexity of the subject _____, to emphasize a subject’s attributes, _____to be humorous (ironic, sarcastic, cynical, witty).

Personification is the final figure of speech we examine. Most of you are familiar with this device. However, for those of you who are not, personification is a metaphor that gives human attributes to subjects that are nonhuman, abstract, and/or without life. We’ve all heard or used the expression, love is blind. In this example, love is given the characteristics of a blind person. Personification can be used to describe, explain, define, argue, or narrate. It can also help clarify abstract ideas.

Can you spot the personification in this example from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? “Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon/Who is already sick and pale with grief. . . .” (There are two examples in these two lines. Sun is compared to a hunter/killer, while the moon is compared to an envious person who is sickly and grieving.) As you can readily see, the use of personification here allows the reader to use his or her imagination much more than with straight reporting.

Warm-Up 14


Give your literary muscles a stretch. (Personification, right?)

• Using only the ads in your favorite periodicals, locate examples of personification. Record one of them below.

I found an example of personification in an ad for _______________.

The actual line reads “______________________________.”

In this example _____________________________ is compared to a


My example doesn’t have an actual line, but the ad implies that a _____________________is compared to ______________________________.

• Using your literary texts or editorials in your newspaper, locate examples of personification. Record one of them below.

I found an example of personification in ______________________________.

The actual line reads “_______________________________.”

In this example _____________________is compared to a


Parallelism is a rhetorical device used to emphasize a set or series of ideas or images. In parallel structure, the writer employs grammatically similar constructions to create a sense of balance that allows the audience to compare and contrast the parallel subjects. These constructions can be words, phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and whole sections of a longer work. If you go back to our entry for antithesis, you will find an excellent example of parallelism in the excerpt from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times. . . .” The wide range of antithetical ideas are juxtaposed using parallel structure. The repetition of “It was the” balances all of these opposing thoughts.

In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, the reader can see the parallelism the audience heard that day. Each major paragraph begins with “I have a dream that. . . .” This parallel structure united and emphasized the equal importance of his main points and helped develop his purpose of exhorting the hundreds of thousands in attendance at this civil rights rally.

Can you identify the parallelism in this statement by Aristotle?

For the end of a theoretical science is truth, but the end of a practical science is performance.

(Right. . . . the end of a ____________ is ____________ repeats in both halves of the sentence to emphasize the equal importance of the subjects while remaining different.)

To read, to locate, to record, that is your assignment. (Parallelism using an infinitive, correct?) Okay, grab your textbooks and your periodicals. As you read, keep your eyes open for examples of parallelism. Speeches and writing that try to exhort an audience are good sources.

Warm-Up 15


Record one of your finds below.

• I located an example of parallelism in _____________________.

This is the statement that contains parallelism. “________________



The parallel structure is based on the following construction: ____________________


The rhetorical question is the final rhetorical device on our stretching and flexing exercise list. If you pose a question to an audience and do not expect an answer or do not intend to provide one, you have constructed a rhetorical question. This device provides a mechanism for the author to get his audience to think about a situation. For example, Ernest Dowson asks, “Where are they now, the days of wine and roses?” One of the more famous rhetorical questions in the world of advertising is “Got milk?” The National Dairy Farmers of America do not expect us to answer that question directly, but they do hope the advertising campaign will encourage the public to both think about milk and buy it.

Can you recognize both the rhetorical question asked by Marcus Aurelius and its purpose? “For if we lose the ability to perceive our faults, what is the good of living on?”

• Do you understand that Aurelius does not intend to either receive a response or to give one to the question?

• Is it clear to you that the author wants to exhort his audience to really think about their faults?”

(If you answered, “yes” to both questions, you have a working knowledge of rhetorical questions.)

You don’t want to give up now do you? (That’s a rhetorical question alright.) Be aware of the device of rhetorical questions when you read your texts. Often, the writers of textbooks will ask a rhetorical question before beginning a new subject or section. Advertisers frequently turn to the rhetorical question to push their products. Watch for them. Record one of your finds below.

Warm-Up 16


• I located a rhetorical question in __________________________.

• Here’s the actual question. “_______________



The subject of the question is ______________________________.

The author most probably wants the reader to think about _______________


Parenthesis is our final term (and, we bet you thought rhetorical question was) in this section. This sentence, by the way, contains an example of parenthesis. Take a closer look. Parenthesis is a construction (word, phrase, another sentence) that is placed as an unexpected aside in the middle of the rest of the sentence. For example: If you pick up the kids at 5:00 (by the way, you’re a dear for doing this) we can all meet for dinner at the Clubhouse Restaurant.

Parenthesis can be set off in two ways:

• By parentheses ( ) The reporter assumed that what the eye-witness said was either true or (at least) closer to the truth than the tale of the accused.

• By dashes—This tends to be a bit more forceful than parentheses. The members of the symphonic chorus all said how great—Ouch, how I hate that word!—the European tour was and how much they learned from their experience.

For more examples of the dash, consider the excerpt at the end of this chapter.

A writer who decides to employ parenthesis needs to be aware that this intrusion into the middle of the sentence can be a little startling because it is introduced suddenly and is not actually part of the syntax of the rest of the sentence. Parenthesis, with its unexpected “dropping in of the writer,” provides the reader with a kind of immediacy and spontaneity. It’s almost as if the writer and the reader were involved in a private conversation. The parenthesis can also provide a specific context precisely when it is needed rather than wait for the following sentence or two. For example: His guitar (he always thought of it as his right arm) was missing again.

It’s now time for you to practice (Oh, no, not again!) recognizing and constructing examples of parenthesis.

Warm-Up 17


• Here’s an example of parenthesis that I found: __________




I located this example in ______________________________.

This example makes use of __________, and the result is to __________ be more conversational __________ provide added information in the immediate context.

• Here is my own example of parenthesis: __________




This example makes use of _____, and the result is to _____be more conversational ____________ provide added information in the immediate context.


Carefully read each of the following statements and identify the rhetorical device/figure of speech contained in each. Some may contain more than one device. You may choose from among these terms:















Rhetorical question



______________ 1. The village went to sleep, window by window. (Edmund Gilligan)

______________ 2. You are as cold and pitiless as your own marble. (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

______________ 3. But if possibility of evil be to exclude good, no good ever can be done. (Samuel Johnson)

______________ 4. Frankly, my dear, I don’t feel like dining out.

______________ 5. The true nature of man, his true good, true virtue, and true religion are things which cannot be known separately. (Blaise Pascal)

______________ 6. Clang battleaxe, and crash brand! Let the King reign. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

______________ 7. His first irresistible notion was that the whole China Sea had climbed on the bridge. (Joseph Conrad)

______________ 8. Roll on, thou dark blue ocean, roll. (George Gordon, Lord Byron)

______________ 9. He employs over 100 hands on his ranch in Wyoming.

______________ 10. Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard. (Alfred Noyes)

______________ 11. And called for flesh and wine to feed his spears. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

______________ 12. Who among you would choose not to attend the rally?

______________ 13. The winner of the Indie 500 told reporters that the win was not his but the result of teamwork.

______________ 14. Sat gray-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone. (John Keats)

______________ 15. The setting sun—red tail-light of the departing day. (Richard Kinney)

______________ 16. The furrow followed free. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

______________ 17. Look, he’s winding up the watch of his wit; / By and by it will strike. (Shakespeare)

______________ 18. There are millions of people waiting to get through the door.

______________ 19. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. (John F. Kennedy)

______________ 20. [to Hero,] Thou pure impiety and impious purity . . . (Shakespeare)

(You will find the answers to this self-test in Appendix IV.)

Rhetorical Techniques


Now that you’ve flexed your rhetorical device muscles, you need to move on to the next part of your training routine—rhetorical techniques. Rhetorical techniques are HOW you use these tools, when, where, how often. It all has to do with choice—choices the writer makes when presenting a particular subject to a specific audience for a specific purpose. These choices revolve around the following:

image diction

image syntax

image tone and attitude

image organization

image point of view

image attribution


Let’s begin this set of exercises with diction. You may know diction as word choice. It’s the conscious decision the author makes when choosing vocabulary to create an intended effect. There is almost an infinite number of ways to describe diction. Some of the most often used terms are formal, informal, poetic, heightened (used for special ceremonies and events), pretentious, slang, colloquial, ordinary, simple, complex, etc. A perceptive writer is always aware of the audience, purpose, AND is sensitive to the connotation and denotation of word choice. It makes a difference.

For example, let’s suppose you are writing some e-mails or instant messages to several people, including your grandmother, about your birthday celebration.

• How would you describe this event in an instant message to a friend who lives two states away from you?

• How would you describe it in an e-mail to your closest friend from camp?

• And, how would you describe the day’s party to your grandmother?

We’re betting that your word choice and selection of detail would be quite different in each scenario. Now, you have the idea. It’s using the right word in the right place.

Let’s look at a situation together. You wake up in the morning with a toothache. You call your dentist and say, “My tooth aches.” What kind of pain are you experiencing? Is it sharp, piercing, throbbing, grinding, stabbing, shooting, gnawing, burning, excruciating, agonizing, tortuous, racking, unbearable? Each one of these words has its own denotation and connotation. Do you want to indicate to the dentist that you need immediate relief, even before seeing him or her? Do you want the dentist to see you right away? Is it an emergency? Can it wait? Are you afraid? What is it you want to convey about this toothache? MAKE A CHOICE. Because this toothache is unbearable, you want relief even before you see the dentist. And, because it is an excruciating, stabbing pain, you need to see the dentist ASAP, if not sooner. If you look at the underlined words, it becomes clear that the choices made are indicative of a cry for immediate help. This is diction.

As another example, look at the following statements about fog.

1. Fog forms in the same way as clouds. In fact, fog is a cloud that is on the ground, or with its bottom very near the ground.

2. Mists of fog rolled in waves through the tunnels of streets girded with a chain of street lamps.

3. The fog comes in on little cat feet.

• Which one of these statements is atmospheric and almost gloomy? __________

• Which one is not threatening, but rather soft and appealing? __________

• Which one is matter-of-fact, straight to the point, simple? __________

The first statement is straightforward, using ordinary language and is from an encyclopedia entry provided by USA The second compares fog to surf and includes images of chains and girding. It is not matter of fact, but vivid and edgy. This is from a short story by Isaac Babel titled “Guy de Maupassant.” And, the third statement has fog portrayed as a small, gentle cat. This is a line from Carl Sandberg’s poem “Fog.” Each one of these examples, all with fog as the subject, has a definite effect and purpose. And, that effect is created, and its purpose is developed via diction.

Carefully read each of the following passages.

The skeletal passage:

There was a very loud rap song coming from another car. It was so loud the driver could hear every beat and syllable even with his windows rolled up. The lyrics this so-called artist sang were off-color to say the least.

The fleshed-out passage:

A rap song was pounding out of the Camaro with such astounding volume, Roger Too White could hear every single vulgar intonation of it even with the Lexus’s windows rolled up. How’m I spose a love her . . . —sang or chanted, or recited, or whatever you were supposed to call it, the guttural voice of a rap artist named Doctor Rammer Doc. Doc, if it wasn’t utterly ridiculous to call him an artist. (A Man in Full, Tom Wolff)

• Let’s consider the diction in the two versions.

Is the subject the same? ____________ yes ____________ no

Is the sequencing the same? ______________________________

Is the effect the same? ______________________________

(The answer to the first question is yes. For the second question, the answer is for the most part, yes. In answer to the third, definitely not. The effect of the first is one of basic disapproval. The effect of the second is blunt, forceful, and prosecutorial. In the first, there is little specificity and few words to indicate disapproval and how strong it is. However, the second passage has specifics regarding makes of cars, names of characters, and a sample of lyrics. Words and phrases such as “astounding volume,” “vulgar intonation,” “guttural voice,” and “utterly ridiculous” all contribute to the overall effect of searing disapproval. This is the result of diction.)


Syntax and diction are usually considered together, so we’ll continue that tradition. Basically, syntax is the grammatical structure of sentences. We do not mean the strict grammatical construction that you learned in the lower grades. We mean the carefully chosen sentence structure and variety a writer uses to develop the subject, purpose, and/or effect. For example, “I read that article last night,” and “That article I read last night” use exactly the same words and are equally valid sentences, but the structure and the effect of each is different. This is syntax. To discuss syntax, you should have a working knowledge of each of the terms in the following list of basics.

image phrases (at the same time)

image main clauses (Horatio watches the Today show.)

image subordinate clauses (before Horatio goes to work)

image declarative sentence (Horatio watches.)

image imperative sentence (Horatio must watch.)

image exclamatory sentence (Horatio really watches!)

image interrogative sentence (Does Horatio watch the Today show?)

image simple sentence (Horatio watches the Today show.)

image compound sentence (Horatio watches the Today show, and he eats his breakfast at the same time.)

image complex sentence (As Horatio eats his breakfast, he watches the Today show.)

image compound–complex sentence (Before he goes to work, Horatio eats his breakfast, and he watches the Today show at the same time.)

image loose sentence (Horatio watches the Today show, and he eats his breakfast at the same time.)

image periodic sentence (Before going to work and while eating his breakfast, Horatio watches the Today show.)

image inverted sentence (The Today show Horatio does watch.)

image paragraphing

image punctuation and spelling


If you are not comfortable with any of these items, we suggest, as always, you consult with your English instructor. You may also want to consult the handbook section of an English composition book, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, or one of the Web sites we list in Appendix III.

Wrap your know-how around this exercise. See if you can combine the following short, simple sentences into an example of the specified sentence type.

Warm-Up Exercises

Warm-Up 18


The pilot flew the plane. The plane landed smoothly. The plane landed at O’Hare Airport. The passengers were quite happy. The passengers had been on a long trip. The plane landed safely.

Combine these brief sentences to create the following:

Compound sentence: ______________________________



Complex sentence: ______________________________



Compound–complex sentence: ______________________________



Periodic sentence: ______________________________



(If you would like to check your sentences with the ones we constructed, go to Appendix IV.)

The words an author chooses and how those words are arranged and organized creates the intended meaning and effect. Syntactical patterns heighten the literary experience because they help lead the reader to “get” the emotional and intellectual connotations of the actual text. When presenting ideas to an audience, the writer should consider what will best create the desired meaning and effect. The noted short story writer Isaac Babel said, “No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place.”

image Do you want to sound like a poet? Try unusual or inverted word order. Imitating Robert Frost, a writer could state, “Whose books these belong to I think I know.” This is more unusual than the ordinary “I believe I know who owns these books.”

image Sentence length can also add to the effect. For example, notice the different “feel” you get from the same information presented using two different sentence length patterns.

1. “I drive. I have a driving problem. The problem is speed. This problem leads to something. It leads to getting tickets. These tickets could lead to suspension of my driver’s license. I must slow down. I must control my need to speed.”

2. “I have this need to speed that has led to two speeding tickets over the past year. If I don’t slow down, I’m going to end up having my driver’s license suspended.”

image The use of punctuation within sentences is another contributing factor in the development of meaning and effect.

image Interruptions inside sentences can have a direct effect on the meaning. (parentheticals, direct address, apostrophes, exclamations, quotations, etc.)

image Parallel structure can help create balance and emphasis.

image A shift in word order can indicate that an important idea is being presented.

Take a deep breath and practice recognizing diction and syntax and their effects. Carefully read the following passage from Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and answer the questions that follow.

Warm-Up 19


In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was after his favorite sport squirrel shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and re-echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that crowded the brow of a precipice. From an opening between the trees, he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

• This passage contains ____________ sentences.

Sentences ____________ and ____________ begin with prepositional phrases.

Sentence __________begins with a participial phrase.

Sentences ____________ and ____________ begin with the subject.

The two compound sentences are ____________ and _____.

Sentences ____________ and ____________ are simple.

The only complex sentence is _____.

There are ____________ loose sentences and ____________ periodic sentences.

Based on this information, I can describe these sentences as _____all similar, _____varied.

• The main subject of this passage is ______________________________.

Its purpose is to _____inform, _____amuse, _____describe, _____argue.

The sentences in the passage _____do, _____do not contain many descriptive phrases set off by commas.

The two items given the most coverage in this excerpt are ____________ and _____.

• An example of personification can be found in sentence _____.

• The diction can be described as: (Check all that apply.)


• Based on all of the above information, I can conclude that the overall effect of this passage is


(You can find the answers to these questions in Appendix IV.)

Tone and Attitude

Tone and attitude are the combination of diction, syntax, and rhetorical devices combined to create the specific written work. If you want to discuss an author’s perception about a subject and its presentation to an audience, you are involved with tone and attitude. The concept here may best be understood by thinking of “tone of voice.” Consider how many different meanings the word “yes” can have simply by changing your voice or combining it with body language. A writer doesn’t have this available; therefore, he or she must use words and structure to do the same thing.

Generally speaking, most writing programs divide tone into three categories:

Informal tone is used in everyday writing and speaking and in informal writing. It includes:



regional expressions

(Example: We were really ticked off when we missed the train to the city.)

Semiformal tone is what students use in assigned essays for their classes. This includes:

standard vocabulary

conventional sentence structure

few or no contractions

(Example: We were quite annoyed when we missed the train to the city.)

Very formal tone is what you would find in a professional, scholarly journal or a paper presented at an academic conference. In this situation, you might find:

polysyllabic words

professional jargon

complex syntax that you would not use in ordinary conversations or informal writing

(Example: Unable to catch the commuter train into the city because of a series of miscalculations, we found ourselves in a state of annoyance.)

An author’s attitude also includes his or her relationship to his audience as well as to his or her subject. When discussing a writer’s attitude toward the reader, consider if he is

image talking down to the audience as an advisor

image talking down to the audience as a satirist

image talking to the audience as an equal

image talking up to the audience as a subordinate or supplicant.

Tone and attitude can be described in myriad ways. Some of the more frequent descriptors are:



It is important to note that a combination of two of these describers is sometimes used, such as “That editorial was critical and didactic.”

• Create your own review. Carefully read this fictitious movie review and answer the questions that follow.

Warm-Up 20


Little Miss Muffet is a perfunctory sci-fi thriller boasting one or two harrowing and confusing plot turns. Miss Muffet is toyed with, not acted, by Sandi Curls, who is often a jump ahead of her nemesis—though not always of the audience. The problem with Muffet is that it’s heavy on plot and lurid teasers but light on character development. Miss Muffet frightens away any and all interested spiders.

The tone of this review is basically _____informal, _____semiformal, _____formal.

Using the list of describers, I would use the following word(s) to characterize the tone of the review: ______________________________.

These are the words/phrases that help develop this tone. __________



(If you are interested in our answers, you can find them in Appendix IV.)


To really flex and strengthen your tone and attitude muscles, you can apply the activity above to real review of movies, TV shows, theater, recordings, artwork, books, technology, etc. Use your highlighter or pen to underline those words/phrases that create the tone and attitude you perceive. You might want to keep a collection of favorites for review purposes or to share with your classmates. It’s good practice.

Another flexing activity you can try is to take a very simple sentence such as “The car came down the street” and create several different kinds of tone by changing the verb and adding different describers (adjectives, adverbs, metaphors, similes).


How do you organize your clothes closet? It might be even closer to the truth if we asked, “Do you organize your closet?” In any event, would the organization—or lack of it—tell us something about you? We’re betting it would. Likewise, how you organize your English notebook can tell a perceptive observer a good deal about your study habits, interests in the field of English, and your willingness to complete assignments.

So, too, with writing. The way an author presents ideas to an audience is termed organization. Having practiced with the different rhetorical strategies, you should be familiar with the following organizational patterns that are most often used:


It should be added that readers respond to organizational patterns. They become aware of the way an author perceives the subject and the world around that subject, and, because of this, the purpose, effect, and tone of the piece are further developed.

Point of View

Point of view is a companion technique to organization. You have all had experience identifying it in literary works. Point of view is the method the writer uses to narrate the story. They are:

image First person: The narrator is the main character of the tale. (I played tennis.)

image Third person objective: The narrator is an uninvolved reporter. (She played tennis.)

image Third person omniscient: The narrator is an all-knowing onlooker who tells the reader what the character is thinking, gives background information, and provides material unknown to the characters. (She played tennis unaware that a scout from her first-choice college was in the stands.)

image Stream-of-consciousness: The reader is placed inside the mind of the character and is privy to all his random or spontaneous thoughts. (Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse)

image Interior monologue: A type of stream-of-consciousness, it lets the reader in on a character’s on-going thoughts, perception, commentary about a particular subject. (i.e., Hamlet’s soliloquy: “To be or not to be . . .”)


If using outside sources in support of your thesis, as a responsible writer you will need to give credit to these sources and place them appropriately within the text of your essay. You could select from among the following techniques.

For our purposes, we will be referring to this excerpt taken from an ABC News broadcast of June 21, 2010, reported by Russell Goodman of the Associated Press.

Connecticut Trial to Determine if Cheerleading Is a Sport

Five members of the Quinnipiac University women’s volleyball team, and the team’s coach, have sued the school for dismantling the team to use the money for a cheerleading squad.

The players argue that cheerleading does not meet federally defined standards for a “sport” under Title IX, the groundbreaking civil rights law that requires schools to allocate resources equally to men’s and women’s sports teams . . .

“The outcome of this case could have a chilling effect on women’s athletics programs if cheerleading is deemed a sport,” said Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota and a Title IX expert unaffiliated with the case.

“No one wants to denigrate cheerleading, but should it be considered sport at the expense of legitimate women’s competitive team sports? It’s a question of equality,” Kane said. “How would people react if the school cut a men’s sport like baseball or lacrosse and used those funds for a male cheerleading squad?”

The women volleyball players say a men’s team would never lose funding in favor of cheerleading and the players are the subjects of sex discrimination.

“The student plaintiffs allege that the defendant’s ongoing sex discrimination in the operation of its varsity athletic program violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” the students said in their lawsuit.

Though Quinnipiac, located in Hamden, CT, and known more for its political polling than its athletics programs and is a private school, it receives some federal funding and is therefore subject to Title IX requirements.

Ways to Provide Attribution

Direct Quotation—Full Citation Provided Within the Sentence

Example: In an ABC newscast of June 21, 2010, Russell Goodman reported that Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota and a Title IX expert unaffiliated with the case, stated “The outcome of this case could have a chilling effect on women’s athletics programs if cheerleading is deemed a sport.”

Direct Quotation—Citation Placed Outside the Text

Example: “The outcome of this case could have a chilling effect on women’s athletics programs if cheerleading is deemed a sport,” said Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota and a Title IX expert unaffiliated with the case (Goodman, ABC News, June 21, 2010).

Paraphrase of the Third and Fourth Paragraphs—Citation Placed Outside the Text

Example: In a recent interview, Mary Jo Kane, a Title IX expert unconnected to the case, maintains that if cheerleading is ruled to be a legitimate sport, women’s collegiate sports programs would be seriously damaged (Goodman, ABC News, June 21, 2010).

Combination of Direct Quotation and Paraphrase—Citation Provided Outside the Text (Note the use of the ellipsis.)

Example: In a recent ABC news broadcast, Mary Jo Kane, a Title IX expert unconnected to the case, maintains that if cheerleading is ruled to be a legitimate sport, women’s collegiate sports programs would be seriously damaged. Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota, stated, “It’s a question of equality. How would people react if the school cut a men’s sport like baseball or lacrosse and used those funds for a male cheerleading squad?” (Goodman, ABC News, June 21, 2010)

Warm-Up 21


Using the cheerleading report above, construct an example of each of the following types of citations. Use different quotations than the ones used above in the examples.

• Direct Quotation—Citation Provided Within the Text




• Direct Quotation—Citation Provided Outside the Sentence




• Paraphrase the Third and Fourth Paragraphs—Citation Provided Outside the Text




• Combination of Direct Quotation and Paraphrase—Citation Provided Outside the Text





When you talk about a writer’s choices and the pattern of these choices you are in the world of literary style.

“It’s not my style.” “Have you seen the style section of the newspaper?” “She dresses with such style.” “What style house is that?” “I love standup comedy, but I don’t really like the slap-stick style of comedy.” Sound familiar? We use or hear or see the word style almost everyday. But, if you were to ask someone to define style, chances are that person would have a difficult time putting it into words. So, we’ll do it for you. Style is the unique way an author consistently presents ideas. An author’s choice of diction, syntax, imagery, rhetorical devices, structure, and content all contribute to a particular style. It’s an author’s writing pattern, if you will. Writing style can vary from author to author, subject to subject, period to period, and even among the same author’s different works.

If you were given an empty room and asked to make it your own, what would you do with it? What would you use the room for? What color would you paint the walls? What would be your major piece of furniture? What would be your other pieces of furniture and accessories? How would you light the room? What would you put on the walls and the windows?

You get the idea. Once the room is finished to your specifications, it is yours; it is your style. Thinking about and discussing writing style is very similar to the above process. Any writer comes to the blank page with an idea and purpose in mind. The writer’s style is the result of all the decisions made about how to present that idea to achieve that purpose.

This is true whether you are examining your own writing style or that of a professional writer. Before going any further, here is a list of those items that literary analysts consider when looking at style:



You’re already familiar with the flexing and stretching exercises for these items. So, as this part of the chapter progresses, you will be examining and practicing how to use them when discussing writing style.

Your first style exercise may be difficult, but don’t refuse to do it.

This exercise is about YOUR writing style. If you come across a term that you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, check the index of this book or the handbook section of your writing textbook, or ask your AP English instructor. One of these sources is bound to clear things up for you.

Warm-Up 22


• Take one of your essays from your portfolio and complete the following inventory.

My subject is ______________________________.

I use the following mode of discourse: ______________________________.

The primary rhetorical strategy I use to develop my subject is _______________


My purpose is ______________________________.

My audience is ______________________________.

The essay has ____________ paragraphs.


I use a lot of:

simple, monosyllabic words._____ yes _____no

complicated, polysyllabic words._____ yes _____no

jargon and/or clichés. ____________ yes_____ no

passive voice. ____________ yes ____________ no

My essay contains the following rhetorical devices: (Check the devices you find times the number of times you use that device in this essay. For example: × analogy × 3)



The essay also has the following figures of speech: (identify, plus times used; for example: × simile × 7)


I’ve read over my complete essay, and I like the following sentence(s) the most.





Now, here is a difficult question. Why do you like this sentence? Be honest. No one will see this if you don’t want them to. ______________________________



If you had to describe or categorize your own writing, what would you choose from the list below? (Circle all that apply.)



Quite a list isn’t it? Actually, this is only about one-third of the descriptors we’ve seen used to discuss literary style. Don’t panic. We are not going to have you working out with each of these terms. However, this list is a handy one to have when you begin to think and talk about your writing style or that of another.

To return to your writing style. If you completed the above activities, you have a pretty good idea about how you write in one, specific instance. If you continue to employ these same tactics in most of your other writing, you could say you have a definite style.

You would use this same process if you wanted to examine the writing style of a particular writer. For example, many English instructors, literary critics, and general readers characterize the writing of Ernest Hemingway as having:


As another example, when describing the writing style of Isaac Babel, one writer described Babel’s style as exhibiting:

image economy of words

image construction of images from unusual pairings

image juxtaposing disparate items.

This writer sees Babel’s style as tightly tied to the mood of the narrator, his sense of selfhood, his family, the history of his people, and the political situation in which he finds himself. Finally, Isaac Babel’s style is characterized as “lush without being over the top.” With practice, you, too, should be able to examine a writer’s work and to describe and characterize the literary style.


Total Workout

No pain, no gain. Here’s the final exercise for this chapter.

• Carefully read the passage below, excerpted from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and answer the questions that follow.

True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Harken! And observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees—very gradually—I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. Now, this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with what caution—with what foresight—with what dissimulation I went to work! And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it—oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! Would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously—oh, so cautiously—cautiously (for the hinges creaked)—I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights—every night just at midnight—but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

1. The subject of this passage is ______________________________.

2. The purpose of this passage is to ____________ inform, ____________ describe, ____________ entertain, _____argue.

3. The passage is told from which point of view? _____first, _____third objective, _____third omniscient, _____stream-of-consciousness, _____interior monologue

4. Which two punctuation marks, not used often by most writers, does this author use quite frequently? ______________________________ and (Note: There are three uses for dashes: (1) indicating sudden change, (2) making parenthetical or explanatory material stand out, and (3) summarizing preceding material.)

5. The author uses the dash to ______________________________


6. An exclamation point is used to indicate sudden or strong emotions. The author of this excerpt employs the exclamation point to indicate ____________ sudden, _____strong emotions.

7. With your answer to question 6 in mind, why can the use of the exclamation point after “—oh so gently” be termed ironic? ______________________________

8. In the phrase “—oh, so cautiously—cautiously (for the hinges creaked),” why would the author use the actual ( ) rather than more dashes? __________________________________________

9. To which two senses does this passage focus its attention? ____________ and _____

10. Check the rhetorical devices found in this excerpt.


11. Does this passage use punctuation that contributes to the development of the meaning and effect? _____yes _____no

12. Does the passage use interrupters that contribute to the development of the meaning and effect? _____yes _____no

13. The sentences in this excerpt are all similar varied.

14. The passage does does not contain many descriptive phrases.

15. Which words does the author repeat frequently in this passage?


16. The diction can be described as (check those that apply)


17. Based on all of the above information, I can conclude that the overall effect of this passage is (check those that apply)


18. Based on my close reading of this passage, I can describe the author’s style as (check those that apply):


19. The excerpt at the beginning of this workout is from pages 3 to 4 of the “Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. The short story is included in Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1983 by Bantam Books, New York, NY. If you were writing an essay about creating tension and suspense in a narrative, how would you provide an appropriate citation for this particular excerpt from “The Tell-Tale Heart”? Check those that correctly apply.

_____ . . . can be analyzed in Poe’s short story (Writing the AP English Essay, p. 90).

_____ In the 1983 Bantam Classics edition of The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories, Poe begins to establish in the first paragraph of the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” . . .

_____ . . . the pacing begins to build (Poe, pp. 2–3).

(You can find the answers to these questions in Appendix IV.)

Your warm-up exercises are now completed. You have reviewed and practiced with the basics of modes of discourse in Chapter 3, rhetorical strategies in Chapter 4, and rhetorical devices and techniques, and the elements of literary style in this chapter. You are now ready to step up to a full-fledged writing routine. It is important to keep in mind that you can always return to these warm-up activities and flex those writing muscles that can become stiff and flabby if not used regularly.

Your Rhetorical Keystone


Rhetorical Triangle Schema


This diagram is an enhanced look at Aristotle’s classical rhetorical triangle. All writers must be aware of three focus points: 1) the subject – what are you going to write about? 2) the audience – for whom are you writing? 3) YOU, the writer, how you going to engage this audience?

BUT, not only must the writer address these three focal points, she must be fully aware of WHY (intent) she is presenting this writing and the SITUATION (context) in which this writing is being presented.