The Obligation to Endure


Analysis Essay

(quotations from Barnet’s Current Issures and Enduring Questions)

Most of your writing in other courses and in your employment will consist of analyzing someone else’s ideas, notes, writing, speeches, and others. For instance, you may be required to analyze a report on a correlation between fatal accidents and drunk drivers. Therefore, “Much of your writing, in short, will set forth reasoned responses to your reading, as preparation for making an argument of your own” (133).

For this assignment you will write a rhetorical analysis of an essay. Choose one of the following essays on which to analyze and write your paper:

Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” (763)

Rachel Carson’s “The Obligation to Endure” (789)

Both essays are from Practical Argument.

The two aspects of analysis you will want to pay particular ettention to are the author’s purpose and methods. In other words, your essay will need to answer the three-part question:

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1. What is the author doing (the purpose and claim of the article)?

2. How does the author argue his or her point (types of reasoning, use of support, appeals to values, methods of argument, use of style and tone, etc.)?

3. Why does the author choose to argue in that manner?

In the first paragraph of your analysis, you will answer question one. Explain here what the author’s purpose and thesis is, give a brief summary of the work you are analyzing, and state your thesis (ie. what you will analyze).

Obviously, your body paragraphs should set forth your analysis and support your thesis. There is no one “right” way of analyzing an essay. Yet, your analysis should examine the author’s arguments, evidence, credibility, use of appeals, and the effectiveness of his/her argument.


This essay should be 3-5 pages in lenght and include MLA style in-text citations of any paraphrases, summaries, or quatations of the article you are analyzing. Also, include a work cited page in MLA style. further explanation of MLA documentation can be found in your textbook.

“Although your essay is an analysis of someone else’s writing, and you may have to include a summary of the work you are writing about, your essay is your essay. The thesis, the organization, and the tone are yours.” (137)

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