The following is a draft only. The final version will be ready the first day of class, in May.

Schedule: Week 1-5

GW = group work CP = course pack

Group work is crucial to your participation mark. Make sure to read or view the assigned material at least once, and give it some thought.

WEEK 1: Rhetoric

There are no required readings for the first class. During the first several weeks, look closely at Essay StructureRhetoric, and Rhetorical Analysis Samples.  

At some point in the first several weeks, practice writing a rhetorical analysis on Atwood’s use of comparison in CP “Canadians: What Do They Want?” Then compare your analysis with the sample essay “The Bristling North” (in Rhetorical Analysis Samples).

The following videos on rhetoric should be helpful -- especially the first one: - - - - - (some of the information in this last video, especially from 4:40 to 9:30, apply to the AP -- Advanced Placement -- test and can be skipped over).

Please note that some people combine rhetorical analysis and evaluation in what they call rhetorical analysis. There's nothing wrong with this; just remember, however, that in this class, your first essay is on rhetoric and your second essay is on evaluation. In general, keep the two separate.

I suggest looking at the following: a Proctor & Gamble ad - a Taylor Swift video - a Coke ad - a Budweiser ad - a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis video 


GW - "A Wonderful Book" (Mark Twain, in Texts). You’ll work in groups on an outline that explains the structure of Twain’s text. What's the basic metaphor Twain uses? How does he extend the metaphor? How do the second and third paragraphs mirror each other? How does the fourth paragraph conclude the essay?

In exploring a rhetorical strategy, feel free to include subsidiary strategies. If you can show how strategies overlap and reinforce each other, then you are getting closer to explaining the nature of writing, which is generally complex and integrated. In good writing, strategies tend to thread through a text in a seamless way. The trick is to show how these threads flow: to show where one colour contrasts with another, and to show how the threads create minor and major patterns. (What strategy did I just use to describe good writing?).

There aren’t many required readings for the first five weeks. This gives you time to write your first essay and look ahead to your second and third essays.

In class we’ll also look at 1) the Mad Men opening credits, the Simpson's parody , and the split-screen comparative version, 2) the sample rhetorical essay on the Mad Men credits (in Rhetorical Analysis Samples), and 3) structure and rhetoric in "The Phantom" (S5 E13) - here is the final scene, which contains the song "You Only Live Twice." In Mad Men Notes you'll find the lyrics to this song.

How to Get a Good Mark

Think Ahead

Remember that for this course you absolutely must think ahead. I suggest starting a file for each of your three essays: 

1. Rhetorical Analysis: This is due at the start of class, Week 5. 

2. Evaluative Analysis: 

Start ASAP watching the first season of Mad Men and reading Cox — the one you’ll be evaluating in your in-class essay (See the schedule under Week 10).

You need to watch the first season of Mad Men, as well as “The Gold Violin” (S2 E7), “The Mountain King” (S2 E12), and “The Summer Man” (S4 E8). In the first season, pay particular attention to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (S1 E1), “Babylon” (S1 E6), and “The Wheel” (S1 E12).

As you watch the show, ask yourself, Is she right? Why or why not? What parts of the show can I use to prove my argument? What types of research do I need to do to back up my argument? Can I borrow or construct a bigger context to support my argument?  I suggest taking notes and also noting episodes (and specific times in episodes, if possible). 

3. Research Paper: Your final paper on the Internet isn’t due till Week 14, but you need to start planning for it now.

Look — ASAP! — at the topics in the Schedule under Week 14 and look at the section Research — especially the sub-section, "Things to Remember for Essay #3."

Take a good look at the topics and do some preliminary research. I suggest taking a look at this video, which is a clear overview of 10 steps to follow in writing a research paper.

Avoid summary and observation 

The biggest problem students have is summarizing or making observations when they should be making arguments. If you’re repeating content, or if you’re explaining something that’s obvious to an educated reader, then you’re not making an argument.

WEEK 3   

By way of introduction to the theme of the effect of the Internet (essay #3), we'll examine rhetoric in two trailers and in an essay by Nicholas Carr. Before class, take a good look at the two trailers for Men, Women, and Children - MWC 1 - MWC 2.

GW - CP “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (Carr). In class you'll work in groups to construct an argument that explains Carr's use of time and metaphor. How does Carr connect his historical references to the present? How does he use metaphor to make his point? How would you draw a timeline for Carr’s essay — like the one on "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (in Mad Men Notes)? 

Remember that group work contributes to your participation mark. Students who read the assigned material for the first time in class will lower their participation mark. I expect you to have already read the material and given it some thought. This way you'll be able to contribute meaningfully to your group.

Here's a chart that gets at some key moments in the history of human communication technology. What would you add to this chart? What did Carr include and what did he leave out? Why?

ryc com grab.jpeg


GW - "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" S1 E1 (written by Matthew Weiner, directed by Alan Taylor). I suggest watching the episode once for overall understanding, and then watching it again to understand its rhetoric. It may help you to look at the narrative chart in Mad Men Notes.

In groups, you’ll construct an argument about this episode based on its structure. Your thesis should go something like, “In order to suggest ___ , Taylor uses ___________ .” The trick here is to express the director’s aim in a brief way (suggest ___ ), so that you can focus in more detail on the way he uses a strategy or a combination of strategies (uses ————— ). Instead of suggest, you could use dramatize, problematize, scrutinize, manipulate, subvert, imply, assert, convince, sell, intrigue, introduce, etc. Instead of uses, you could use contrasts, defines, juxtaposes, parallels, sets up a cause and effect dynamic, employs foreshadowing — or any of the strategies listed in the 16 Categories.

You can come up with whatever argument you want, or you can come up with an argument on 1) the relation of the opening credits to the first episode, 2) the ups and downs of Don and Peggy, 3) the depiction of marginalized characters, 4) feminist challenges, 5) the way the director makes us aware of the historical situation in 1960, 6) the way space or setting determines or reflects the predicament of a character or the complexity of an issue.

In class we’ll also analyze rhetoric in the 10-minute Amritsar Massacre sequence in Gandhi, and then look at the sample rhetorical analysis essay in Gandhi (rhetorical sample). If we have time, we'll practice rhetorical analysis on various clips.

How to Do Well in Essay #1: 

1. Work hard on your outline. The outline is a requirement of this essay, yet it should also help you see the structure of your argument — that is, how your thesis statement is connected to your topic sentences.

2. Remember to make arguments, rather than summaries or observations.

- Make arguments that are structured according to the standard academic essay format – that is, with a thesis statement and topic sentences (to do this well, you must understand what an outline is).

- Make arguments that aren’t summaries or observations.

- Make arguments that don't confuse summary with rhetoric, or rhetoric with evaluation.

3. If you use sources other than the Youtube video, use the Purdue OWL website — Become familiar with this site, as it will help you in citing sources and in creating a bibliography — which will become increasingly important in this course. Remember that you don't need to cite the Youtube video itself.

4. Read the course site carefully, especially the assignment hand-in requirements in the outline and the details of the assignment in this schedule.

WEEK 5: Rhetorical analysis due (25%)

After you hand in your papers, I'll give an introduction to the evaluation section of the course. Because you have an essay due, you don't have to have any of the evaluation readings done for this class.

Essay # 1 is due at the start of class.

The essay must be typed, double-spaced, and no more than 650 words. Late essays will be docked 5% per day. Essays longer than 650 words will be marked down.

You must include a skeletal outline (125-225 words) at the start of the paper. 

For both the skeletal outline and the essay, follow the format used for the samples on the opening credits of Mad Men (in Rhetorical Analysis Samples) and Lord of War (rhetoric sample).

Don’t use a cover page or folder. Simply put your full name in the top right hand corner of all pages (i.e. Roger Clark – 4) and staple the pages together. Provide word counts for both the outline and the essay (as in the Mad Men sample). 

Write a rhetorical analysis on one of the following choices below. Except for Avengers: Infinity Wars and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the original films and shows should be on Netflix Canada.  

The Lunchbox (trailer)

The Fellowship of the Ring (trailer)

Black Panther (trailer 1)

and/or (trailer 2)

Neerja (trailer)

The Crown (season 1 trailer)

and /or (season 2 trailer)

Dear White People (opening credits)

Piku (trailer)

Greenleaf (opening credits)

Narcos (opening credits) (A translation of the theme song is at the end of this page, along with the video).

Avengers: Infinity War (trailer 1)

          and/or (trailer 2)

The essay is short, so I suggest writing a very short introduction and don’t repeat yourself in your conclusion. If you end the body of your essay on a final or concluding note, you don’t need a conclusion. The sample essays on Mad Men and Moulin Rouge! both end this way.

You don’t need to provide a bibliography or cite the credits or trailers. You’re not required to use other sources (articles, books, etc.), yet if you do, cite them according to MLA or APA format. For bibliographical information and format, sePurdue University’s OWL interactive site. The general “Research and Citation” section (screen grab below) is at — and the address for APA is

owl lab .jpeg

Tuyo (Rodrigo Amarante, 2015) / Yours (trans. RYC)

Soy el fuego que arde tu piel / I'm the fire that burns your skin
Soy el agua que mata tu sed / I'm the water that kills your thirst
El castillo, la torre yo soy / Of the castle, the tower am I
La espada que guarda el caudal / The sword that guards the treasure

Tú, el aire que respiro yo / You, the air that I breathe
Y la luz de la luna en el mar / And the light of the moon in the sea
La garganta que ansío mojar / The throat that I yearn to moisten
Que temo ahogar de amor / That I fear to drown with love

Y cuáles deseos me vas a dar, oh / And which desires are you going to give me, oh
Dices tu, mi tesoro basta con mirarlo / You say, my treasure it's enough to look at it
Y tuyo será, y tuyo será / And it will be yours, and it will be yours