ENGL 355 Rhetoric of Style
ENGL 355 Rhetoric of Style

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Assignment Values

Assignment Due Date Value
Imitation Analysis Notebook Twice 20%
Sentence Analysis Exam 10/26 15%
Tropes & Schemes Exam 11/19 15%
Analysis Paper 1 9/30 10%
Analysis Paper 2 12/02 12/10 25%
Style Experiments 12/10 15%
Attendance 12/10 15%

Assignment Descriptions

These are intended as overviews of the general goals of each assignment. Longer hand-outs will be provided along with discussion of the assignments during class.

Imitation / Analysis Notebook

Throughout the course, you will be asked to produce short imitation and short analyses of the readings we do for class. Twice in the semester, the notebooks will be collected and graded.


For the imitation, you may write about whatever subject matter you choose, though you are required (and will be evaluated on ability to) write imitating the style of the piece we are working with.


For the analysis piece, we will have discussed some concept relating to the theory of rhetorical style in the previous lesson. Evaluate the author’s use of that concept, citing specific examples, and discuss how this concept benefits their overall rhetorical purpose in writing.

Due Dates

  • 9/19
  • 12/05

Sentence Analysis Exam

Having learned the vocabulary for discussing and the methods for parsing the rhetorical implications of sentence construction, you will be given a test to demonstrate your newfound abilities.

Tropes & Schemes Exam

Similar to the first exam, you will be evaluated on your ability to use tropes and schemes, as well as to identify them in the writing of others.

Analysis Paper 1

Pick a text we have not discussed in class. In 4 pages, describe the overall feel of the text. This can be both how you feel about the text but, more importantly, how the author wants you to feel as you read. The challenge of this portion of the assignment is twofold: one, how do we describe a feeling without attempting to reproduce it ourselves? two, how do we use evidence from the text to support our claims about this feeling?

Having described the feeling, explain why that feeling matters by considering the context in which the text was produced. This portion of the assignment will more than likely require outside research into the author’s biography, the political environment in which it was written, and the general culture of the times at which it was produced.

Analysis Paper 2

Revising and expanding your first paper, you can now more accurately leverage the skills you have acquired in this class to describe the mood of the piece. This paper will be 8 to 10 pages in length and will include additional elements beyond the first.

In addition to the revision of the first argument, spend some time getting into detail about the stylistic devices the writing uses to present it’s point. This detailed discussion is not intended to be a laundry list of tropes, schemes, and sentence structure; rather, I expect you to tie this argument to a larger meditation on the constraints, strategies, motivations, and cultural contexts that shape the writing in question.

Style Experiments

The semester will conclude with a few challenges that ask you to further display what you have learned during the course of the semester. These short tasks will stretch your understanding of style and ask you to consider your relationship to writing. A list of possible experiments will be provided. You will be asked to choose and complete two.