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Text Analysis Assignment Description

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Background: As members of a consumer culture, we perform analysis every day – we consider the messages directed toward us, and we evaluate how well or how poorly those messages achieve their purposes. We are especially adept at analyzing advertisements, and it’s no wonder: people are often trying to sell us something, and that process is a type of argument we’re very comfortable analyzing. We are skilled at determining an ad’s target audience and whether it works well or fails to interest us.

For some reason, though, we often find the analysis of text-based arguments intimidating. The important thing to remember is that an argument is fundamentally an advertisement: the author, like a company, is trying to sell you something by employing a variety of methods he thinks you, his audience, will find appealing and convincing. The company is trying to sell you a product or a service; the author is trying to sell you an idea.

When you write a text analysis, you’re making an argument about how well an author achieves his or her purpose, how well the author “sells” an idea to a target audience. The techniques authors of written texts use may be different from those employed by advertisers, but the principles are the same: authors are trying to achieve a purpose and transmit a message to a particular audience by employing a range of rhetorical techniques or tactics. The ability to understand and analyze the success of an author’s techniques is a key skill not only in college classrooms but also in everyday life.

The Task:

Find yet another piece that relates to media-related controversies in our culture, then craft a three- to four-page analytical essay that evaluates the effectiveness of your chosen author. Ultimately, to form your thesis statement, answer this question: Is this a successful piece of writing? Why or why not? To brainstorm, think about the three components of analysis:

1. What’s this author trying to do? What is his or her goal or purpose?

2. What techniques does the author try to use to achieve that goal?

3. Do these techniques work or not, given the author’s rhetorical situation?

You’ll quote, cite, and explain specific evidence from the article to support your analysis.

IN ADDITION, you must incorporate material from at least one outside source – a reliable, academic one – to confirm or refute a claim, fact, or suggestion made by the original author.

Hot tip: An editorial would work best for this assignment. Unless you really love statistics and picking apart someone else’s scientific method, data-based academic research can be a challenge to analyze.

Stick with MLA formatting for both your essay and your citations.

Text Analysis Grading Rubric

These criteria are not necessarily equal in weight, and the overall assessment is not the sum of the individual marks.

CriteriaStage of Development
Text Analysis should…EarlyMiddleLate
introduce and summarize the text being analyzed
provide an effective overall beginning
present a clear, specific analysis of the text’s overall success (thesis statement)
effectively and accurately incorporate evidence from the text to support the thesis
incorporate evidence from at least one reliable, academic outside source to confirm or refute
demonstrate logical reasoning
be clear and easy to understand
be logically organized
reflect mastery of standard English
flow well from one point to the next
exhibit writer’s awareness of text’s rhetorical situation
exhibit your awareness of your own rhetorical situation
Your audience is clearly addressed
Your tone and style are appropriate
Your purpose is clear
conclude in a satisfactory way
accurately apply MLA standards to in-text and end-of-work citations as well as overall document formatting


Student 2


Zachary Gregory

English 1100

23 October 2015

Sherry Turkle and Technology

In Sherry Turkle’s speech “Connected, but Alone?” she explains how technology is becoming our new norm. She talks about how we connect with our online world more than we physically connect with those who are realistically present around us. Turkle has studied technology and the use there of for the past 15 years (as of her talk) and looked back on the talk she gave prior to doing her study. She expresses how, as humans, we long for the attachment and security of knowing we have others to confide in. She goes on to say that that problem now is that we confide more in our virtual world to computers and technology that will never be able to truly understand and provide the same amount of love, compassion, and support that a real human being can provide. Turkle drives home her point by basically saying that we are trying to replace our human, real life, personal connections with the seemingly fulfilling response of technology. We are trying to fill our emotional void with the empty yet satisfying role of technology. Sherry Turkle is effective in her argument because she provides clear evidence from her personal research she has done, she gives great examples that support her argument, and she also has a certain emotional appeal to her audience that makes her point: technology is starting to consume and control our lives.

Turkle is a reliable source because she has a Ph.D. in Personality Psychology from Harvard University. With this note of credibility, we know, as the audience, that what Turkle is saying and the evidence she has collected through her studies can be trusted. She conducted experiments of her own over the past 15 years on the use of technology and how it is affecting our societal standards. These studies she conducted were to prove the point of how technology is taking over how we communicate with each other and also how we interact with each other.

One of her studies in particular was with elderly people at a nursing home where robots were used to show love and compassion to the residents. One resident, a woman who lost her child early in life was observed to be taking advantage of the new found listeners. “During my research I worked in nursing homes…I came in and a woman who had lost a child was talking to a robot in the shape of a baby seal…But the woman was trying to make sense of her life with a machine that had no experience of the arc of a human life…People experience pretend empathy as though it were the real thing.” (Turkle) With this being said, Turkle is not only showing how technology is advancing but also how human social interactions are declining. We, as humans, would much rather delve into our technology than face reality that is happening around us. This makes her speech effective in what she is trying to say because she is bringing the attention of the audience to what the over use of technology is doing to our society. She is essentially making us aware of the problem technology poses to the future of our society.

Another point Turkle is effective in making is that of really effective examples that are rather eye opening. The examples she gives are not ones that she looked up, though I am sure there are plenty out there, rather they are personal examples that she experienced during her research. This not only makes the point less biased from some journalist reporting on it but also has a greater affect on her audience. “People text or do email during cooperate board meetings…go on to Facebook during classes, during presentations, actually during all meetings.” (Turkle) With this Turkle is bringing up how technology is more or less controlling our actions and how we behave in different situations. As humans we know better than to text during meetings, presentations, and she even mentions later that it has happened during funerals. This is disturbing and I am sure that if we were to approach any random person on the street and told them this they would be appalled though I am sure we could find that same person texting during an inappropriate time also. We are creating a generation of hypocrisy.

Turkle provides other great examples also. One was about about an 18-year-old boy who was talking to her about the use of technology. “An 18-year-old boy who uses texting for almost everything says to me wistfully, ‘Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.’”(Turkle) This is a great example again of how technology is affecting our society and how we associate with others. Turkle says latter in her speech how we prefer texting over a real life conversation because we can edit, add, take away and even rethink what we want to say before we say it where as in real life we don’t have that much control over what we say.

Turkle has a sort of emotional appeal to her claim as well. She shows a picture very early in her speech of her daughter and her friends all hanging out together in the same room but they are all on their phones. They are together yet alone. Emotionally we long to have others with us; humans are not meant to be alone, we eventually begin to function improperly if we are alone for too long. Another example was that of a family spending a quality meal time together yet both parents are on their phones or other such devices. The children long for the undivided attention of their parents and will doing anything to get it. But when observed on their own the same kids will be playing together in the same room but blatantly ignoring each other because of their focus on the technology they are using. This is also another example of the hypocrisy mentioned earlier that technology is beginning to create in society.

We are emotional people. Different scenarios cause us to feel different emotions and affect us in different ways. When Turkle presented the example of texting during funerals, one can only imagine the emotional grasp felt by the ones surrounding that individual; even the grasp the audience feels when thinking about it. When our attention is drawn to the idea of technology becoming the new norm, we are more aware of such occurrences, but when we are not looking for such behavior we can often be caught in the act. We are letting technology control how we feel, what we feel, and even when we feel.

Turkle proves to have a very strong stance on such a controversial topic. She has put in the work to get the results that even proved her original claim on technology to be flawed, but she accepted it and then went on to teach others of her findings. Her credibility definitely helps her position of being a reliable source but it is not all that she has going for her that makes her speech appealing and believable. She gives her examples that can be related to by each member of her audience at some point during her speech. And her examples are of just the average people and also those who are famous and even idolized by some of society. Emotionally we know when the appropriate times to text and make use of technology are when our attention is drawn to the situation but when we are going about our daily schedule we can often be caught in the very act we had just condemned. Turkle’s speech gives her audience examples that they can relate to and then she also gives her audience ideas and concepts for them to toy with in their minds. Her point in doing so is to hopefully ignite the same flame in her audience that she ignited in herself on the issue.

Works cited:

Turkle, S. (2012, February 1). Connected, but Alone. Lecture presented at Ted Talk

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