Components of Analysis/AP Language
Purpose, Context, Speaker/ Ethos, Pathos, Logos
Any analysis must begin with the purpose of the text. For any text to exist, first there needs to be an occasion, an impetus--in formal discussions of rhetoric, it is usually referred to as exigence--that which motivated the text. Exigence precedes a text, so exigence does not equal purpose. Purpose is what the text, created in response to the exigence is intended to do.
• Example: A eulogy is written in response to an exigence, a community’s sorrow, grief, and need to formalize the death of a member of its community; however, the purpose of a eulogy is most likely to honor the deceased.
The purpose of any given text can vary tremendously. The purposes of texts can be multiple as well. A single text, for example, can accomplish one or more of the following purposes:
• To record information
• To help someone retain information
• To explain processes
• To communicate facts or ideas to someone else
• To explore significant and/or mixed feelings
• To figure out what one really means or thinks about a subject
• To demonstrate knowledge to others
• To share information with others
• To persuade others that they should adopt a new course of action or change opinions
• To evaluate the perspectives of others
When considering the notion of context, consider all the possible things that influence the context of any written text:
• The time period a text was written
• The significant events occurring during that time period
• The physical or virtual place the text was produced and the primary features of that place
• The primary methods of communication during that time--consider, for example, the potential differences between a telegraph message and an email message
• The cultural groups (primary or marginalized) involved as subjects of the text and/or as the...