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Assertion, Evidence, and Commentary

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1 Assertion, Evidence, and Commentary
By: Katelyn, Zoe, Justin, Megan, and Paige

2 Assertion, Evidence, and Commentary is used when writing a rhetorical analysis essay.

3 Assertion A statement that answers the question asked in the prompt.
Ex: What do you claim about the author’s use of language? What rhetorical strategy was used? What method did the author use to convey his message?

4 Evidence The evidence should be used to back up your assertion.
The evidence comes directly from the text. It is an example from the passage that supports the claim. It should be a direct quote or paraphrased line from the given passage.

This is the part of the essay that explains why the evidence is significant and effective in conveying the author’s purpose.

6 EXAMPLE Any animal with teeth enough will chew off its leg to escape a trap. Human beings behaved similarly when chain gang imprisonment swept through the labor-starved South during Reconstruction. Beaten and driven like maltreated beasts, shackled to one another around the clock, prisoners turned to self-mutilation to make themselves useless for work. They slashed their bodies, broke their own legs, and crippled themselves by cutting their tendons.

7 ASSERTION (what do you claim about the author’s use of language?)
EVIDENCE (where is it in the text) COMMENTARY (why is it significant and effective for the author’s purpose?) He effectively uses the rhetorical mode of comparison throughout the paragraph. “Any animal with teeth…trap”(par. 1) “Beaten and driven…useless for work” (par. 1) The Evidence: Allows reader to understand that chain gangs dehumanize their members. Conveys Staples’ seemingly negative opinion about the chain gangs. Elicits feelings of horror, anger, and/or sympathy from readers. (appeal to pathos)

8 Question #2: How does Jack use the beast to control the other boys?
Assertion Evidence Commentary The author, William Golding, has Jack use the fear of the beast to control the boys and make them afraid to live without the protection of his hunters-thereby ensuring that he is in control of the entire island. Pg. 36 “Ralph’s right of course. There isn’t a snake-thing. But if there was a snake we’d hunt it and kill it. We’re going to hunt pigs to get meat for everybody. And we’ll look for the snake too—“ Chapter 2 At the beginning of this novel, Jack is unsure about the snake-thing, but he is willing to consider that there may be something out there. His manipulation of the boys is clearly subconscious at this point and he seems to be just pacifying the younger boys. Pg. 91 “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat!” Chapter 5 In the middle of this novel, Jack is beginning to deliberately use the beast to antagonize Ralph and undermine his authority. I don’t think he intentionally uses the beast as much against the other boys (right now-it’s just Ralph) as he will later in the novel. Pg. 150 “I gave you food, and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?” Chapter 9 At this point in the novel, Jack is clearly using the beast to intimidate the others and challenge them-and Ralph’s leadership. Pg. 160 ‘“They’ll try to spoil things we do. So the watchers at the gate must be careful…and then, the beast might try to come in. You remember how he crawled…He came disguised. He may come again even though we gave him the head of our kill to eat. So watch; and be careful….Perhaps, we’d better keep on the right side of him (the beast), anyhow. You can’t tell what he might do.” The tribe considered this; and then were shaken, as if by a flow of wind. The chief saw the effect of his words and stood abruptly.’ Chapter 10 At the end of the novel, Jack is threatening the boys and telling them to worship the Lord of the Flies by offering the head of each pig killed as a sacrifice. He also tells them they did not kill Simon, but the beast. Because they are horrified by the idea that they killed their friend, they would rather accept that Simon was the beast in disguise than admit they viciously killed an innocent boy. Jack fully knows he’s exploiting the boys and enjoys his power over them. You can clearly see that he will use this pagan “religion” of the Lord of the Flies to control the boy’s behavior in the future.

9 Supporting Analysis Paragraph
Brent Staples’ effective use of the rhetorical mode of comparison allows him to convey the horrors of chain gangs. He begins his essay by explaining how “any animal with teeth enough will chew off its leg to escape a trap.” In an attempt to emphasize the dehumanizing treatment of the members of the chain gang, he connects the concept of the trapped animal to the chain gang members. By referring to the men as “beaten and driven like maltreated beasts” who are willing to turn to “self mutilation to make them selves useless for work.” Such a connection immediately allows the reader to understand the horror of the chain gangs staples sees it. These graphic details elicit emotions of sympathy for the men, and the reader begins to feel anger towards the institution that allows such a practice; the reader is then prepared for Staples’ message.


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