argument and persuasion discussion post lavern


DB Three: RA Essay Introduction

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The Rhetorical Analysis Essay assignment asks you to to introduce your documentary with a a summary discussion of the film’s rhetorical situation— author, audience, message, context. Summary seems simple on the surface: it’s just putting another author’s ideas into your own original words. In practice, though, this is one of the most challenging aspects of writing academic work.

Your summary should include the use of “signal” phrases or “author tags”; guidance about how to draft a summary can be found in the Week 1 Module. Here is an example of the summary introduction from one of my model student essays”

In Susan Saladoff’s 2011 documentary Hot Coffee, the director outlines the issue of tort reform and demonstrates the different methods that corporations have employed for reducing citizens’ access to the civil justice system. The through line of the films involves the famous case of Stella Liebeck, the 81-year-old woman who sued McDonald’s after receiving third degree burns from a spilled cup of their coffee. Saladoff argues how this case, among others, was used in the media to create the impression that there was widespread abuse of the civil justice process. The film then chronicles the advent of tort reform legislation, which claims to protect businesses against frivolous lawsuits, but does so by restricting the rights of consumers seeking damages in civil cases.

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