reading and writing 19

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Prompt: Online Legends

This assignment asks you to produce a sophisticated rhetorical analysis of online legends (or creepypasta) as a genre.

Outcomes

  • Develops clear and cogent analyses and convincing arguments about rhetoric and the class topic
  • Identifies and articulates concepts related to genre
  • Selects credible and relevant material from readings and outside sources to support a point or argument
  • Situates, integrates, and contextualizes different types of evidence effectively while
  • Rewrites and edits language, style, tone, and sentence structure according to genre
  • Plans and executes a revision process that does not rely onlyon direction from the

distinguishing your voice from those voices in your sources

Demonstrates effective organization and style – for a particular purpose, within a particular genre, to a particular audience, ie: the academic ethos

and audience expectations

instructor, developing ownership and originality of both the writing process and final product to revise purposefully

Assignment
This essay asks you to deepen your exploration of the online legend genre as a distinct genre of storytelling, entertainment, and digital media. This essay proceeds from the premise that online legends share a set of generic conventionsthat are distinct from other kinds of stories, in terms not just of their content, but their purpose, function, form, and distribution in the world. Further, this presumes that online legends relate to reality in such a way that influences how they, as stories, are told, to whom they are told, how they are told, and why they are “believed.” Finally, this essay suggests that online legends come in a variety of forms, each with their own distinct conventions (ie: textual creepypasta vs. visual creepypasta, and everything in between). Your task then is to define online legends as a whole and to make an argumentfor why your definition helps clarify both what an online legend isand what it is not.

In order to do this, you will need identify the generic conventions of online legends, based on your reading, research, and analysis this quarter, and illustrate these conventions by using evidence from primary and secondary sources. You will also choose at least one central, core example of an online legend (separate from the Slender Man legend)—to analyze and discuss as it relates to the definition of online legends you have constructed. This will be your controlling example, though you may use other additional examples of online legends to help scaffold your claims and deepen your ideas. Finally, your essay should spend some time discussing how context influences online legends, ie: the role of the internet, social media, and the digital age in the “ostensive practice” and communication of these stories.

It is important in this essay that you don’t simply present a disconnected list of observations about online legends. Rather, you must show how the various parts of your essay connect to one another to form a larger argument about what makes online legends unique, and what defines them, according to your point of view. Further, it is not necessary to treat each aspect of your analysis (ie: each objective discussed in the previous paragraphs) in equal measure. Your essay might focus primarily on context, or on the contentof the online legend(s) you’re discussing, or on audience. On the other hand you might write an essay that attempts to very narrowly look at the messages these legends send about the nature of human beings, or the world in which we live, for example. As previously stated, you may focus on one particular online legend alone, or you may use one central example scaffolded by several others. You may focus on defining sub-genres of online legends based on your own observations and attempt to draw connections between them or focus on a single sub-genre and explore all of its various components, or perhaps you may attempt to argue that online legends are not a meaningful genre at all and that we need to study and understand them in some more complex way. Basically, what this means is, you have the freedom to pursue this topic in whatever way you feel is most interesting and insightful to YOU. I need you to show me that you understand what oline legends areand what genre is, but beyond those two core outcomes, the rest—the details and how you get there—that’s all up to you.

As usual, the more specific and ambitious the arguments the better. I am not looking for a stack of cookie-cutter papers that all look exactly the same. There is no “correct” argument to make in this paper, just like there is no “correct” way to define a sandwich, just like ther eis no “correct” way to define the online legend genre. In your paper, I am looking for a perspective that reflects you as an individual, an academic, and a human with a distinct point of view on the world.

Requirements
You will be required to include both primary and secondary sources to strengthen your arguments, including quotes directly from Slender Man is Comingandyour own research. Including Slender Man is Coming, you must use at least, but are not limited to, three separate sources(ie: articles, essays, informative websites, etc.) which all must be catalogued in a properly formatted MLA works cited page. Your works cited page should also contain citations for all ostensive material that you use to illustrate the legends you’re discussing, including any videos, wikis, websites, forum posts, fan art, etc.


Length: 1500-1800 words, typed, double-spaced, and presented in MLA format.

Process work, including rough drafts and peer reviews, must be submitted in order for the final draft to be graded.

A rough draft, which will receive feedback from me and a peer group, will be due in Week 5. The final draft will be due at the end of Week 6.

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