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Commonplaces, Paper #2 due: 9/21
Worth: 50 points

Choose a text that is connected to the main issue you have chosen to address in this class.  Your goal for this paper is to analyze the commonplaces used by rhetors who take a certain position on a topic or issue. Look closely at the text, its target audience, and explain how the commonplaces work on the target audience (in subtle and obvious ways). For some examples of commonplaces that are effective among various American audiences, consider the ideologies listed by Hirsch and Zinn on pages 109-110 of Crowley and Hawhee.

Following are some additional commonplaces in our society. Each of them is more persuasive to some groups of people than it may be to others.

Bigger is better. To the victors belong the spoils. All is fair in love and war. Above all be fair. Politicians are inevitably untrustworthy. Self reliance is a virtue. This is the greatest country on earth. He who dies with the most toys, wins. We should be stewards of the earth’s resources. Hard work and determination are ultimately rewarded. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Attractive people are more successful and happier. Money can’t buy happiness.

These are just examples, and none may fit the issue you have chosen. This paper asks you to make explicit the commonplaces operating in a topic you’ve chosen and to explain how rhetors use them to persuade an audience. Generally, your paper will be more successful if you pursue depth rather than breadth; for example, it’s better to explain one commonplace fully than to catalog a dozen of them but treat each shallowly.

This project should be word-processed in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, and ONE PAGE. Please follow MLA conventions.

If possible, photocopy the text you’re analyzing and staple it to the analysis.