“Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps toward Rhetorical Analysis” by Laura Bolin Carroll

Please read “Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps toward Rhetorical Analysis” by Laura Bolin Carroll and write a response to the questions below. I prefer it if you respond to this post directly, but if you choose you may create a new post.

DUE Feb. 11

Link to reading: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pfJ5zgBcuAjGi-aCUC6Vcqoe2y6KSXR2/view?usp=sharing


  • What did you think of the piece? Be honest! Did you find any parts interesting? Did you learn something new?
  • Who do you think is the intended audience of the piece? Who is meant to read this text?
  • What do you think is the purpose of this text? Why do you think the author wrote it?
  • What are some examples of rhetoric that you see or hear on a daily basis? 
  • Think of one time you created rhetoric. What messag were you trying to convey/ share?
  • What is an example of a rhetorical situation you have found yourself in? Discuss the exigence, audience and constraints. 

Then, write a response to another classmate’s post!


  1. mustapha

    What I had gained from the reading was that rhetoric was basically the persuasion of a person either through speech or writing. It is also used in our daily lives with most of us not taking notice! For instance, if you watched a commercial or ad about a person telling to get up and get in shape, and suddenly felt the need to get a gym membership, that is a type of rhetoric. A case in which I had to use rhetoric was when I convinced my friend to watch Breaking Bad by explaining how it mixed comedy with drama well, and he’s been hooked since. I sold him on the shows finers points and persuaded him into giving the show a shot.

    • Hamely Jose Taveras

      It’s very cool how you were able to convey your friend to watch the show. At that moment did you notice what rhetoric you that help you convey to your friend? When you explain it helped you fried have an understanding and it shows how credible you are because you have already watched Breaking Bad. But do you know what also helps. Your excitement like pathos you use to explain may have help your friend get more interested to actually watch.

      • Kevin Yu

        It is very impressive to convince someone because my Public Speaking Professor said that it is hard to try and convince someone to act and do something because if it is irrelevant to them they won’t act so you have to play your cards right.

    • Arian Qosaj

      It’s great that you tried and convinced your friend to watch the show and that he liked it. Your persuasion worked.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Excellent! Love your successful persuasive techniques!


  2. Hamely Jose Taveras

    I think this piece is very interesting. I like this piece a lot because it helps you understand what rhetoric is and it shows you how you can do a rhetorical analysis. The part I like the most is when the author explains how we use rhetoric in our everyday life without noticing. I remember reading this text before for other eng classes and I always like who all the questions that are in the text help you analyze what you need to analyze if you were writing a text. I learn different questions that I would ask myself when constructing a rhetorical analysis. The intended audience of the piece is students, write, people that need to write a rhetorical analysis. The purpose of this text is to inform and help people understand what rhetoric is and how to analyze someone’s rhetoric when you need to write a rhetorical analysis. I think the author wrote this text to help people that might have a hard time understanding and being able to write a rhetorical analysis. Some examples of rhetoric that I see or hear on a daily basis is when I see people outside I tend to make assumptions about who and how they really are base on how they look and how they act. Think of one time you created rhetoric. What message were you trying to convey/ share I was trying to convey that BLM was successful in defunding NYPD. I remember trying that I did a speech to my high school superintendent and the school council. I remember that I had to persuade them on how does having the proper facilities in schools impacts student-athletes? I remember preparing myself for this speech. I had to create my presentation and have accurate evidence resources. After the speech, my school was able to receive new sports types of equipment and the gym renovated. I knew my audience I need to make a change. What really helps my speech be more persuasive is that I was on the volleyball sports team and I was being affected by the problem that I need to be resolved and changed.

    • Jeimi Bravo

      Reading this text also did help me understand rhetoric a lot more. When I was in debate I also would prepare my speech, I always felt as if I need to be prepared for any argument or valued point someone would make. I also played volleyball and I could agree with you more on that, on having to resolve and change.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Hamely, I am so glad that you found the reading helpful. I loved hearing about how you have successfully used rhetoric before!


  3. Kevin Yu

    I have learned a lot in this piece and I did find some of the parts interesting because I took Public Speaking last semester and they talked about Ethos, Pathos and I never knew that the power of speaking can help you in many ways. I believe that this text is targeted at college students because it said that we should understand what rhetoric is and apply that knowledge to other readings. The author wrote this text so college students can know the power of rhetoric questions and how to persuade people using Ethos or Pathos. Since I watch YouTube a lot I have seen a lot of ads on Crypto Currency and other times it usually would be ads on the subway to buy some product. Since I took Public Speaking last semester we had to persuade people to act to respond to something and we were able to choose anything that is relevant to the college students so I choose Sleep Deprivation and Stop Procrastinating and I was able to convince most of my classmates to sleep earlier and stop procrastinating and even got In-class speech contest recognition from the professor along with other great speakers. Since I like building PCs I had to decide on what CPU to get since I got an Intel CPU for my first build and I was looking at AMD and the performance was almost the same at the time I was searching for parts and I finally made my decision to go with AMD because AMD products are getting better and at some points outperforming Intel CPUs.

    • Pedro Flores

      I also took Public Speaking and I agree that the power of speaking can help you in many ways. Like, having a good tone and knowing what you talk about can help you convince your audience.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am glad you found the text helpful. It was very cool to hear about your past experiences using rhetoric! I think I might need some of your persuasive powers to help me go to sleep earlier!


  4. Arian Qosaj

    I think this piece is very interesting and catchy. What I found interesting about the article was that it explained a lot about what rhetoric means and what kinds of examples would be considered as rhetoric. Also, that it explained and gave examples of pathos, ethos, and logos. I learned that when you are trying to persuade someone and convince them to buy or do something it is shown as being rhetoric. Also, that thinking about the rhetorical questions is important when writing. The intended audience of this piece is students. The purpose of this text is to explain what rhetoric means and how a rhetorical writing piece would sound like. I think the author wrote this text to help students who struggle with writing a rhetorical piece and for students who don’t understand the concept of it. Some examples of rhetoric that I see and hear on a daily basis are when people are making assumptions of other people and when people try to persuade others to buy or do something. For example, when teenagers want to hang out with their friends at the park and they convince their parents to let them. One time that I think I created rhetoric was when I convinced my brother to play soccer with me for a few days even though his favorite sport is basketball. The message that I was trying to convey was that it’s good to try and play new sports.

    • Arlene Perez

      I think its neat that your were able to convince your brother to play another sport. I think it’s great to be versatile in playing different sports.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am glad that you found the piece interesting and helpful! How fun that you successfully convinced your bother to play soccer!


  5. Arlene Perez

    I thought the piece was intriguing and I learned the differences between logos, pathos and ethos. I found it interesting how the author mentioned different examples of ads and how they each use different types of rhetorical messages. I think the intended audience are college students and writers who are writing a rhetorical analysis. I think the purpose of this text is to inform the audience on rhetorical situations, on how to implement them into their writing and on examples on how they are used in many situations in our everyday lives. Some examples of rhetoric that I see daily are commercial ads on tv and ads that appear online while browsing the internet, trying to persuade me to purchase an item. One time I created rhetoric was during a public speaking assignment, where I was trying to persuade the class onto why I think capital punishment should be reinstated in New York. I used examples on cases where prisoners were released and became repeat offenders, murdering more people. My speech was full of pathos, because during that time I felt the exigency of sharing the statistics and facts on the rise of crimes that were being committed by reoffenders. Additionally, I think we were coming close to judicial elections in New York State at the time and my audience were young adults who were eligible to vote.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am so glad that you found this piece interesting and helpful! It is great to hear about how you used rhetoric successfully in the past!RC

  6. Elma Kastrat

    I think this piece is very interesting and it is a good place for learning about rhetoric and rhetorical situations. It helped me to understand better the meaning of rhetoric and how to use them in everyday life. At the same time I learned how to analyze rhetoric and what’s the meaning of logos, ethos and pathos. The intended audience of this piece are students, people who are interested in researching, analyzing and learning about rhetoric. The purpose of this piece is to show and explain the meaning of rhetoric, how to recognize it and respond to it. The author wrote it to show us that we actually find ourselves in rhetorical situations every day, but we aren’t aware of it.
    Examples of rhetoric that I see or hear on a daily basis are television, social media, networks… I create rhetoric by choosing which clothes to buy, movie to watch and where to go and eat. When I shop for clothes I want to send a message about what kind of clothes I like to wear and that my style is different from other people. If I watch movies a lot it would send a message that my vocabulary is large and that I improve it more. When I choose to go and eat in some famous restaurants instead of fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s… it shows that I like to eat healthy food not processed food with a lot of calories in it.
    Going in for my job interview is an example of a rhetorical situation. The exigence of my job interview was that I needed to help my dad to pay rent for an apartment and some bills. The audience for my interview was one lady who works for my boss. The constraints were my clothes and application. I had to dress and look put together to give the appearance that I would be a hardworking and dedicated employee if they accept me. In addition, to show them that they would not repent if they hire me and that I would be the best worker.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am glad you found the piece interesting! Loved hearing about your experience using rhetoric during a job interview! What a great description!


  7. Jeimi Bravo

    Reading and analyzing the text, I was able to understand more what rhetoric means. Rhetoric is a word that I have heard a couple of times, but I never got a full understanding of it. The article also gave me a better understanding of pathos, ethos, and logos, throughout my high school experience I learned that those three words mean logic, appeal to ethics, and appeal to emotion. I didn’t learn much throughout high school about those three logics but the article was able to give me more understanding.
    The author who wrote his text wrote it with the purpose of students or even adults who want to learn about rhetoric. When reading rhetoric, the students will understand the persuading of a subject through writing. It is important to learn because persuasion is what makes writing interesting, and to be able to persuade you have to do it right. A couple of examples that I see or hear daily in politics, especially with a new president, or rhetoric may even be used in a text message to your mom in convincing her to let you go out to the mall. I used to have many debates in my history class so many times I would try to be persuasive, I would write it all on a paper then use strong public speaking to mark my point. Rhetoric is used daily, read g this article gave me more of an understanding.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      I am glad you found the article interesting and helpful. I loved hearing about how you see and use rhetoric in your life!


  8. Hanting Hu

    I feel interested in the author explaining how rhetoric works in our life. I realize how fast I make judgments every day; rhetoric is necessary knowledge and can use daily. I think the intended audience of the piece is students and people who are learning rhetoric. This text aims to understand the rhetorical situation and apply this technique to the events you want to do. For example, each week, I can hear my sister say, “what do we eat? which restaurant you would like to order the food at?” Then, I try to convince my sisters, choose one close to my home and doesn’t wait too long, have good tasty, clean and hygienic, because I want to share to family.

    • Tenzin Namgyal

      I was also interested in how I make judgments so quickly. I judge others before I even know just from what kind of clothes they wear or by how they walk.

    • Tenzin Namgyal

      I was also interested in how I make judgments so quickly. I judge others before I even know just from what kind of clothes they wear or by how they walk.

    • Elma Kastrat

      I like how you showed your example of rhetorical situations. It’s good when you already have ideas in your head for something like that, and you’re able to respond to her questions quickly.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      I love how you discuss how you see and use rhetoric in your life!


  9. Pedro Flores

    I like this piece because I felt like we all can learned more about rhetoric and how to use rhetoric in certain situations. I think that the author was aiming for students who are learning about rhetoric or teaching students how to use them in writing or life. I think the purpose of this article was to teach us more about rhetoric or get us to have a better understanding by giving us examples. One example I see of rhetoric is on youtube. When you are watching videos there’s a little tab that pops up asking if you want to watch videos without ads. But, the way they word it some what convinces you on getting that membership so that you won’t be interrupted while watching your videos. In high school i had a project to create an ad about a lotion. the goal was to have an audience and a strong message so that i can convince my audience to buy my lotion.

    • Annie

      I agree with how you use youtube ads as an example to demonstrate how rhetoric is use to convince you to do something.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      I am glad that you enjoyed the piece! I love how you found great examples of rhetoric in your daily life!


  10. Kelvin Leon

    1. I found this piece boring to be honest, but the only thing I found interseting is how Laura explains the need for rhetorical analysis to assist in deciphering the purpose and intent behind a plethora of situations encountered daily. I learned how I use rhetorical analysis without knowing, and how often I use it.

    2. I hoestly dont know who the attended audience is but it can be cops?

    3. tte purpose of this text is to grasp the idea of rhetorical analysis. Rhetorical analysis is the ability to evaluate the way language and images are used to persuade and influence our daily choices. I think the author wrote it to notice the core of rhetorical analysis which is gaining an understanding of what the rhetor “wants you to believe or do” and how they go “about that persuasion.”

    4. Some examples of rhetoric that you see or hear on a daily basis radio, advertisements, billboards, posters, and flyers around campus.

    5. One time I created rhetoric was on a english assignment where I had to peresuade my audience on why paying college tuiton was a gppd thing. My message was that paying college tuition helps us grow mentally wise. It hels us grow into adults hsving to pay some type of expense

    6. An example of a rhetorical situation that I have found myself in was when I was strolling through china town (Canal St.) and it was some event going on where they closed te streets for. Stands were on the streets and people were trying to get me to buy their product and thats where exignece comes in. They were waiting for my reply then the audience would be the people walking by them or their stands and hoping the “constraints” aka interests comes in.

    • mustapha

      The example of rhetoric that you came up with was a real unique and good example

    • Annie

      Yes it was boring but we learned what rhetoric was about quickly by the examples that the author used.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am sorry you found the piece boring, but it sounds like you learned something from it! I loved your examples of rhetoric (canal street and college tuition). I do think the audience is probably college students!


  11. Tenzin Namgyal

    For the most part I wasn’t too intrigued by this article, but what I did find interesting was how rhetoric affects our daily lives, and how often I use it without even realizing it .I am not too sure but I’d say the intended audience of this article is mostly for writers/students. I think the purpose of this text is to explain rhetoric to students so they can use it in their own lives. For example, sometimes when I’m on the internet and browsing I may see an ad about a new burger from McDonald’s or a notification saying a new shoe will be released soon. This might convince me want to try that new burger or, buy the newly released shoe just by the way they were advertised. One time in high school, I made a power point presentation of why we should become resellers. My message was that resellers make a lot of money and it would be nice if more people could start as well. After that few kids from that class started to resell and made a bit of money thanks to me persuading them.

    • Christina Bethelmy

      I like he examples you made about how rhetorical situations can effect day to day life.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      I am sorry you didn’t find the article too interesting but I am glad you found it informative! I love your examples of daily rhetoric that you provide!


  12. Isael Castillo

    I feel interested in this piece because of how Carroll is explaining how rhetoric is used in different situations in our daily life. I think the audience that Carroll is trying to talk to is students that are learning about how rhetoric is used. The purpose of this text is to have the knowledge of how rhetoric is used and see when is being used. One example of rhetoric is that every year there are new Phones Every year a big company comes out with a new phone that is supposed to be better than the one 9 months ago in theory, yes it could be better but is really minor changes to it. Is not like when a new generation of phones comes out where you can see the big changes in tech, design, interface those are real new phones.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am glad you found the piece helpful! I love your example of rhetoric! We definitely do feel like we have to buy the next and newest phone every year!

  13. Christina Bethelmy

    I like this piece because of the explanations based on how rhetorical events happen in different situations in our day to day life. I also feel that the audience that the author is trying to explain to students about what rhetoric is. This text represents examples of rhetoric situations. One example of rhetoric is that in theory you wouldn’t wear the same outfit that you’re planning to wear to a night club to church. Different situations have different moods whether it’s buisness casual clothes or your clothes that you would wear when you’re going to bed.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Dear Christina,
      I am glad you found the piece helpful and interesting! I love your examples of rhetoric!


  14. Shaniyah

    To start this was a fun article to read after the first sentence I found myself not able to take my eyes off the computer. The author made a very interesting point between, rhetoric writing and everyday examples of rhetoric For example the judging your professor from the minute he or she walks in the room. This is something I do with everyone, it’s normal for me to make as assumption about someone just from the way they look even though that’s very ignorant. I didn’t look deep into why we tend to do that, but this rhetoric idea makes sense of it. Everyday we look at advertisement on NYC public transportation, commercials, speeches and even banners and billboards . These are all examples of rhetoric that we probably overlook everyday. For this writing to narrow down a specific audience would be difficult, I feel anybody can read this but it may have been written for students, writers and public speakers to strengthen their argument.

    • Rebekah Coleman


      I am so glad you enjoyed the piece! Great examples of rhetoric!


  15. Jsantana

    I didn’t like this piece it was very dense but boring. I didn’t understand where the author was going with his explanation of rhetorical analysis. I did enjoy when the author mentioned how we all implement rhetorical things in our every day to day lives. I think the intended audience of this piece are students or people that enjoy writing in general. The author wrote this piece to help people with their writing make them more conscious of what they are writing, and help with rhetorical analysis. Some examples of rhetoric that I hear are rhetorical questions, my brother likes to be silly and ask me rhetorical questions all the time. I created a rhetoric when I was trying to convince my mom if I could go to a concert with my friends a couple years ago. I had to provide the day I wanted to go, the people I was going with, how I getting there and how I was getting back, where was I gonna eat, etc.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Thanks so much for sharing your honest feedback. Although you did not love the piece, it sounds like you learned a lot from it.


  16. Christina Bethelmy

    In some cases I found that we should get more information about language while reading this piece and how to use rhetoric. I assume the author was looking at students learning how to use rhetoric or how to use it in writing or in practice. I believe this paper was designed to tell us all about rhetoric or to give us some examples to better understand.

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