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Andreas Myers

UWRT 1103-014
Instructor Dutta
10 April 2016
Rhetorical Analysis Draft
It's been my experience that college students are often assigned seemingly pointless and frustrating assignments.
These assignments often challenge the writer in terms of its time constraints and its formulaic prompt. In the fall semester
of my Philosophy 2102 class I had an assignment that seemed pointless at the time and required hours of research and selfreflection. However, after completing the essay for that class and conducting a rhetorical analysis of my own writing I
have discovered how assignments such as that one shape my writing and the rhetorical moves I make. Analyzing my work
has illustrated how factors such as time constraints and my own self-reflection shape my writing..
In order to understand my rhetorical moves, we must first examine the exigence and context for this assignment.
The philosophy class that I was taking at the time was a writing-intensive course and we had been assigned a final
research paper that had to make an argument for the philosophical importance of a set list of topics. My topic was gender
roles & masculinity in sports and I had to make the case for their philosophical importance by using works from Plato and
Bertrand Russell. The argument that I made was that openly gay athletes such as Michael Sam (Mizzou Defensive End)
were philosophically important, because their situation made society challenge their own self-held stigmas and beliefs on
what an athlete should look like. Understanding the exigence and argument of my paper helped me to confront the
constraints I faced.
A constraint that has always plagued me has been time. Im a procrastinator. a successful one, but a
procrastinator none the less. Merriam-Webster defines the act of procrastination as ...[putting] off intentionally and
habitually. In my opinion, the fundamental element to that definition is the last word habitually, as I pride myself in the
habitual nature of my laziness. This procrastination would prove to be my biggest constraint as a writer, because of the
formal and time-consuming nature of this assignment. My professor had set a minimum six page requirement and required
Chicago style citations throughout the paper. Although writing six pages was a breeze, Chicago citations were a worthy
opponent as I had to write countless footnotes as seen below.

Our professor has assured us that Chicago style was relatively easy and it was, however due to the fact that I
waited until two days before to start the paper; it proved to be an immense challenge. Although the constraint and
Achilles's heel of my writing is my innate procrastination, I also see it as one my biggest assets and perhaps a rhetorical
move that I make on assignments. Mark Twain once said Never put off till tomorrow what may be done [the] day after
tomorrow just as well. Through my analyzation I found that much like Mr. Twain. my best writing comes under pressure.
Perhaps I live for the adrenaline rush or maybe the time constraint allows my cognitive thinking to accelerate. This
constraint, although limiting in aspects of my work continues to help me produce A+ worthy writing.
The final constraint that arose from writing this piece was my own ignorance on the subject matter. Growing up
in the South as a heterosexual male, I had a preconceived notion of what a masculine athlete looks like and possessed a
stigma about the possibility of a gay NFL player. By no means was I a bigot or a homophobe, I was just unaware of the
possibility of a connection between the two worlds. However, as I began my research into gay athletes such as Jason
Collins (Brooklyn Nets) and Michael Sam; I became aware of the relative normality of their existence. This research also
helped me argue my case, as these athletes were philosophically important, because they made people challenge their set
beliefs much like I did. This certain constraint served not only as an eye-opening experience for me, but also as a selfreflection and it was evident in my rhetorical choices for writing it.
The audience for this assignment was my professor who possessed a doctorate in philosophy and was known to
be a tough grader. The professor would be looking for content over structure but still required a relatively good structure.

With all this in mind, my goal was to have the professor partake in the same self-reflection that I did when I wrote the
paper. Although my intended audience was a professor in philosophy, I made sure to be very open with my word choice in
case any unintended audience members took part in the reading of my paper.
This assignment was tedious and will undoubtedly be included in the category of useless papers that I had to
write in college. However, it may make its way to the top of the stack, because of the constraints that challenged me and
the principles I learned from it. These principles and constraints faced me in almost every assignment, but yet from this
one I believe that I gained something. Most STEM majors will tell you that philosophy is useless, but I disagree as
philosophy is what drove me to analyze my own constraints and as Bertrand Russell said, philosophy is a...critical
examination of the grounds of our convictions, prejudices, and beliefs. Through writing what seemed to be a pointless
essay, I learned to examine my convictions as well as my rhetorical moves.