Shut Up About Harvard by Ben Casselman

Essay prompt:

For this assignment, I am asking you to take one of the texts that we’ve read and discussed and make an argument about how the text is designed to affect its audience.  In other words, you’ll be doing a rhetorical analysis of the text.

As you consider your chosen text, think about these questions. 

  • Who is the intended audience? How can you tell?
  • What is the author’s purpose in writing this text for this audience?  How can you tell?
  • What specific strategies does this author use to speak to this audience?  For example, how does the author establish credibility or authority with this audience?
  • To what extent are you a part of the intended audience?  How can you tell? 
  • What would the author have to do differently in this text in order to better speak to you?



  • Ben Casselman, “Shut Up about Harvard”


Essay Requirements:

  • Rough draft:  A minimum of two full double-spaced pages using Times New Roman, 12-point font, one-inch margins. Due date is posted to Canvas.
  • At the top of the first page please include your name, the name of our course, the assignment (Essay #1), and the date.
  • Your essay needs to have a title that tells your reader something about your argument. 


Criteria for a successful essay include:

  • A well-developed introduction
  • A clear thesis statement at the end of the introduction
  • Well-developed support for your argument (weave in quotes from the text and analyze them)
  • Logical organization with topic sentences and transitions
  • A conclusion that provides a "take-away" for your reader (what final thoughts or questions do you want to leave your reader with?)
  • Few sentence-level errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation)
  • Correct use of MLA citation

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550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
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  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

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