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Rhetorical Analysis Documentary Film Super Size Me Paper

Rhetorical Analysis Documentary Film Super Size Me Paper


Title: Rhetorical Analysis of the Documentary Film “Super Size Me”


  • Introduce the concept of rhetoric and its importance in influencing and persuading an audience.
  • Briefly introduce the documentary film “Super Size Me” and its significance.
  • Present the purpose of the paper: to analyze the rhetorical strategies employed by the filmmaker in constructing the film’s argument.

Summary of the Film:

  • Provide a concise overview of the basic plot of “Super Size Me,” in your own words.
  • Avoid copying and pasting from the internet; aim for a brief, accurate summary.

Thesis and Specific Purpose of the Documentary:

  • Clearly state the documentary’s thesis or central claim.
  • Explain what the film is trying to persuade the audience to do, believe, or understand.

Ethos: Credibility and Competency:

  • Discuss external influences that contribute to the documentary’s ethos, such as the documentarian’s reputation, experience, and background.
  • Explore internal influences that enhance the documentary’s credibility, including the credentials of experts interviewed and their authority on the subject matter.

Ethos: Character and Charisma:

  • Analyze how the documentary establishes its intentions and concern for the audience.
  • Evaluate whether the documentary appears trustworthy, objective, honest, and relatable to the audience.
  • Discuss any fallacies mentioned in the textbook and their impact on the documentary’s ethos.
  • Examine how opposing views are handled, if applicable.

Pathos: Emotional Appeals:

  • Highlight emotional narratives or stories presented in the documentary that evoke sympathy and aim to influence the audience’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
  • Discuss the film techniques used, such as images, words, sounds, music, set design, and camera angles, that contribute to emotional appeals.

Logos: Logical Appeals:

  • Explore the use of statistics, facts, and expert testimonies in the film to support its argument.
  • Explain how these logical appeals contribute to the documentary’s persuasive strategies.

Evaluation of Rhetorical Effectiveness:

  • Assess the overall effectiveness of the documentary’s rhetorical strategies in achieving its purpose.
  • Reflect on how well the film employs ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience.
  • Provide a balanced judgment on the documentary’s success in conveying its message.


  • Summarize the key points discussed in the analysis.
  • Reiterate the documentary’s thesis and the effectiveness of its rhetorical strategies.
  • End with a concluding thought that emphasizes the impact of rhetoric in documentary filmmaking.

Works Cited:

  • List the documentary “Super Size Me” and any other sources you may have used in your analysis.
  • Format the citations according to the guidelines of the MLA style.

Remember that this is just an outline to help you structure your paper. You will need to delve into each section in more detail, providing specific examples and analysis. Good luck with your rhetorical analysis assignment!

End with a concluding thought that emphasizes the impact of rhetoric in documentary filmmaking.



Rhetorical Analysis Assignment: Documentary Film “Super Size Me”

The word ‘Rhetoric’ refers to the use of symbolic artifacts (including words, phrases, images, gestures, performances) to influence and persuade an audience.

A rhetorical analysis breaks down the artifacts used by an author or speaker into parts and then explains how the parts work together to persuade an audience.

This is accomplished, in part, by examining traditional rhetorical appeals, which include the use of ethos, pathos and logos.

These rhetorical appeals are often utilized in documentary films to influence and persuade the audience

This assignment asks you to view a documentary film and to analyze the rhetorical strategies employed by the filmmaker in the construction of the film’s argument.

The paper should not be a summary of the film, nor should it be a review based on your personal reaction to it. The aim of the project is to identify the film’s argument, and  to analyze the rhetorical strategies  used to develop the film’s specific purpose i.e. thesis.The paper will be 4 to 5 full pages in length with an additional work cited page  that includes the documentary and any other sources you may use. The paper will follow the guidelines of MLA.

The paper will include the following:

· A brief summary of the basic plot of the film; summarized in your own words and not copied and pasted from the internet.

· The documentaries specific purpose i.e. thesis; what claim is it making (what it is trying to persuade us to do).

· Specific examples of rhetorical theory used to influence and persuade the audience; including:

o Ethos: Credibility of the documentary’s character.


· Exterior influences found outside of the film: the documentarian’s reputation, experience, background.

· Internal influences found inside the film: the credible sources used i.e. the experts interviewed and what makes them an authority on the subject as witnessed in the film, which could include their reputation, experience, and background.


· How the documentary displayed its intentions and concern it has for the audience. How the documentary appeared trustworthy, objective, honest, and similar to the audience. Were any of the fallacies discussed in the textbook evident? Is so what effect did they have on the ethos of the film. How the film handed opposing views (if applicable).


· Personality and likeability of the documentary and or documentarian. Consider the tone of the documentary; the way the subject matter, audience, Americans, etc. are portrayed.

o Pathos: Emotional appeals

* Use of emotional narratives (stories) that creates sympathy that attempts to affect the audience’s attitudes, values beliefs, and or behaviors.

*The films use of images, words, sounds, music, set design, camera angles, and other various film techniques as tools to affect audience’s emotions.

o Logos: Logical appeals

*Statistics, facts, and expert testimonies presented in the film.

· You need to use the terms ethos, pathos, and logos in your writing.

· Conclude by making a judgment about the film’s rhetorical effectiveness.

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