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Rhetorical Analysis of “So This Was Adolescence"

Rhetorical Analysis of “So This Was Adolescence"

Author: Beth Barsness
  1. Students will look at specific language choices the author makes.
  2. Students will analyze the emotional texture of a piece.
  3. Students will deduce, from the language choices and emotional resonance, the author’s purpose. 

This lesson prepares students for multiple portions of the AP Language and Composition exam (specifically, the multiple choice section and the rhetorical analysis prompt) by analyzing a brief text which students will be able to readily react to and deconstruct.  In this lesson, students will read Annie Dillard’s “So This Was Adolescence”, but any piece of short non-fiction prose, preferably a narrative, will work.  Students will either identify with the author or reject her experience as foreign to adolescence.

Length of time needed:  1 class period (50 minutes)

This lesson was written by Greg Jones.

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Lesson Plan

This lesson plan can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF document. If you would like to edit this document for your classroom needs, go to the "Handouts and Materials" section and click on the corresponding link.


Source: Greg Jones

Handouts and Materials

The following files can be downloaded to your computer:

Lesson Plan (Word document)

Rhetorical Analysis Board Notes (Word document)


The Conscious Reader

Excerpt from An American Childhood (optional)

1996 AP Language & Composition Free Response Prompt - Gary Soto narrative (optional)

Source: Greg Jones