Developing the Third “I” – Interpretation

Learn to "slow down" your analysis by attending to the following rhetorical tasks:

Content + Context + Judgment


Instructions: After inserting a quotation from the text, …

1)      Explain the content meaning: What do the words mean?

2)      Explain the context: How does that meaning relate to the claim in your paragraph?

3)      “Judgment”: How does the explanation relate to the thesis? How, in other words, does it prove your central argument?


Learning Outcomes:

·         Rhetorical awareness which leads to mastery of rhetorical skills.

·         Step 2, explaining the context, helps to insure that all quotations do, in fact, explicitly relate to the topic sentence.

·         Moreover, if your paragraph lacks a clear argumentative claim in the topic sentence, step 2 will help you identify that problem and, hopefully, correct it upon revision.




Today, I want you to work with this model.

a.      Identify and underline each paragraph’s claim: it should be arguable and it should connect to and expand upon the thesis. Do not underline anything that is not a claim.

b.      Locate all illustrations (examples, quotations, direct evidence) and place an “E” above them to indicate “evidence.” Is evidence sufficient? Do examples connect ostensibly to the claim introduced in the topic sentence?

c.       Analyze the analysis (the third “I”) using the steps 1-3 above. Can you identify any gaps?