Instructions on how to write a rhetorical precis:
The Rhetorical Précis Format
1. In a single coherent sentence give the following:
• name of the author, title of the work, date in parenthesis
• a rhetorically accurate verb (such as “assert,” “argue,” “deny,” “refute,” “prove,” disprove,” “explain,” etc.)
• a that clause containing the major claim (thesis statement) of the work.
2. In a single coherent sentence give an explanation of how the author develops and supports the major claim (thesis statement).
3. In a single coherent sentence give a statement of the author’s purpose, followed by an “in order” phrase.
4. In a single coherent sentence give a description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author establishes with the audience.
World House Precis
1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., world-renowned civil rights activist and philanthropist, emphasizes in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech “The World House” (1967) that all people, regardless of skin color or ethnic background, are negatively affected by the plague of racism and the decline of spiritualism that results. Dr. King begins his speech with an allusion to a famous author that ends up being the theme for his whole speech; his pre-dominant use of examples of past actions are bolstered by several other testimonies from philosophers, historians, and writers as well as an allusion to a well known story. Dr. King is attempting to make people realize the need to correct their self-destructive behavior in order to force society to take up the morals they had lost as well as alleviate the social tensions of the time period. While Dr. King’s intended audience is obviously the black community as a whole, he also tries to get in touch with anyone prejudiced against, black or not; also included are those of the period that had the power to or wanted to stop the decline of society by ending the hatred cultivated by the differences between people of the world so that world would change to be a superior place.
“Nothing Bad Ever Happens” précis
2. Oingo Boingo’s “Nothing Bad Ever Happens” inspirers the listener to think about his/her feelings towards other people’s problems. They give examples of terrible events or tragedies, such as armed robbery, unemployment, and suicide and follow them with the question, “Why should I care?” The purpose is to show the rash realities of life and make people realize what is going on everyday in order to force them into thinking about whether they care or not. Oingo Boingo intended this song to be heard by all of their fans across the globe hoping that because it is their song, the people will consider asking themselves the question, “Why should I care?” as well as answer it.