The Rhetorical Précis Form
In order to help us quickly and effectively describe the argument an author is making in a text or to summarize any work read, we will be utilizing a method of description called the rhetorical précis. This form is a highly structured four-sentence paragraph that records the essential rhetorical elements in any spoken or written discourse. The précis includes the name of the speaker/writer (s), the context or situation in which the text is delivered, the major assertion, the mode of development or support of the main idea, the stated and/or apparent purpose of the text, and the relationship between the speaker/writers and the audience. The following is a breakdown of the information you should include in each one of the four sentences. Please number your sentences as they are numbered in the example.
Name of author, [if possible: a phrase describing the author], the type and title of work, the date of work (inserted in parentheses), a rhetorically accurate verb (such as "assert" "argue," "suggest," "imply," "claim." etc.) that describes what the author is doing in the text, and the THAT clause in which you state the major assertion (thesis statement) of the author's text.
An explanation of how the author develops and/or supports the thesis, for instance, comparing and contrasting, narrating, illustrating, defining, etc. Your explanation is usually presented in the same chronological order that the items of support are presented in the work.
A statement of the author's apparent purpose, followed by an IN ORDER TO phrase in which you explain what the author wants the audience to do or feel or understand as a result of reading the work.
A description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author establishes with the audience.
Here's an example from an...