I’ve adapted these questions from Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, 2nd edition, by Elizabeth Losh, Jonathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon, and Zander Cannon (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017). Some of the questions are reinterpretations of questions posed in Issue 1 of this text, particularly on the chart on page 61. Others come from a synthesis of this text with my own experience and holistic study, which includes ongoing conversations with students. These are questions you can ask yourself to begin the process of analyzing identity.
In what circumstances does the identity/label seem truest and falsest?
In what situations are you more likely to emphasize or deemphasize this identity/label?
What purpose does the identity/label serve? What role has it played in your life?
Who is the intended audience for this identity/label?
Why might others care or not care about this identity/label? Why might you care or not care about it?
Is the identity/label credible? Are you credible in taking on this identity/label? Is the person/are the people who gave you this identity/label credible in doing so? Why? Why not? What role does ethos play?
What is your gut reaction to taking on this identity or receiving this label? What emotions does the identity/label evoke? What experiences do you invoke when taking on/receiving this identity/label? What role does pathos play?
What comprises this identity/label? What goes into it? Is it logical? Illogical? Why? What role does logos play?
When/where did this identity/label come from? Is the identity/label timely? Can it be connected to kairos?
Are there circumstances where the identity/label is more of a mask? Are there circumstances where the identity/label might be unapparent?
What other “texts” have helped you understand this identity/label? What “texts” have complicated, confused, or challenged your understanding of it?
How can you continue to research—to seek again—this identity/label?