Humanities Page

Students in the Humanities course at Mass Academy study history through the lens of literature. They learn technical skills such as rhetorical and satirical analysis while examining philosophies, movements, and impactful ideology throughout history.

For this assignment, we were required to utilize literary devices such as logical fallacies, appeals, and imagery to create a satire. We were given complete freedom to choose the topic of our satire, so my group decided to satirize “cancel culture.” We employed irony by showing how cancel culture silences opinions, is very similar to cyber-bullying, and limits the exploration and appreciation of other cultures. Additionally, we used understatement to emphasize the harmful effects of cancel culture. While we used appeals to logos and pathos to back up our arguments, we dismantled the reasoning behind cancel culture using logical fallacies.

Writing this rhetorical analysis essay was a unique experience. Our goal was to analyze the methods that Benjamin Banneker utilized in his letter to Thomas Jefferson in order to persuade Jefferson to see his point of view. However, we were divided into random groups and given only 45 minutes to write this essay. Additionally, this was a day when our sections were different, so I did not know many of my group members personally. I felt nervous going into the class because I had not had many positive experiences with group assignments. I could see that many people felt the same way. However, I was shocked when my group wrote together seamlessly. We refined and added to each other’s ideas, and I felt confident about everyone’s writing. It felt amazing to have our whole group be on the same level; I never had to hold back my thoughts. Instead, we kept adding more depth to our analysis. In specific, my group analyzed how Banneker’s tone changes from respectful to accusatory through the letter, employing a shift in diction, appeals, and allusions. Banneker uses these devices to call attention to the hypocrisy of slavery, urging Jefferson to do the same. I enjoyed reading from the perspective of Banneker, and this letter and the analysis of it helped me understand the frustration of African American people at the U.S.’s hypocritical stance on freedom.