Bridging the Gaps Between Rhetoric and Stylistics Using Jay Heinrich’s Thank You for Arguing and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

Marva Hutchinson, English, Providence Senior High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


Students will engage in close reading and analysis of nonfiction texts, deepening their understanding of the connections between rhetoric and logic as they delve into the stylistic choices that may include syntax, diction and other relevant devices. Improving these analytical skills will help students become stronger writers as they incorporate those same strategies in their own writing. This curriculum unit is structured around two main nonfiction texts. Jay Heinrich’s Thank You for Arguing is an informational text that introduces the main issues of rhetorical and stylistic analysis. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood will give students an opportunity to explore complex issues as they apply the strategies discussed in Thank You for Arguing. Although the text is nonfiction, it is often referred to as a “journalistic novel” or a “nonfiction novel” since it stylistically mimics a literary text with its use of diction, syntax and tone.