How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

An impactful rhetorical text is supposed to pull strings. When creating a rhetorical analysis essay, the student should identify these strings and investigate what makes the text persuasive. While many students are conscious about the reader’s participation, this will not work if textual analysis is devoid of critical aspects. This guide will break down some useful tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay effortlessly. From conducting sufficient research to organizing the paper, we will cover all the stages of composing a compelling rhetoric analysis paper.

What is a Rhetorical Analysis?

Rhetoric is the study of how speakers and writers use words to impact an audience. Therefore, a rhetorical analysis is writing that breaks down a non-fiction work into sections and then describes how the sections work in collaboration to create a particular effect; whether to inform, entertain, or persuade. A rhetorical analysis can also be conducted on a visual argument such as an advertisement or a cartoon, or an oral performance like a speech. In this guide, we will use the word rhetorician to denote the author of a document or speech or the creator of a cartoon, advertisement, or other visual work.

When asked to write a rhetorical analysis, you should investigate the rhetorician’s tools or techniques used, goals, examples of the tools, and the effectiveness of the techniques. Writing a rhetorical analysis does not require you to state your stand with the argument. As an alternative, you should discuss how the rhetorician presents that argument and whether the approach used is successful or not.

Rhetorical Concepts

Rhetoric, the art of writing and speaking, is a subject that teaches you to look at speeches, arguments, and texts in terms of how they are planned to persuade the audience. The following are the three appeals of rhetorical writing. Appeals refer to how the author persuades their audience. There are three central appeals discussed in rhetoric that were established by Aristotle, the philosopher. They are logos, ethos, and pathos.

  • Logos

Also known as the logical appeal, is the use of reasoned argument to convince. This is the overriding approach in academic writing, through the use of evidence and reasoning to build arguments.

  • Ethos

Also referred to as the ethical appeal, it involves the author presenting themselves as an expert in their subject. For instance, a person making a moral argument can emphasize their own morally commendable behavior. On the other hand, someone talking about a technical subject might portray themselves as an authority by mentioning their qualifications.

  • Pathos

Also known as the pathetic appeal, arouses the audience’s emotions. This might include speaking in a loving way, applying vivid imagery, or attempting to incite anger, compassion, or any other emotional reaction in the audience.

The three appeals are all integral parts of rhetoric, and an author may combine them all to persuade their audience.

Texts and Contexts

  • Text

In rhetoric analysis, a text does not necessarily refer to a piece of writing; it is any piece of communication that is under analysis. For example, it could be a satirical image, an advertisement, or a speech. In such cases, your rhetoric analysis would concentrate on more than just language, but also at sonic or visual elements of the text.

  • Context

The context is all that surrounds the text: who is the rhetorician? Who is their actual or intended audience? Where and when was the text produced? For what purpose? Looking at the context helps in informing your rhetorical analysis. For instance, the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King has universal power. However, you will have to study the context of the civil rights movement to understand the significance of the speech.

Warrants, Supports, and Claims

Any rhetoric piece make some sort of argument, whether logical and clearly defined (as in a philosophy essay) or one that requires the reader to infer (as in a satirical article). All these arguments are developed with warrants, supports, and claims.

  • Warrants

This is the assumption or logic that connects a claim with a support. Outside of a formal argumentation, the warrant is frequently unspecified as the author or rhetorician assumes their audience will comprehend the connection without the warrant. However, this does not mean that you cannot still investigate the implied warrant in these cases.

  • Supports

Supports are used by the author to back up their claims. These can range from emotional appeals to hard evidence; anything that can convince the audience to accept a claim.

  • Claims

This is the idea or fact the rhetorician wants to persuade the reader of. The text argument can be centered on one claim or be built from many. Claims are generally explicitly stated, but can also be implied in some text types.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

When you browse the web, you will learn from information presented on the different websites and realize that an outline is essential. There are many examples to prove that fact. Therefore, with an essay outline, you will have an easy time working on your rhetoric essay. The rhetoric essay structure is not different from that of other types of essays. The 5-paragraph format is recommended for this type of assignment.

  1. Introduction

The introductory paragraph sets the pace for the entire essay. When working on this part, purpose to demonstrate your work’s objective to your reader. Let your readers know early enough what your paper is about. Develop your thesis statement and pick one idea that you like better and narrow it down. Write a clear and concise sentence presenting this idea to your audience. Think about selecting the main argument and concentrate your work on it. This will enable your readers trace the main argument throughout the essay.

  1. Main Body

While writing this part, three body paragraphs will be most ideal with one paragraph containing one distinct idea. Identify attention to preparations during the writing process, and it will accelerate once you provide sufficient evidence. When working on your body paragraphs arrange them by rhetorical appeals. Split them into sections and categorize them as pathos, ethos, and logos. Avoid making your essay too word. Your main purpose is to provide facts and sustain them with several ideas so that eventually, every paragraph will contain a single claim and supportive evidence.

  1. Conclusion

The goal of the conclusion paragraph is to summarize all the ideas you presented in the essay and restate your thesis statement. Rephrase the thesis statement by using different words. Any information alluded in the conclusion should be precise. It would be better to conclude your rhetorical essay with an authoritative call to action. You can do this by including a related forecast, expression, or question to leave a good impression on your reader.

How to Start your Rhetorical Analysis Essay

From the start, consider the following three points to help you figure out what to do next.

  • Choose a Position. This stage of your work is important because your way of writing is entirely dependent on it. At this point, state your role on the theme you are going to analyze. Create a rhetorical statement that you will later use in the introduction. This is your standpoint or a short argument, which you will prove in your text. For example, if you intend to analyze a novel, then your thesis is your interpretation of the novel. Therefore, you need to locate and use different strategies and techniques to demonstrate to your audience that you are correct. When working on your thesis statement, try and avoid personal pronouns and present them objectively. You should be believable to your reader.
  • Consider the Analysis. Try and conduct as much research as you can on your topic. This will sincerely help in finding several solutions to your current problem. Work on this part as soon as you finish stating your thesis. Afterwards, work on the topic analysis. Look for the most practical ways to help you validate your idea the best way you can.
  • Choose a Strategy. This is an integral part of any critical academic project where you need to support your thesis statement. Start by grabbing your reader’s attention; this strategy will be very helpful as it will allow you to do that. While working on a rhetorical analysis essay, this strategy is crucial.

There are various ways of grabbing your reader’s attention from the beginning of your essay. The best way to do this is to choose a convincing hook to represent your topic. Bear in mind that a hook sentence of phrase should match your audience and the tone of your paper. Be careful when choosing your hook and choose an appropriate one, for example, a joke would not be appropriate in an essay talking about serious health issues.

Tips for Writing a Great Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Bear in mind that sensory examples, emotions, and details all help support your thesis statement. This is the same way that arguments help support the primary idea in a persuasive or argumentative essay. Hence, using facts alone will not be compelling enough. We recommend that you use different creative and literary tools such as parallels, comparisons, personifications, metaphors, and similes to completely describe the topic.

Consider the following five tops when you write a rhetorical analysis essay.

  1. Never introduce new information in the conclusion paragraph. Paraphrase and summarize the ideas you discussed in the text earlier on.
  2. Do not present an argument as the primary objective of a rhetorical analysis is to analyze and not to state your stand.
  3. Never begin your conclusion with “in.” if you are writing at a college or university level, this will only mess your work.
  4. After completing your first draft, go through it severally with the help of different grammar-checking tools online. Present the draft to your instructor to point out any mistakes and fix them before the submission deadlines.
  5. Revise the final draft at least two times to determine whether it is up to standards. The best thing is to give your final draft to those around you to share their views on improvement.

Remember that your job is to analyze, not influence!

You should bear in mind that your rhetorical analysis essay is just that: an analysis. When writing, it is easy to get caught up in the argument the author is presenting and forget that your job is to analyze their presentation – not their topic or content. This usually happens if you have an interest or a strong opinion on the subject. Even if you disagree with the author, you sole task is to give feedback of the efficiency of their argument in its entirety. Try and set aside your viewpoint and concentrate on the words, or end up losing important marks for deviating from your objective.

Rhetorical Terms and Methods to Look Out For when Writing a Rhetorical Analysis

While ethos, logos, and pathos are the most common rhetorical methods of appeal, there are other elements you can look for within your text. The following are terms commonly used applied in rhetoric and persuasion that you should be aware of when analyzing your text for rhetorical techniques and methods.

  • Hyperbole (Exaggeration). When something is exaggerated within a text, it is normally done to emphasize something or prove a point. For example, still on Martin Luther King’s speech, one line states: “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low.” In this sentence, he uses hyperbole to emphasize his point that human equality will have a broad, far-reaching effect on the world.
  • Diction. This is a very significant rhetorical method, and writing device generally. Diction is the style of writing or speech used by the author. The writing style is a significant aspect of rhetoric as a well-written, well-expressed piece of writing has a more noticeable effect. Also, descriptive and powerful words have a tendency to leave lasting emotional effects.
  • Fallacy. A fallacy is something you should watch out for as a reader. Fallacies are frequently used to advance biased opinions, manipulation, deception, and propaganda. In essence, a fallacy is the application of an error or faulty logic in reasoning. For example, the rhetorician may use an example that is irrelevant to their argument to confuse the reader, or draw conclusion based on assumptions and probability instead of real reasoning. If your rhetorician is using fallacy, they are using bad rhetorical methods as they are not making a credible or an effective argument.
  • Repetition (Parallelism). Regularly used in speeches, parallelism is repetition of phrases or words to emphasize or stress something and evoke an emotional response. Repetition also helps leave a lasting impression on your reader or audience.
  • Rhetorical Question. This is a common technique in causal arguments or conversations. It is a question asked for emphasis without expecting a response. They are designed to appeal to the reader’s emotions and make you think about the issue more reflectively.
  • Tone. This is the atmosphere or attitude the rhetorician takes in their writing, which plays a significant role in the way the reader feels while reading the piece of writing. For this reason, tone is typically used to appeal to emotions. Usually, you can recognize your author’s specific tone by evaluating the phrases and words they use.
  • Analogy. An analogy compares two things, like a simile. When an analogy is used as a rhetorical technique, it is an excellent way to add reasoning to something through comparison with something else to make the reader understands it better.
  • Personification. This is yet another common rhetorical method, which involves adding human characteristics to non-human things. This is a techniques that appeals to your audience’s emotions as they start to make connections, whether positive or negative, with the non-human things like they were people.

Final Thoughts

It is undeniably understandable that creating a rhetorical essay entails understanding rhetorical procedures and applying practically, which is not easy. Hopefully, this guide has made things more clear and evident for you.

In short, an effective rhetorical essay targets the text in a rhetoric context. A rhetorical analysis is more than searching for logos, pathos, and ethos. Other than identifying the primary persuasive tools, you should also appropriately incorporate the results of your research in your writing and suitably structure your paper. Letting our competent writers do this for you is a cinch to elevate your rhetorical analysis essay to a whole new level.

Nonetheless, if you are not a native English speaker or you lack impressive writing skills, you can always seek professional assistance at  Our online custom writing service is aware of all particularities of writing a rhetorical analysis essay. We have talented academic writers with decades of combined writing experience in educational tasks who write such assignment on a timely manner. For this reason, the professionalism of our essay writers enables them to comply with the needs of even the most demanding clients. Do not miss out on the opportunity to be a beneficiary of our academic custom writing services, have any paper completed on time.

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