How To Write A Rhetorical Analysis Essay In 6 Simple Steps

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Have you been assigned to write a rhetorical analysis essay? Are you wondering what rhetorical analysis means? Well, it may be challenging to write a rhetorical analysis for a beginner. But once you master some essential tips and tricks, you will write it without any hitch.

This article is designed to help you know what rhetorical analysis is. What are some key points that make up a rhetorical analysis essay, and how to write it?

First of all, to write a rhetorical analysis essay, you must know what rhetoric is and its purpose?

What is a Rhetorical analysis?

According to the dictionary definition, rhetoric means “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing. Especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.” So, rhetorical analysis is a compelling analysis or study of how speakers or writers use words to influence their audience.

It examines how successful the writer/speaker is in informing, persuading, or entertaining the audience. The rhetorical analysis can be carried out on a written work, visual art, or oral speech. You need not apply only to written work.

What is the purpose of writing a Rhetorical analysis essay?

The purpose of writing this essay is to identify the writer’s style and point of view. It is used to analyze the writer’s method of persuasion and how effective it is. An excellent rhetorical analysis should explore the writer’s goals and techniques.

Whenever a rhetorical analysis prompt is given, be attentive to certain aspects. Focus on rhetorical strategies, persuasive elements, and evidence that support their main ideas.

Rhetorical analysis strategies

There are three primary methods of rhetorical strategies created by Aristotle. They are also called methods of persuasion –

  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos

The ethos appeals to ethics. It refers to an author’s credibility and implies knowledge, competence, or expertise for a particular subject.

The pathos appeal to emotions. This strategy is used to make the readers relate to the writer’s words, ideas, or thoughts. The primary goal here is to elicit feelings (like happiness, grief, anger, pity, etc.) in the reader. Pathos is used through metaphors, storytelling, personal anecdotes, etc.

The logos appeals to rational thinking/reasoning. This strategy relies on logical facts, unlike the other two approaches. This rhetorical device uses undeniable statistical data and facts to persuade the reader.

These are the three appeals, also called a rhetoric triangle – used to persuade the audience.

How to analyze a text on rhetoric?

You now know what rhetorical analysis is and what are the three primary rhetorical analysis strategies. Now, let us simplify it a little more. We will explain what questions to ask yourself when you want to write a rhetorical analysis essay.

The rhetorical analysis starts with examining the subject (text, visual, or audio element) in detail.

Some of the appropriate questions that you can consider worth pondering are:

  • What is the author’s purpose?
  • Does the author only focus on the key points or discuss other topics?
  • What is the tone used by the author – formal or informal? Authoritative or personal? Angry or sympathetic?
  • What type of evidence does the writer present?
  • Did the author succeed in convincing the target audience?

These are some of the questions that you may use to analyze the given text. Please note that there is no need to cram every rhetorical device in your analysis. Just focus on the important ones related to the text.

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay?

To write a top-notch analysis essay, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of rhetorical strategies and devices. One more important point is that the article must be well-structured and organized.

Please follow the rhetorical analysis essay outline given here to organize your content. But, if you are provided with a structure beforehand by your instructor, then go ahead and use it.

We suggest you familiarize yourself with the given text before beginning the outline. There is no standardized rhetorical analysis essay outline. But, you may follow the 5-6 paragraph outline.

The rhetorical analysis essay outline consists of three sections: Introduction, body, and conclusion.

The structure

Introduction: This is the first passage of the analysis. It must contain – Rhetorical Précis and a Thesis statement.

The first section (introduction) is usually one paragraph. It plays a vital role in attracting the readers’ attention. This section is a crucial part where you can earn the reader’s trust. You can do that by showing them that you understand the assigned text completely. Please keep this section short and informative. 

What to write in this section?

A summary of the analyzed work in your words. A brief mention of the persuasive style used by the author and its effect on the reader. Lastly, write a thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Body: This section will usually have at least three paragraphs. Every paragraph must have a topic sentence at the beginning and a transition sentence at the end. It includes examples and a discussion of the main idea. 

What to write in this section?

The paragraphs in the body section involve a critical analysis of the given text. You can use this segment to explain the methods used by the author to inform or persuade the reader. Identify the writer’s strategies and explain them.

Consider the questions that we have provided to analyze the text. Check the type of language used by the author. Is it formal or informal? Persuasive or authoritative? Discuss each critical aspect in separate paragraphs. Do not cram everything into a single paragraph.

Furthermore, make a note of the shift in tone and diction. And use appropriate citations in the body paragraphs. MLA is the commonly used citation format used in literature.

Conclusion: This is the last section of the essay. It is usually one paragraph. You are supposed to restate your thesis and summarize the body of your article here.

What to write in this section?

Write a summary of all main points written in the body and restate the thesis statement. Talk about the impact of the author’s words on the audience. Finally, end the essay with a strong concluding sentence.

6 Tips to write a rhetorical analysis essay

Once you understand the outline. You can analyze the given text. So that it becomes easy to write the rhetorical analysis. So here’s how you can write a rhetorical analysis essay in six easy steps:

  1. Identify the persuasion strategy: Determine the type of appeal made by the author. We have already discussed the rhetoric triangle of Aristotle. Please refer to that to know which kind of strategy is used.

Tip: the author may use more than one type of strategy. So, while explaining your analysis, you need to pinpoint the technique used by the author, the reason to use it, and how compelling it is.

  1. Read multiple times: You can write a great analysis only if you have understood the subject well. Do not read the given text just once or twice. Give it multiple reads to analyze the text. 

Tip: Focus on the author’s writing technique, make notes, and observe any patterns when you are reading the given text. 

  1. Write a thesis statement: Formulating a thesis statement is an integral part of essay writing. A well-defined thesis statement is the one that reflects your stance on the analyzed topic.

The statement you write must be precise and justifiable in the following paragraphs with appropriate evidence. 

Tip: It is good to include the thesis statement at the end of your introduction since it sets the direction of your essay.

  1. Develop an outline: Before you start your writing, create an outline and include essential details. Having an outline ensures your analysis and arguments flow in the right direction. And also, you do not miss anything. 

You may refer to the outline mentioned above to craft your analysis essay. 

  1. Select an appropriate writing style: The way you write determines the impact of your writing. Write in the third person and keep an objective tone throughout your analysis. Stick to the present tense. 

Use the right rhetorical strategy and right words to craft an exciting read. Stick to grammar rules. 

Tip: Do not be overly critical in your analysis. Ensure that your every examination is supported by proper reasoning and supporting evidence.

  1. Revise and proofread: Your work does not end with writing. You will need to revise and make edits once you are done with the paper. 

Proofread the essay before submitting it so that your writing is error-free and plagiarism-free. 

These are the six steps that you must follow to write a rhetorical analysis essay. You can also look at some rhetorical analysis essay examples to understand how it is written.

Consider writing a rhetorical analysis essay on the movie ‘Matrix’ or on the novel ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. These are just two rhetorical analysis essay examples. However, you can find more examples and samples.

We understand how challenging it is to write a rhetorical analysis essay. However, you can deliver a perfect essay with sincere practice and effort. To write a fantastic article, you must not only understand the rhetorical strategies. But, you must also know the writing techniques and literary devices.

Remember to avoid mistakes and follow the steps given here. You will undoubtedly score well in writing the analysis essay.

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