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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay – A Step-by-Step Guide

What do you know about ‘rhetorical analysis essay writing’? Want to learn more? Quickly, a rhetorical analysis essay is writing that analyzes an author’s rhetorical (technique & intent) rather than the text of the article. You will be required to write this essay in the AP English Language and Composition exams.

Academics, professionals, and students use rhetorical approaches to analyze texts. To write your rhetorical essay analysis, you need to determine answers to certain questions, such as what the desired outcome is and whether it has been achieved or not.

The rhetorical essay has the same structure as most essays: an introduction to present the thesis, a body to analyze and examine the chosen text, a section to describe how arguments are coherently constructed and which part informs, entertains, or persuades the reader, and finally a conclusion to round out your analysis.

In this article, we will explain how the rhetorical approach effectively unravels the fundamental mechanism of arguments and presentations in an academic essay. We will also explain how to write your own essay step by step.

What is a rhetorical analysis essay?

Rhetorical writing is a paper that examines an author’s use of rhetorical devices, appeals, and techniques in a text. Generally, it is an art of persuasive techniques to induce an action from your target audience.

How to Write an Essay on Rhetorical Analysis?

Writing a rhetorical essay involves several steps. First, you need to select a text, understand its context, identify the rhetorical devices used in it, make an analysis and draw conclusions.

A rhetorical essay is a demanding task and if you are stressed due to your other academic activities. You can from a professional to get a structured essay. But if you want to write it yourself, some steps explained below can bring it up to academic standards.

1. Choose and study a text

The piece of text you are analyzing in rhetorical analysis could be, for example, a political speech or an advertisement.

The first step to your professional rhetoric analysis essay is to select and analyze a text. In order to become increasingly familiar with the author’s argument and writing style, read and evaluate the text you are analyzing several times.

Make sure you have read the piece of text thoroughly and that you fully understand the main points and context. Select a text that deals with a topic that you are interested in, passionate about or knowledgeable about. This can make the writing process easier and more interesting for you.

2. Understand the context through contextual analysis

The analysis of the context of the content includes historical, social, cultural, and political elements. Contextual analysis of your rhetoric analysis essay involves inspecting the political and historical circumstances, cultural climate, and demographics.

However, everything that surrounds the text, i.e. who the author or speaker is, their audience, the time and setting in which the text was written, and its purpose, is context. Understanding the context of the text can affect the message of the lecture and its interpretation by the audience.

3. Identify the claims, support and warranties

According to Toulmin’s method, claim, support, and warrant are the main elements of an argument. In the context of a rhetorical analysis essay, a claim is what an author wants his readers to accept, support is the appeal or affirmation the author uses to convince his audience to accept the claim, and a warrant is an assumption that justifies the link between the claim and support.

To substantiate the claim, support, and evidence, you need to find answers to these questions in the text.

  • What is the author’s argument in this lecture?
  • What evidence does the author use to support his argument?
  • How does the support justify the claim?

4. Research the professions

Appeals, also called persuasive/convincing strategies, are used to stimulate desired actions from the audience. The main appeals discussed in rhetoric are often called the rhetorical triangle; Aristotle identifies logos, ethos, and pathos.

These three arguments are called the basis of rhetoric. A writer can use all three to convince the audience.

  • Logos: Logos, or logical appeal, refers to the use of rational arguments to persuade. This approach is often used in academic writing, where arguments are constructed using proper reasoning and evidence.
  • Ethos: Often this is called an ethical appeal and involves presenting the author as an authority on the subject. That is, an author making a moral argument may emphasize his or her own moral behavior, while another speaking about travel may cite his or her travel experiences.
  • Pathos: Often referred to as pathetic appeal, elicits emotions from the audience. You may be speaking passionately, trying to evoke sympathy, anger or other emotions.

One thing that is most important about rhetorical analysis essay appeals is that you cannot do them wrong. Your entire essay will be based on your analysis of the appeals.

So if you don’t have the knowledge of professions or don’t have analytical skills, you are advised to to get the job done with a perfect understanding of the arguments.

5. Make an analysis

To make an analysis, you need to look at the information collected on the topic and think about what the reading will give you.

Does the reading indicate how rhetorical appeals helped the writer achieve his goals? Do the strategies used produce results or fail? Why did the writer select these strategies for the intended audience and occasion? Decide if the strategies can be modified with the change in audience demographics and occasion.

6. Draw conclusions from your analysis

Before you start writing your rhetorical essay, you need to draw conclusions from the reading based on your analysis. For this, you need to consider the overall effectiveness.

To draw effective conclusions, analysts can look for answers to the following questions:

  • Did the writer succeed in achieving his goals?
  • What improvements could they have made to be more successful?
  • What do you think of the text?

7. Write a rhetorical analysis

After you have analyzed it thoroughly, it is time to write your rhetorical analysis paper. Remember that you should write the analysis rather than summarizing the text. To do this, you should write about composition and choices that affect the helpfulness of the text.

In the introduction, a brief overview of the text is expected to give the audience an overview of the analysis. Furthermore, the writer should focus on persuasive devices used in the text to convince the audience of the claim.

Here are some best practices for writing a rhetorical analysis essay:

  • Make sure to use the present tense when describing the actions in the article and what the author is doing.
  • Cite the author’s name correctly. When you first refer to the author, use his first and last name, and use his last name only if you refer to him again in the article.
  • Use direct quotes from the article. When writing the rhetorical analysis essay, it is a better option to quote the exact text and avoid paraphrasing. This will give a better idea of ​​the form of rhetoric used in the text.
  • You must explain each quote, determine its importance, and understand how it represents rhetoric.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples and Topics

Here we have provided a sample rhetorical analysis essay so that you can better understand its purpose and structure. The sample is from St. Luis Community College.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples and Topics

Topics for rhetorical analysis essays

These are the best topics for a good rhetorical analysis essay:

  1. Is it necessary to separate sports based on gender?
  2. How affordable are monopolies?
  3. Describe the rhetorical devices used in Palahniuk’s Fight Club
  4. Rhetorical Analysis of Edward’s Sermon
  5. A rhetorical analysis of Mona Lisa’s meaningful smile
  6. How authors deal with prejudice and racial issues in their writings
  7. How does language choice influence speech expression?

Writing your essay on these kinds of topics can help you get good grades.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a rhetorical analysis essay?

The motive of the rhetorical analysis essay is to argue how the author conveys his message to his target audience. You should examine the writer’s goals, techniques, or devices used in the text. You should also explain those techniques and analyze whether these techniques were effective or not.

What are the 5 points of a rhetorical analysis?

Here are five points of rhetorical analysis:

  1. Target audience
  2. Rhetor (author)
  3. Purpose of the text
  4. Contents of the article
  5. Context of writing

Conclusion

To conclude the article, we can say that writing a rhetorical analysis essay is quite a challenging and demanding task. It requires a lot of energy, focus, and time to complete an effective rhetorical essay.

In this article, we have covered seven steps that you can use to write a perfect rhetorical analysis essay. We have also answered the frequently asked questions and given the best examples for your understanding.

The student must have a strong knowledge of rhetorical devices and claim, support and warrant rules to get good marks out of their hard work. If you lack any of these skills, you must make use of a reputable platform to pass your essay with flying colors.

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