How To Write A Rhetorical Analysis Essay

How To Write A Rhetorical Analysis Essay

As a student in college or university, you will at some point be required to write a rhetorical analysis essay. Having no clue on how to write one might put you at a crossroads. You need to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay before penning down any information.

Having a clue on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay will motivate your readers to navigate past the first paragraph. Before equipping you with much knowledge on how to write the essay, how can you describe a rhetorical analysis essay? Read on to explore more.

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How can you describe a rhetorical analysis essay?

Prior to writing, ask yourself what is a rhetorical analysis essay? This is an essay that examines a text from the standpoint of rhetoric. It cares less about what the writer says and more about the manner in which they communicate it: their goals, strategies, and audience appeals. A rhetorical analysis follows the same format as other essays: an introduction that states the thesis, a body that analyzes the text in detail, and a summary/ conclusion that wraps everything up. As explained below, knowing a rhetorical purpose definition and the main goals behind writing the rhetorical essay is critical.

What is the purpose of a rhetorical analysis essay?

A rhetorical purpose can be defined as a reason behind why the art of persuasion is done. A rhetorical analysis essay aims to ask you to analyze how authors or speakers in various social settings try to impact other people through speech (inclusive of spoken or written language, gestures, images.etc.).

You cannot compare the rhetorical analysis essay to a summary. It does not as well try to find out whether you are for or against the author’s point of view. Instead, the rhetorical analysis goal is to build an argument concerning how the author communicates the right message to the target audience.

You’re looking into the author’s purpose, describing and demonstrating the strategies or tools utilized, and evaluating their efficacy. You must first deconstruct a particular rhetorical situation and examine the writer’s rhetorical strategies for you to compose a rhetorical analysis.

Components of a rhetorical analysis essay

While writing a rhetorical analysis essay, you don’t just dive directly into writing. Keep in mind various aspects guiding you. Rhetoric, or the skill of persuasion, is a topic that teaches you to analyze writings, speeches and arguments in light of how they intend to convince your readers. This section introduces a handful of the rhetoric field’s most essential principles.

Rhetorical appeals

As an author, you should use appeals to persuade your audience. In rhetoric, three major appeals are discussed: logos, ethos, and pathos, which were founded by the philosopher Aristotle and are frequently referred to as the rhetorical triangle.


In logos or logical appeal, you base your arguments on the utilization of reasoned discussion. Arguments are accumulated through logic and evidence in this style, which is the most common in academic writing.


In the ethical appeal, authors present themselves as authorities on their topic. For instance, while making moral reasoning, you might emphasize your personal morally commendable character. While raising a technical issue, on the other hand, you might position yourself as a specialist by highlighting your credentials.


Pathos, or the tragic appeal, arouses the emotions of your rhetorical analysis essay reader. You can include speaking with passion, using vivid images, or attempting to elicit sympathy, wrath, or any emotional reaction from your audience. The three arguments above are all recognized as essential components of rhetoric, and an author can use any combination of them to persuade their audience.

Rhetorical strategies

You must assess the author’s technique of employing rhetorical strategies to deliver the message after you have broken down a rhetorical situation.

Consider the following while you examine the text:

Author effectiveness in achieving their goal

How effective is the author’s use of ethos appeal in achieving their goal? In other words, how would the author persuade an audience concerning their credibility, authority, or trustworthiness? What credentials do they possess to speak on this subject? How can the author show that the audience shares their values?

How well does the writer employ the appeal of pathos in order to achieve their goal? In other words, how can the author elicit feelings in an audience such as sympathy, wrath, courage, piety, happiness, grief, and so on? What is the author’s strategy for establishing a relationship with the target audience? What colors, images, and sounds does the writer employ to elicit these emotions?

How well does the author take advantage of the logos’ attractiveness to achieve their goal? What kind of evidence is used by the author, and what types of reasoning does he employ? What is the author’s method for organizing their thoughts or putting their essential points in order? Is repetition, inductive or deductive logic used by the author? Is there any mention of precedents in the author’s work? What about counter-arguments or points of view?

Rhetorical situation

This is the text’s communication context, which contains the following elements:

  • Audience: This is the target group of a piece
  • Speaker/Writer/Author: The person or group of persons who wrote the material
  • Goal/Purpose: The information that the writer intends the target group to know, believe, do or feel something. Therefore, the purpose is to enlighten, convince, and entertain them
  • Exigence: The text’s purpose for being, including a specific incident, scenario, or stance in a current argument to which the author is responding
  • The message: This is the text’s content, the main point(s) that the author conveys to an audience
  • Genre and medium: The means of delivery, which covers both broad and tightly specified communication categories such as:

Text that begins with the letter A (peer-reviewed articles, newspaper editorials, magazine essays),

  • Images (adverts, photographs),
  • Sound (radio commercials, speeches, songs),
  • Multimodal texts (Performances, YouTube videos, graphic novels).

Context and text

A text alone is not always a writing piece in rhetoric. Any part of the information you are studying is a text. It could be, for instance, a speech, a commercial, or an image that creates satire. Your study would include more than mere words; you would also consider the text’s visual or aural features. The context encompasses everything that surrounds the text:

  • What is the author’s name (or presenter, or designer, or whoever)?
  • Who is your (aspirational target or actual) audience?
  • When, where, and why was the text created?

Considering the context can aid your incorrect analysis of the rhetorical essay. For example, President Obama’s speech which led to the slogan “Yes, I can!” has international appeal, but knowing the context of the speech is crucial.

Claims, evidence, and justifications

A rhetorical analysis essay is constantly making an argument, whether it’s incredibly defined and reasonable (as in a philosophical essay) or one which your reader must deduce (e.g., in an article full of satire). Claims, facts, and warrants are used to build these arguments. A claim is a concept or notion that the author attempts to persuade the reader upon.

A fact might be limited to a single claim or a collection of them. Claims are typically expressed openly, although they can also be implied in certain types of material.

You should utilize support to back up every claim you make while writing your rhetorical analysis essay. These can include anything from concrete evidence to emotional arguments -anything which persuades your reader to embrace a proposition.

The rationale or presupposition that ties support to a claim is known as the justification. The justification is rarely expressed outside of very formal reasoning author thinks that their readers will comprehend the relationship without it. That isn’t to say you cannot look into the implicit justification in such situations.

Text analysis

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay isn’t as simple as picking a few concepts and using them in a document. Instead, it begins with a close examination of the text and the formulation of pertinent questions on how it functions:

  • What is the writer’s motivation?
  • Do they stick to their main points, or do they cover a wide range of topics?
  • Are they furious or compassionate in tone?
  • Is it better to be personal or authoritative?
  • Is it more official or informal?
  • Who does it appear to be aimed at?
  • Is it likely that this audience will be reached and persuaded successfully?
  • Which type of proof is presented?

Interpreting the text

Rhetorical analysis isn’t as simple as picking a few concepts and applying them to a text. Instead, it begins with a close examination of the text and the formulation of pertinent questions about how it functions:

  • What is the author’s motivation?
  • Do they stick to their main points, or do they cover a wide range of topics?

These questions will help you learn about the many rhetorical methods. Don’t feel obligated to use each rhetorical terminology you know; instead, concentrate on the most relevant ones to your text. The section that follows demonstrates how to compose a rhetorical analysis essay outline.

Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are those that allow you to express yourself in a specific way. Information is conveyed using devices, figurative language, and techniques. The following are ten standard rhetorical devices, along with literary device definitions.

Alliteration is a literary technique in which the beginning consonant sounds of two or more words are repeated. An analogy is a rhetorical device used to make a comparison between two seemingly unlike elements.


This stylistic element involves repeating a phrase or a word after each clause.


This is a rhetorical technique whereby two or more two phrases are weighed against one another, reversing their forms, resulting in an artistic result.


 A symbolic speech is frequently employed to substitute a phrase or word associated with a thought that may cause discomfort to others.


A set utterance or phrase made up of at least two words that are considered to mean something other than what individual terms of the word would suggest. A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two different things.


 This is a literary device in which a phrase is repeated at the start of each subsequent sentence, phrase, or clause.


A stylistic element involves repeating a word or phrase after each clause.


This is a literary language that assigns human characteristics to inanimate objects as well as concepts.


Similes are figurative expressions wherein two essentially different things or ideas are explicitly compared using the words such as ” as or “like.”

Outline for your rhetorical analysis essay

The rhetorical analysis essay format is quite similar to that of other essays. Firstly, include a thesis statement at the start of your paper. Make a plan based on the thesis. The outline can be simple, such as a few more keywords to review progress. You can be more detailed, such as using phrases for each paragraph and the arguments you would like to make.

Whatever approach you use to create an outline, be sure it fits your writing style the best. You’re all set to take a deep plunge into the ocean! However, your preparedness at this juncture has ensured that you own a floating device on hand. Include these three significant components in writing an essay: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Introduction to your rhetorical analysis essay

A rhetorical analysis, like other essays, introduces the reader. Your rhetorical analysis essay introduction informs readers about the material you’ll be analyzing and gives pertinent background information. You should also include your thesis statement and an opening hook. It’s a good idea to have a brief summary as well as the persuasion techniques.

The body: Conducting the analysis

You’ll immediately address the text in your rhetorical analysis essay body. In a lengthy essay, it may be divided into utmost three paragraphs. Every paragraph should dwell on a distinct aspect of your text and add to your entire thesis statement argument. The true magic will take place here.

You’ll not only defend your ideas, but you’ll also delve into the author’s SOAPS questions and persuasion techniques. Employ the thesis to direct your content and ensure that your points are covered. When creating the body, keep the following in mind:

  • Go through the list in chronological order
  • Give the author’s technique of persuasion its section
  • As you write, keep in mind your SOAPS considerations
  • Make use of quotations to back up your claims
  • Instead of writing the task with the author’s voice, use yours


Your rhetorical analysis conclusion sums up your essay by simply repeating the central argument and demonstrating its development through your analysis. It may also attempt to connect the text, and your study of it, to a more significant issue.

Bring it to a close with a boom! Your ending should wrap up your rhetorical analysis essay by reiterating your thesis, highlighting crucial elements, and bringing everything to a close. Don’t make it monotonous. When you are done with your paper, you want the reader to relax, take a deep breath, and remark, “Wow.”

 Rhetorical analysis essay topics

You could be unsure where to start when writing a rhetorical analysis essay. Choosing rhetorical analysis essay topics is an excellent place to start. You should select a subject for your rhetorical analysis essay that you are passionate about.

It should provide you with adequate material to incorporate into your essay. Famous speeches, poetry, art, literature, movies, and other topics are popular choices. Explore these distinct rhetorical analysis essay topics to give you a clue on how to choose the ideal one.

Significant rhetorical analysis essay themes

Topics for rhetorical analysis can include more than legendary presidents and Mel Gibson from Braveheart. Investigate these one-of-a-kind rhetorical analysis subjects, including current events, movies, and art.

  • “Do Schools limit Creativity?” asks one student.
  • Any TedTalk theme that interests you
  • Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
  • President Trump’s speech for the Dove Real Beauty initiative
  • The film The Unseen Side
  • The significance of Mona Lisa’s smiling face
  • A blog that thrills you

Topics for Rhetorical Analysis Essays on Literature

 Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an example of a rhetorical analysis theme. You could wish to try one of these literary subjects to make your essay remarkable.

  • A talented new author
  • The Hunger Tournaments: Catching Fire vs The Lottery
  • How various authors define heroism
  • Symbolism in the Harry Potter series.
  • Animal Farm
  • The importance of hope as a literary theme in the exploration of prejudice in a recent novel
  • The significance of symbolism in novels
  • Your preferred novel’s rhetorical methods

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics: Special Speech Ideas

It’s easy to hop on the Martin Luther King Jr. bandwagon when planning to write a rhetorical analysis essay. If you need to write an exceptional rhetorical analysis essay, look further than the ordinary for these contemporary and unique speech topics.

  • “Banquet Speech” by Bob Dylan for the Nobel Banquet
  • Malala Yousafzai’s speech during the United Nations Youth Takeover
  • Pink’s acceptance speech at the 2017 VMAs
  • Private Ryan’s Rescue
  • “The Further I Get from Home. “Kutcher, Ashton
  • The Teen Preference Awards
  • Winston Churchill’s “On the Beaches, We’ll Fight.”
  • Chief Joseph of the Dead Poets Society’s
  • Speech of Alexander the Great
  • The Fascist Tyrant, Charlie Chaplin

When selecting a topic for your rhetorical analysis essay, your imagination limits you. You might look at a rhetorical analysis essay example to get plenty of information. You can further your research by exploring the ethos, logos, ad pathos, and samples of questions in a rhetorical analysis essay to sharpen your skills.

How to write a rhetorical analysis thesis

While writing your rhetorical analysis essay, it is of essence that you know how to write a rhetorical analysis thesis. For your Rhetorical Analysis, you’ll need to write a thesis. You’ll need to write a thesis for your rhetorical analysis essay after studying the rhetorical strategies and situation.

Frequently, your topic sentence will evaluate the author’s ability to use rhetorical tactics to achieve their goal with the target audience. You might use a template like this:”[Author] uses [rhetorical methods] to effectively persuade [audience] about [message] in [text].” Now that you know how a rhetorical analysis thesis is written read on to explore a step-by-step guide on writing a rhetorical analysis essay.

Step to step guide on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

The term rhetorical analysis can be frightening. When you start breaking down the terms, it’s not as scary as you may imagine. Rhetoric, first and foremost, is an artistic expression. Analyzing a piece of writing is the same as undertaking any rhetorical analysis. Isn’t it a lot less complicated now? Learn how to write a rhetorical analysis essay with this chronological guide.


Consider SOAPS: There are numerous components to consider when preparing to write. Before you can analyze the many tactics employed by a writer, you must first comprehend the elements of writing. This is where SOAPS can help. Note that SOAPS is an abbreviation.

The letter S stands for speaker, as in who narrates the story. Is it possible that it’s the author? Is the author similar to the speaker? O designates occasion – What is the location of the text? What moment in history is the text in? What happened in the days leading up to the writing? Was there a trigger for the rhetorical analysis essay?

The letter A stands for the audience: for whom was the text written? Is the target audience identified? P stands for purpose: what was the reason behind the writer composing the essay? What does it say? The letter S stands for the subject, which refers to the main goal of the work. What method is used to reveal this?

There’s still one more thing to consider: ‘tone.’ Consider the language, tone, and images. Examine its significance of it.

Select a Subject

Now that you’ve had SOAPS on your mind, it’s essential to select a topic. This will be a piece of writing, as the name suggests. It shouldn’t be necessarily a literature piece. You can use different writing genres, such as poems, speeches, and famous addresses, to complete a rhetorical analysis.

While there are no limits to what you can write about, make sure it’s something you’re interested in. Anyone can select President Obama’s speech, for instance. Nevertheless, choose something that is meaningful to you.

  • Is your school captain giving a great speech?
  • Consider examining it.

It’s all about analysis once you’ve chosen a topic. SOAPS should be used to read the entire article thoroughly. This entails more than simply reading what it states. Examine every aspect of the piece of writing. Investigate their style of persuasion.

They employed terms such as pathos, ethos, and logos. Do they make an emotional plea as Martin Luther King Jr. did? Do they have a more rational argument? Maybe they’re trying to persuade you to change your sense of morality.

Knowing the writer’s technique of persuasion can help you sketch a thesis statement. Formulate a topic sentence. What are your essay’s main points? It will establish your rhetorical analysis essay’s structure and serve as the start of your outline. Keep in mind that the thesis statement must:

  • Set the tone of the conversation
  • Make your point stand out
  • Create a reader’s standpoint

The thesis statement isn’t very concrete at first. It will change and morph while you write, becoming more robust and better. You will, obviously, need to give your essay a foundation from which to build.

How can you sharpen your rhetorical analysis essay skills?

To be an expert and make your rhetorical analysis essay stand out, you should go the extra mile. You can do online questions relating to the report, such as the ap lang rhetorical analysis essay. The questions regarding this part test your passage reading competency as well as interpretation of format, meaning, and topics.

The ap lang rhetorical essay will also equip you with essential tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay ap lang. You should also strive to learn about the ap lang strategies. You could be questioning how the AP scores affect your admission prospects—learning about the AP Lang rhetorical essay. Will unmask the doubt.

In truth, your AP scores carry minimal bearing on the admissions decision, but the rigor of your courses is given far more value in the process of application. You can also go through various student essay examples graded as the best. This will give you an idea of what your peers have done.

What should you exclude from a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

A rhetorical analysis essay is not a summary, even if you use text from a nonfiction source to explain how an author utilizes a rhetorical approach, device, or appeal and the manner in which these components operate together. It cannot also be assumed to be an argumentative essay, so you shouldn’t take sides in the debate.

You should look at how the essay is put together and see if the individual components are suitable for presenting information while communicating the author’s goals.

The bottom line

It really has been a long trek, to say the least! You, on the other hand, made it. Now you have all you need to compose an excellent rhetorical analysis paper. Are you stuck on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay? Wade through the above article keenly finds out more about a rhetorical analysis essay and a chronological guide on how to compose one by reading through the above tips.

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