How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
The word rhetoric means persuasive speaking and writing. The speaker or writer chooses compositional techniques, words, and figures of speech to impress the audience or readers.
Rhetorical Analysis Definition:
A rhetorical analysis essay is a piece of writing where you pay close attention to the technique and style the writer has adopted to impress the readers. Instead of just focusing on what the writer has said, it focuses on how the writer has said something.
In simple words, you need to break down the text to identify the writer’s persuasive style and techniques to elicit people’s desired reactions.
These styles and techniques include:
- context of writing
- compositional techniques
- language (literature)
A speaker or writer may use humorous or poetic lines to explain a serious topic.
Also read: How to write a literary analysis essay
A speaker or writer can persuade people using the following rhetoric modes
What does it mean?
Comparing and contrasting two different or same ideas, concepts, people, procedures, or situations.
describing a person, place, or thing
explaining a word, topic, or idea
Arguing about a specific topic with a supporting evidence
explaining general statements with specific examples
stepwise info about how to complete a specific task
examining and explaining the outcomes and reasons behind a situation, process, or incident
Key Components of Rhetorical Analysis of the Text
In persuasive writing, writers use various contexts, composition techniques, phrases, and words to persuade them. These strategies enable readers to understand and most likely agree with the author’s perception.
- Textual context, composition techniques, and language
Context refers to the circumstances location settings during which a speech or a piece of writing is completed. It means a deep meaning surrounds a written or spoken word that the author wants to convey to the audience.
It includes the strategies used to persuade the audience by:
- Choosing a topic for a specific audience
- Selection of words, phrases, quotes, and language
- Stressing on and repeating a specific point to grab the audience attention
- Adapting a persuasive style, mood, and tone to speak or write to make the speech or writing interesting
- Develop persuasion by aligning the argument logically.
An author can use language in the form of quotes, idioms, and
literary devices like:
This type of literary speech triggers the audience’s emotions, a technique often used in creative writing pieces.
You may usually get a prompt or speech delivered by a famous personality in a rhetoric analysis essay. And you will be asked to analyze how the written text works together to persuade the people?
Also read: How long should be an essay?
- Important parts of the argument
Whether it is a political or motivational speech or philosophical essay, rhetorical writing uses an argument that convinces the readers. The claims, ground, and warrant are integral parts of a strong argument.
|Integral parts of a strong argument
|What does it mean?
|A claim is a conclusion or a point to persuade viewers or listeners. It is often called a conclusion statement in an argumentative article.
|The ground is known as evidence, data, or fact used to support the claim.
|The warrant refers to the reasoning, logic, and explanation that shows how the evidence supports the claim.
Check this article out to learn more about claims, ground, and warrants.
- Persuasive writing appeals
Appeals have been the most important technique used by writers since the Aristotle era. The appeals include ethos, logos, and pathos.
This appeal lets the readers know how credible and trustworthy the writer is in discussing this topic. It means ethos shows whether the speech conveyed is based on solid evidence, personal experience, expert recommendations, and in-depth knowledge of the topic.
Instead, if you see an advertisement recommending a dermatologist/dermatologist’s choice, it builds trust, and you are more likely to buy it.
Why so? Because a professional is recommending it, who knows the product, its usage, effects, and has expertise in that specific field.
Pathos refers to the writing style used to target the audience’s emotions like anger, happiness, sorrow, and grief. Pathos is used to convince the audience by creating an emotional bond to agree with the author’s perception.
Pathos is usually used in literary writings such as novels, dramas, and poems.
It includes logical arguments based on solid proof and reasoning to demonstrate a certain perception. The author must provide legitimate justifications before presenting an argument to validate the claim and make it more authentic. If an author uses a compelling argument, readers would most definitely be persuaded by a specific perspective.
Also read: Steps of writing an essay
How to analyse the rhetoric text?
Read the given text or speech carefully and start taking notes of the important points. While doing so, you can ask yourself the following questions to summarise the text.
- Who is the author?
- Who is the target audience?
- What’s the purpose of the writer’s speech?
- What was the writer’s/speaker’s setting while delivering or writing the speech?
- What’s the role of location and set in impacting the crowd?
If you find out the answers to the above questions, your text analysis process will get simplified in no time.
Also read: Types of essays in academic writing
How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?
Introduction of rhetorical analysis
In the rhetorical analysis introduction, you need to introduce the topic, text, or speech you will discuss in the essay. You will also write about the text’s history and background, followed by summarising the Argument’s main points. You end the introduction with a strong thesis statement.
In the rhetorical analysis essay body, you will discuss
- How has the author developed the persuasion?
- What strategies and techniques he used?
- What was the influence of each persuasive style and strategy on the audience?
Remember to devote each paragraph to critically analysing a specific strategy used by the writer.
In a rhetorical analysis conclusion, you need to summarise the main points of the Argument in a proper sequence.
You can wrap this section by highlighting:
- What was the purpose of the speech?
- How has it been delivered or written?
- What effect does the speech have on the audience?
How do those quotes exemplify the technique used by the writer?
You can try to discuss the answer to the following questions.
- What’s the purpose of this specific persuasive style or technique?
- How does it work? How does it work in this particular example?
- Why has the author chosen that particular style or technique for this type of audience?
- What effect did it create on the audience?
You can keep one paragraph of your essay’s body or break it down into 2-3 small paragraphs depending on the paragraphs’ length. However, it is a great idea to use short paragraphs to provide a better reading experience.
Do not forget to provide references and in-text citations of the quotes, statements, evidence, and facts you use to support your Argument.
Frequently Asked Questions
A rhetorical analysis essay examines how a writer or speaker uses language and persuasive techniques to convey their message and influence the audience.