How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Published by at November 1st, 2021 , Revised On November 26, 2021

The word rhetoric means persuasive speaking and writing. The speaker or writer chooses compositional techniques, words, and figures of speech to create an impressive effect on the audience or readers.

Rhetorical analysis definition:

A rhetorical analysis essay is a piece of writing in which you pay close attention to the way 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.

Example:
Political or influential speeches, advertisements to evoke emotions among people.

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.

Example:

Advertisement:

  1. This face wash is a smart people’s choice (It persuades the buyers to purchase the product targeting their emotions)
  2. The caring mothers choose this baby oil (This line is likely to persuade moms challenging them for being a caring mother)

Rhetoric modes

A speaker or writer can persuade people using the following rhetoric modes

Rhetoric Modes

What it means?

  • Compare and contrast

 

Comparing and contrasting two different or same ideas, concepts, people, procedures, or situations.

  • Narration

storytelling

  • Description

describing a person, place, or thing

  • Definition

explaining a word, topic, or idea

  • Argumentation

 

 Arguing about a specific topic with a supporting evidence

  • Illustration

explaining general statements with specific examples

  • Process explanation

stepwise info about how to complete a specific task

  • Cause and effect

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 often enable readers to understand and most likely agree with the author’s perception.

  1. Textual context, composition techniques, and language

Textual context

Context refers to the circumstances, location settings during which a  speech is delivered, or a piece of writing is written. It means a deep meaning surrounds a written or spoken word that the author wants to convey to the audience.

Example:
It could be any quote, example, or literary figure of speech that describes a climate, person, situation, or emotion. heart diseases.”

Composition techniques
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.

Language
An author can use language in the form of quotes, idioms, and

literary devices like:

  • Metaphors
  • Similes
  • Personification
  • Repetition
  • Alliteration
  • Imagery
  • Rhyming

This type of literary speech triggers the audience’s emotions that are often used in creative writing pieces.

In a rhetoric analysis essay, you may usually get a prompt or speech delivered by a famous personality. And you will be asked to analyze how the written text works together to persuade the people?

  1. Important parts of argument

Whether it is a political or motivational speech or philosophical essay, rhetorical writing is always based on an argument to convince the readers, and claims, ground, and warrant are integral parts of a strong argument.

Integral parts of a strong argument What it means?
  • Claims 
A claim is a conclusion or a point to persuade viewers or listeners. It is often called a conclusion statement in an argumentative article.
  • Ground 
The ground is referred to as evidence, data, or fact used to support the claim.
  •  Warrant 
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.

  1. Persuasive writing appeals

Appeals are the most important technique used by writers since the Aristotle era. These appeals include ethos, logos, and pathos.

  • Ethos
    This appeal enables the readers to know how credible and trustworthy the writer is in discussing this topic. It means ethos shows whether the speech conveyed is based on strong evidence, personal experience, expert recommendations, and in-depth knowledge of the topic.

Example:
When your friend suggests you use medicated skincare products to get rid of your acne, you will be skeptical about it as your friend might not be a dermatologist or skincare expert.

Instead, if you see an advertisement saying recommended by a dermatologist/dermatologist’s choice, it builds trust, and you are more likely to buy it.

Why so? Because it is recommended by a professional who knows the product, its usage, effects, and expertise in that specific field.

  • Pathos 

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.

For example, politicians use a lot of persuasive words and phrases that target the audience’s emotions.

Pathos is usually used in literary pieces of writings such as novels, dramas, and poems.

  • Logos

It includes logical arguments based on enough proof and reasoning to demonstrate a certain perception. To validate the claim and make it more authentic, the author must provide legitimate reasons before an argument is put out in writing. If an author uses a compelling argument, readers would most definitely be persuaded by a specific perspective.

Conclusion

In a rhetorical analysis conclusion, you need to summarise the main points of the Argument in a proper sequence.

Conclusion

You can wrap this section by highlighting:

  • What was the purpose of the speech?
  • How has it been delivered or written?
  • What effect is created on the audience?

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 creating an impact on the crowd?

If you find out the answers to the above questions, then your text analysis process will get simplified in no time.

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay?

Like any other essay type, a rhetorical analysis essay outline includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

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. After that, you need to include the thesis statement at the end of the introduction.

Introduction of rhetorical analysis

Body paragraphs

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?

Always remember to devote each paragraph to analyze a specific strategy used by the writer critically.

For example, you can also use specific quotes or literary figures used by the author and craft a paragraph to explain.

body paragraph

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.

About Ellie Cross

I am Content Manager at this prestigious organization who has been assisting students for a long time. I have been part of Essays UK since its inception and have seen all the ups and downs it has faced in all those years. I manage a growing team of great writers and content marketers who are contributing to a great extent to help students with their academics.