How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay for AP English

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay for AP English

With professional advice, there is no doubt that you can always know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English quite easily and fast. In fact, you will find out that writing a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English entails more or less just the same techniques used in other academic papers. In this section, we will offer you expert advice and well illustrated examples for proper guidance on how to write a good rhetorical analysis essay for an English assignment.

In order for you to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English, it is important that you master the art of analyzing rhetorical strategies used in various texts. For instance, a rhetorical analysis essay assignment will require you to explain the various tools of rhetoric used by the author in an attempt to alter the minds of his audience. An effective rhetorical analysis essay should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the interplay of rhetoric strategies.

In a typical rhetorical analysis essay assignment, you will often be given an essay or a speech to analyze. The texts mainly range from 500 to 1, 000 words long. The excerpts are often written by experts in rhetoric, historians and could even be several centuries old. However, that should not scare you since it does not change the way of writing. In fact, there are even instances that you may be asked to write a rhetorical analysis essay for a recent speech. All these are good indicators that it is quite important for you to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English.

Tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English

Just like it is with writing other kinds of academic papers, there are certain basic rules that must be adhered to when it comes to a rhetorical analysis essay. The following are some of the main guidelines on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English.

Understand the purpose of the text

In order for you to vividly picture what is expected in the essay, it is vital that you first get to know the mind of the author. In every rhetorical text, there is always a message or idea that the author intends to pass to the audience. This will help you in having a deeper understanding of the text or speech, thereby delivering a good rhetorical analysis essay.

Get to know the target audience

It is also critical that you determine the audience to whom the author’s text is directed. There are various reasons for writing texts with rhetoric strategies. Besides, some can be targeted at college and high school students while others at professors and lecturers. Knowing the audience will assist you in framing the analysis essay in a way that will be appealing.

Consider the strategies used by the author

Understanding the strategies of rhetoric used by an author in a text or speech is equally important when you want to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English. The strategies may not be used all over the text but in just parts of it. Your main task in writing the essay will be to explain these strategies and how they have been used by the author in the given speech or work.

In determining the rhetoric strategies used in the piece, you will need to carefully go through it to establish the appeal like ethos, pathos and logos. Besides, you also should try to locate the various rhetoric styles in the text like syntax, diction, imagery, tone and details.

Ask questions

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English requires you to give more than just a summary of the text or speech. This implies that you have to critically study the various aspects of rhetoric strategies, how they are used and also the goals of the author.

Answering the following questions can also help you to get a deeper understanding of the speech or text to be analyzed.

  • How has the rhetorical strategies helped the author in attaining his reason for writing the speech or text?
  • Why did the author choose those strategies for his or her audience and for that specific occasion?

The above questions will assist you in brainstorming the ideas to include in your analysis. After putting together your thoughts, you can now proceed to writing the essay.

Step-by-step procedures on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English

There may be different avenues to pursue in writing a rhetorical analysis essay. However, the following steps are the best ones that should guide you on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English assignment.

Crafting the introduction    

The opening statements of your rhetorical analysis essay should clearly indicate the author, subject of text and also the occasion when it was presented or published. In order to vividly identify the author, you can give his or her credentials, first and last name.

For instance, a good introduction should begin like, ‘’Renowned author, Joan Didion, in her essay, ‘The Santa Ana,’’ describes the dramatic mood changing impacts of the Santa Ana winds on human behavior…’’

In the introduction, you should also say briefly, the purpose of the text and also the attitude or tone adopted by the author in passing his or her message across to the audience. This is where you will also put the thesis statement by stating the perspective that your discussion will take.

The introduction should be brief but you have to ensure that all the elements outlined above are included to make the analysis compelling to readers.

The body of the essay

This is the section where you are required to give a comprehensive explanation of the rhetoric strategies used in the text by the author. The most ideal way of crafting the body should be adopting the chronological order. This implies that you clearly explain how the various strategies that you have identified have been applied across the text from the start to conclusion. This will ensure proper flow of ideas in the essay.

Discuss each strategy separately, clearly showing the message of the author and how the strategies have been effectively portrayed in the text or speech. In order to make your work easy to read, it is advisable that you discuss every strategy in a different paragraph.

While writing, it is also important to give the actual statements or sentences depicting rhetoric as used in the text to make the essay more convincing. However, they have to be tied together in the argument to ensure that your essay is relevant and cohesive.


A good conclusion should be short and remind the audience of the basis of the essay or what was being discussed therein. It should bring the doubts of readers to a halt by giving them a lesson to learn or pointing to future developments. It would be important that you echo the introduction at the end of the analysis.

Examples of rhetorical analysis essays for AP English

The samples below have been written by professionals and can also enable you to easily master the art of how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English.

Example 1

A Rhetorical Analysis of U2’s ‘’Sunday Bloody Sunday’’

This sample has a more elaborate introduction consisting of two paragraphs but the author has still skillfully included the required elements. Part of the introduction reads;

‘’Written partly as a response to the events of January 30th 1972 when the Paratroop Regiment of the British Army killed 14 people and wounded another similar number during a civil rights demonstration in Derry, Ireland, ‘’Sunday Bloody Sunday’ instantly holds the listener. The song not only speaks ill of the British Army, but the Republican Army as well…’’

The entire sample can be found here.

Example 2

‘’Florence Kelley uses various strategies to communicate her ideas. She hates that children have to work or labor for longer hours into the night. She thinks that it is bad for children to be going to work when adults are coming home from work. Kelley applies rhetorical emotional and logical appeals to emphasize the idea that children should not be put to such labor…’’

Click here to read the whole of this rhetorical analysis essay sample.

Example 3

A Rhetorical Analysis essay of Claude McKay’s, ‘’Africa’’

‘’Keeping with Shakespearean literary style, Claude McKay’s ‘’Africa’’ is an English sonnet that relates the short but tragic life of a fallen heroine. The poem begins with a long sentence of clauses that are tactically arranged. The first one of them states, ‘’The sun sought thy dim bed and brought forth light’’ (line 1). Referencing scientific and historical beliefs on the origins of Africans, the line is related to Genesis, whereby God brings forth light with a single command…’’

You can find the entire essay here.

If you are experiencing challenges on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay for AP English or any other academic assignment, simply get in touch with us for professional help. You can also visit our homepage to find out more on our academic writing services.