How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

As a student, you should know how to write a rhetorical analysis because you will be required to write one during your life in college or university. Rhetorical analysis refers to an essay that breaks down a non-fiction work into parts after which the author explains how the parts are used to create a specific effect. The effect can be to entertain, to inform or to persuade- Rhetorical analysis essays are written on different works including texts, films, television shows, artwork and other forms of communicative media that are used to make statements to target audiences.

While writing a rhetorical analysis, you must determine the way the original work’s creator tries to make arguments. The rhetorical analysis can also include information on whether the creator was successful in making the argument or not.

A guide on how to write a rhetorical analysis

There is no single, perfect way of writing a rhetorical analysis. However, there are steps that can be followed to ensure that the specific requirements of a rhetorical analysis have been met.

They include:

  1. Gathering information

This entails collecting information about the speaker. This includes the last and first name of the speaker or the writer. If there are many credentials of the writer that gives him/her authority in the matter that is being discussed, consider them while gathering information. You also need to gather information about the occasion which is the context in which the work was created. Additionally, gather information about the intended audience and the purpose for which the work was written. The topic that is discussed by the writer is the subject. While gathering information, annotate the work and divide it into sections. Also consider the main ideas and tone of the work-

  1. Examining appeals

Appeals are attempts by the author to win the approval of the audience by playing with their common experiences or natural tendencies. There are three types of appeals-

These are:

  • Pathos

These invoke emotions of the audience in order to get approval or acceptance for ideas that are being expressed. Rhetoricians use these appeals to tap the compassion, disappointment, anger, sadness, love desire and sympathy of the reader in order to convince them to agree with them. Example of the use of pathos is a television advert that asks viewers to support a child in the third world. Such an advert appeals to the human instinct of protection and compassion for the innocent.

  • Ethos

These appeal to the character and credibility of the writer in making a case and gaining approval. Rhetoricians use these appeals to position themselves as good persons or experts to their audience and to give arguments importance. Example of such appeals is a visit by an American Heart Association’s speaker to a kinesiology class where he/she speaks about choosing healthy lifestyles.

  • Logos

These appeal to reason in making a case. In most cases, academic discourses are logos-driven since evidence and scholarship are respected by academic audiences. While using logos, rhetoricians use proof and evidence in form of careful reasoning or hard data. Example of the use of logos is a toothpaste commercial that cites statistics while employing scientific language in describing a process through which cavities can be prevented.

  1. Examining styles

Rhetoricians use different styles that include figurative language and analogies. Note down the ideas or points that have been repeated, imageries used by the author, diction and the tone of the work. Also note how the author addresses the opposition because this shows that the author does not fear opposing viewpoints.

  1. Forming an analysis

Anyone who knows how to write a rhetorical analysis must examine the gathered information to form an analysis before they start the actual writing. This entails determining how rhetorical strategies assist the creator of the work in achieving his/her purpose. At this step, you also determine whether the strategies were effective or not. Also speculate on the reason for choosing certain rhetorical appeal strategies for the target audience. You also need to determine whether the chosen strategies would have been different for another occasion or audience. It is important to remember that it is not a must that a rhetorical analysis agrees with the presented argument. The task in this analysis is basically to analyze the way an author employs appeals in presenting an argument.

  1. Writing the introduction

A well-written introduction of a rhetorical analysis sets the stage for the task that is being done. There are specific concerns that should be covered by an introduction that is written by a person who knows how to write a rhetorical analysis-

These are:

  • Informing the reader that you are writing a rhetorical analysis
  • Stating the work that you are considering in a clear manner and providing relevant background information
  • Integrating a smaller document if that is what you are dealing with in the introduction
  • Providing a basic run-down of a rhetorical situation that surrounds the work. This includes the audience, the author, context and purpose.
  1. Including a thesis statement

Announcing that the work is a rhetorical analysis alone is not enough. Your rhetorical analysis should have a clear and direct thesis statement that tells the reader what your intentions are.

Example of a thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis:

“Analyzing the images of a female body in the 25th June issue of the Cosmopolitan magazine shows a contradiction between the campaign for self-esteem by the magazine and the unrealistic and beauty demands of the advert.”

  1. Write the body

The body of a rhetorical analysis should be organized logically depending on the size and genre. Basically, there are different logical ways of organizing the body.

Here are the two major options:

  • Chronological

This is a straight-forward approach of writing a rhetorical analysis. It can be used when analyzing a booklet or web’s photos. Using this approach, you can present insights the way they are experienced by the viewer of the images.

  • Spatial

This is commonly used by people who not only know how to write a rhetorical analysis, but also experienced in writing rhetorical analysis. This approach entails covering a document in an order that it is likely to be scanned by the eye. This approach is basically dictated by the screens or pages. The spatial order is about the order of information in a plane or page.

Regardless of the approach that you take while writing the body, you should discuss the content of the work and the used style- Also include specific examples as the evidence for supporting your observations. These examples should be quoted directly but the part of the content or assertions that the author makes should be pointed out for the readers in supporting the ideas. This makes a rhetorical analysis stronger.

As you discuss the content in the body, ask these questions:

  • How has the discourse been developed in the work and why has the used methods chosen?
  • How has the discourse been arranged and why?
  • Are there weaknesses or fallacies and assumptions in the work? Do they have impact on the response of the reader?
  • Have concession, counter-argument and refutation been used effectively?

While discussing the used style, consider these features:

  • Tone and diction
  • Figurative language, allusion, irony and symbolism
  • Humor
  • Length and number of the paragraphs
  • Repetition and rhythm

Describe how each of these stylistic features enables the author to realize the purpose of the work. The author should tell whether the author used these styles successfully by reading your analysis.

  1. Write the conclusion

The conclusion of a rhetorical analysis should restate the thesis and the main ideas as well as their importance. It should also outline future work or research that you think should be done in line with your analysis.

After writing the rhetorical analysis, edit it to ensure that it is free of grammatical, typo and spelling errors. A rhetorical analysis that has glaring mistakes will reflect badly on you and this will ruin your grade. Therefore, take time to edit it or hire our editing service at a reasonable fee.

Rhetorical analysis samples

By following the above guide and reading samples of rhetorical analysis, you can easily know how to write a rhetorical analysis.

Here are links to rhetorical analysis samples:

  • Equality search rhetorical analysis-
  • Cory Doctrow’s rhetorical analysis-
  • Rhetorical analysis on why privacy is important by Professor Daniel J. Solove-

Get help with rhetorical analysis

If you encounter difficulties while writing a rhetorical analysis or if you want to know how to write a rhetorical analysis, simply contact us for assistance. You can as well visit the home page of our website for more details about our academic writing services. There are also more guidelines as well as sample papers that you can read on our blog.