Rhetorical Analysis Example

Rhetorical Analysis Example

Rhetoric refers to the study of how an author or speaker uses words in influencing the audience. Thus, a rhetorical analysis breaks down a non-fictional piece of writing into various parts and explains the intended effect of the different parts on the audience. For instance, a writer may use some elements in their document to entertain, inform or persuade. Therefore, a good rhetorical analysis example is a synthesis of someone’s work and its influence on the audience.

Besides a written document, you can also conduct a rhetorical analysis of a visual argument such as a photograph, cartoon, speech or commercial advertisement. In this article, you will find example of rhetorical analysis plus all the guidelines you need to know when mastering the art of rhetorical writing. In addition, the word rhetorician will denote the author, speaker or creator of the document to be rhetorically analyzed.

Things you should not miss in a rhetorical analysis example

The main goal of your rhetorical analysis should be to explore the goals, techniques, examples and the effectiveness in a piece of writing. In this type of writing, you are not saying whether you agree with the author or not; you are synthesizing the document. In sense, you are explaining how the writer succeeds or fails to convince the audience.

Therefore, a good rhetorical analysis example should capture on the techniques the writer uses and their effectiveness.

Here are the key elements in point form:

  • The rhetorician’s intended audience
  • The rhetorician’s purpose
  • How the rhetorician organizes the document
  • How the organization is likely to influence the audience
  • Language usage
  • The type of appeals the rhetorician used i.e. ethos, pathos and logos
  • The type of evidence the rhetorician uses to support his or her argument

The following is a good example of a rhetorical analysis. Take a look at it before we proceed to other sections of this article.

Sample #1

Why Privacy Matters: Debunking the Nothing-to-Hide Argument is a good example of a rhetorical analysis. Examine the following excerpts from the essay:

Today, privacy has become a common issue. In “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’, published in May 2011 by Professor Daniel J. Solove, privacy is beyond people hiding their wrong deals.

In this introduction, the writer of the analysis starts with a general statement. The writer also gives details about the document under analysis, stating the author of the article and the year of publication. Importantly, the writer identifies the main argument of the article, which is privacy.

To win the audience, the rhetorician gives the credentials of the writer. The article reads:

Daniel J. Solove lectures law at the George Washington University Law School. He is known worldwide as an expert in privacy matters, the founder of TeachPrivacy and has authored nine books.

With these credential, the rhetorician intends to convince the audience that the content of the analysis is credible.

You can access the rhetorical analysis example here.


Essentials of Rhetorical Analysis Examples to remember

The main challenge you are likely to face in rhetorical writing is accuracy. However, to avoid common errors and misinterpretation of documents, ensure that you look for the following and bring out their application and effectiveness.

  1. SOAPS-This acronym stands for: Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose and Subject. The five elements of rhetorical analysis should appear in the following order:

Speaker, Occasion, and Subject– give the speaker’s qualifications, their full names, type of text to be analyzed, the title of the document, and the writer’s subject.

Purpose– Every literary work that befits rhetorical analysis has a purpose. The rhetorician’s task is to identify the author’s main objective of creating the document. Ask yourself what the writer is up to in the text.

Audience- you can tell the intended audience by examining the feelings or the attitude of the writer, through the use of specific adjectives. Analyze the tone and phrases used to describe the author’s goal for the target audience.

  1. RHETORICAL STRATEGIES- Identify the various approaches the writers uses to convince the audience with his or her arguments. Look out for rhetorical appeals and style.
  2. Appeals- this encompasses ethos, logos and pathos
  3. Style- what diction, syntax, details, imagery and tone does the writer use in the text?
  4. Why did the writer settle on the techniques for the target audience, occasion and purpose?
  5. This is where you display your rhetorical analysis skills. Without this section, you are summarizing the entire text.
  6. Consider the following questions:
  7. What is the role of the strategies in achieving the author’s purpose?
  8. Why the choice of techniques?

While this process may appear cumbersome, a standard rhetorical analysis example should have a thorough synthesis to convince the reader.

Example #2

The following sample is a sample rhetorical analysis to help you apply the tips covered in the previous section. The following are excerpts from the passage.

A Search for Equality

Anne Roiphe authored Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow and was first published in 1972 by The New York Times . In her essay, Roiphe’s purpose is to convince women to have faith in the fact that they are equal to men but not superior. She employs contrast, anecdotes and comparison in winning her target audience.

She introduces the essay with her personal anecdote, detailing how she discovered that her husband was like her father. This strategy therefore identifies the essay as personal and informal. This method is effective in grabbing the readers’ attention. Roiphe also uses this technique to give the background information.

After capturing the interest of the readers, Roiphe uses contrast. She includes numerous examples in the essay contrasting men and women especially in terms of morals. About midway, the author turns to compassion, identifying similarities among men and women.

This rhetorical analysis example shows how you can digest the work of a rhetorician. It brings out the different techniques the author used to persuade her audience about equality in the society. You can read the entire essay here.

Important elements that make rhetorical analysis examples useful

Like in any other academic writing, rhetorical analyses take on a similar structure. The main parts of an analysis are:

The introduction: This is where you state the name of the essay and the full names of the author. Also, include the credentials of the author plus a brief historical background of the document. Remember to capture the aim of the author while writing the article his or her intended audience.

The body of the assay: Here, say who the target audience for the essay is. Try to establish the level of knowledge that the audience has about the topic. Ask yourself if the audience is likely to differ or agree with the arguments of the author. Bring out any values that the author tries to appeal to in convincing the readers. The second paragraph of the body should capture the appeals, which the author employs in details.

The conclusion-This is a wrap of the analysis, stating if the author succeeds in winning the trust of the readers. You may also give recommendations. Always remember not to agree or disagree with the audience in your analysis because you are not part of the intended audience.

Here is another rhetorical analysis example to help you understand the structure.

Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier

“A woman’s work is never done. Many women in America grow with this saying and consider it to be the truth. Jessica Grose, a victim of the same school of thought wrote “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier,” which was published by the New Republic in 2013. She argues that cleaning still remains a duty for men in homes even though men are helping women with childcare and cooking, a trend she considers to be unfair. Grose builds her reputation by giving personal facts and references from reliable sources. She also gives statistics coupled with emotional appeals. However, she loses her credibility towards the end as she tries to appeal to the readers’ emotions, which also weakens her argument.”

From this introductory paragraph of the essay, the author starts with a hook (A woman’s work is never done), to grab the attention of the reader. She also contextualizes the essay, by introducing the author, a victim of the American saying. The intro also captures the authors’ purpose of expressing the unfairness in men leaving cleaning to women in homes. The last sentence captures the thesis, which focuses on the author’s effectiveness to use different appeals to win the audience.

You can access this rhetorical analysis example here.

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