Tips on How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Tips on How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Have you ever wondered why nonfictional writers publish their work? Well, one of the reasons is influencing the audience. However, you can only make this conclusion through rhetorical analysis. By definition, rhetorical analysis is breaking down nonfictional work into different parts and explaining the effect of each part in influencing the audience. If this sounds like rocket science, then these tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay should be your companion.

Throughout this guide, a rhetorician shall refer to the original author of the work under analysis.

The article has simplified sections to dispel all the fears you have always had when handling rhetorical analysis. Keep reading…

A stepwise guide on How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Words are mightier than swords”. Authors exploit this saying to not only to pass across an idea but also to win the target audience, by applying different techniques. The purpose of every writer is always to:

  • Persuade the audience
  • Inform the audience
  • Entertain the audience

However, your main aim during rhetorical analysis is to find out how the author employs different strategies to convince the audience. Importantly, your work is not to say whether you agree with the author or not. Focus on how the rhetorician develops his or her argument and if the approach is successful or a flop.

Before we move further with these tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, here are elements you should for during your analysis:

  1. The author’s target audience
  2. The author’s aim
  3. The structure of the work and its effect to the reader
  4. The language used
  5. The appeals the author employs
  6. The type of evidence the author uses to convince readers

With introductory tips, let us look at a sample rhetorical analysis essay before we get into the actual writing.

Sample #1

“Why I Won’t Buy an iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either)” by Cory Doctrow

The article is a review of the iPad, one of Apple’s best selling products in the world. The author uses his experience in technology to influence his readers on why they should not consider buying Apple iPads. A successful author and blogger, Cory Doctrow began as a CD-ROM programmer.

In the article, published in 2014, on Boing Boing, the author uses his expertise and facts about Apple to convince potential buyers of the iPad that Apple limits their digital rights. The purpose of the Doctorow is to convince his readers how Apple presents technological problems and is quickly becoming obsolete.

The author uses logic to appeal to the audience by comparing Apple’s iStore to Wal-Mart. He notes that iPad users will not have the freedom to choose the apps to use or modify the hardware but stick to the manufacturer’s wishes.

He uses emotional appeals by comparing Apple to the Communist party in Russia, which controls the lives of Russians.

This excerpt was adapted from this pdf doc. The writer does a rhetorical analysis, by addressing the rhetorician’s convincing power.

Things to remember when writing an introduction for your rhetorical analysis essay

With the above general tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, you should be ready to put together an intro. In this section, you will discover how to win your audience with the first word you put on that blank paper. Are you ready? Lets goo…

The essence of an intro

Like in any writing assignment, the introduction is an important segment in rhetorical essay writing. Above all, a good intro should grab the attention of the reader and give them a convincing reason to read on. Remember, there is a lot of stuff for people to read, and no one would want to read a boring piece of work. Even your lecturer expects an appealing finished paper.

Start your rhetorical analysis by giving background information on the document. This helps to orient your audience and ensure that you move together word after word. This section allows you to set the stage for your work.

Take a look at the following introductory points before we learn more tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay.

  • Start with the hook. This is also called the attention grabber.
  • Make it clear to your reader that you are writing a rhetorical analysis so that they do not expect something that is not forthcoming.
  • Give a quick summary of your analysis. The key word here is ‘quick’ since you could be analyzing a bulky document. Save the details of your essay for the body.
  • For smaller documents like photographs, you may have to capture them in the intro especially if copyright policy of the work allows.
  • Bring out the basic rundown of the document. For example, state the name of the author, the context, the target audience, and the purpose of the piece of work.
  • Thesis statement should come as the last sentence of your introduction

The following sample introduction paragraph should help you reflect on the above tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay before you know the elements of good body paragraphs in the coming section.

Sample #2

Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier” by Jessica Grose

(Hook): “A woman’s work is never done.” This is a common saying, which American women grow up with and believing that it is true. (Context): Jessica Grose, the author of “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier,” is in this category of women. (Purpose): In her 2013 article, which appeared in the New Republics, Grose notes that though modern day men are helping in childcare and cooking, cleaning unfairly remains a task for women. (Thesis): In the beginning, Grose builds her credibility with personal details and authoritative sources, giving statistics and applying emotional appeals successfully; even though her appeals to the reader weaken towards the end, making the whole argument fragile.

This paragraph captures all the important elements you should include in your introduction to wet your readers’ appetite. Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Tips on how to write appealing body paragraphs for your rhetorical analysis essay

The body of your rhetorical analysis essay carries the details of your work. Flesh out the body by bringing out various examples of techniques the author use to influence the audience.

By the end of this section, you should be ready to hit the road and write an excellent essay by integrating all the tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay that you have learned.

How to put together your first body paragraph

This paragraph brings out the author’s target audience. The audience is who the rhetorician had in mind while creating the document. It closely relates to the occasion, which may sometimes encompass the audience.

Possible questions to answer about your audience:

  1. Does the audience have enough knowledge on this topic?
  2. Will the audience agree or disagree with the author?
  • Will readers agree or disagree among themselves?
  1. What values held by the audience does the author appeal to?

Body Paragraph 2: Tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

The trick of overcoming difficulties in writing rhetorical analysis essays, is understanding the appeals, in the document. Appeals refer to the classes of strategies that the rhetorician uses to convince the audience.

These include ethos, logos, and pathos. Let us briefly dissect each one of them.

Ethos: – These are ethical appeals. The writer uses his or her credibility to gain approval of the readers. Usually, the qualifications of the author qualify as ethos. Remember, ethos in rhetorical writing have nothing to do with ethics as you may think.

Logos: –Here, the writer uses evidence, examples and facts to support their argument and woo the audience to buy the idea.

Pathos:-They evoke emotions of the audience. The author may use sympathy, anger or desire for love.

The following example should help you master the above tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay.

Sample #3

A Search for Equality

“Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow” by Anne Roiphe was first published in 1972 in the New York Times. In the article, the author seeks to convince women to believe that they are equal to men. She uses personal anecdotes, contrast and comparison to make her point.

Roiphe introduces her essay with a personal experience. She describes the realization that her husband took after her father as horrifying. This makes it clear that the essay is personal. She uses this to win the attention of the reader.

This excerpt was adapted from

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