Writing a rhetorical analysis essay can be a challenge. This article will provide a clear rhetorical analysis essay definition, provide rhetorical analysis essay samples, and give you the skills you need to write a compelling rhetorical analysis essay.
The fundamentals of writing any one of the many types of academic essays are fairly constant.
Rhetorical analysis essays, however, are a bit more complicated.
Before writing any rhetorical analysis essay, you first need a clear understanding of what rhetorical analysis actually involves.
Rhetorical analysis is a system of breaking down written text into its many parts...and then providing perspectives on each of those parts.
But before you begin to write and analyze any written text, you must engage in significant critical thinking about the elements of the text. That requires critical thinking and a careful articulation of an evaluation of the words used in a given text and how they influence the reader.
Rhetorical essays seek a deeper look into the use of language, its intentions, and its perception by the audience.
A rhetorical analysis essay requires you to break down a piece of nonfiction writing into different parts and then to analyze and explain how these parts work as a whole and the effects those individual parts working both independently and as a whole have on a reader.
First, define the purpose of the text, whether to entertain, educate, instruct, persuade, or dissuade.
A rhetorical analysis doesn’t focus on whether or not you agree with the author’s point of view. Rather, a rhetorical analysis dissects and appraises the manner in which that point of view is presented and makes a conclusion as to the effectiveness of the text with respect to its intention.
Did the author succeed in communicating? If so, what elements contributed to that success? If the intended communication faltered in any way, how did the language fall short of its intended purpose? Evidence supporting that conclusion must be presented through an examination of the different tools and techniques used by the author and their effect upon the reader.
The presentation of an argumentative proof and a promising opinion make it critical for the students.
Writing a rhetorical essay requires a high degree of literacy and the ability to analyze the use of language, as well as an awareness of the subject matter topics being discussed in the original piece which you are reviewing.
Do you know the basic purpose of writing a rhetorical essay?
The main purpose of rhetorical analysis is to figure out how the author of the work under analysis presented his argument with a consistent point of view and whether or not it was successful in making that argument to a non-biased reader.
Once you’ve done the critical reading and thinking of the text under consideration, you need to present the author’s viewpoint in your own words with the rhetorical analysis that supports the author’s intention or purpose.
It’s not just a matter of repeating what the original author wrote in your own words. Your rhetorical analysis needs to tell us why and how the original author achieved the purpose of his writing.
Public speeches delivered both verbally and in written form are great targets for rhetorical analysis. The authors (“rhetoricians”) of such presentations always have an objective in communicating with their audience, and they generally use easily-identifiable rhetorical techniques that include appeals within three distinct categories:
To write a compelling rhetorical analysis, answering these questions will provide the essential guidelines to follow as you begin your composition:
While there is no standard template for writing the rhetorical analysis essay, the following guidelines will ensure your essay meets the standards:
Begin by de-constructing the material under analysis.
Once you’ve understood the fundamentals of the material under analysis, outline your rhetorical essay in the same fashion including those elements while adding a discussion of
Starting the writing of any essay is often a sticking point.
Here are some ways to get your writing off to a start:
Try to inspire your reader with a “call to action” that defines your purpose in writing the rhetorical essay. Know your personal “why” and your reader will follow you anywhere.
Catch your reader’s attention with a declarative statement that clearly expresses your personal point of view of the subject matter addressed by the original author. (“I believe that…”)
The use of humor or irony throughout your rhetorical analysis can be very effective, but be sure the original topic addressed by the author is appropriate for such an approach.
You can begin with an interesting fact, quotation, question, metaphor, a piece of poetry or an exciting story.
What is the heart of the rhetorical analysis essay?
Your opinion--as expressed in your concluding paragraph and based upon the evidenced presented in the body paragraphs of the essay--makes or undermines the objectives of your rhetorical essay.
Your personal perspective (based upon facts, established data, prior research, widespread beliefs) is critical to engaging and maintaining your reader’s interest. If you have no point of view, your reader won’t care about what you’re saying.
This does not mean you need to agree with the original author’s conclusions; nor does it mean you’re obliged to take issue with the original author.
The point of the rhetorical essay is neither agreement or disagreement with the original author; the point is to analyze the author’s effectiveness at present the material and his conclusions.
Always make all of your statements impersonal and the supporting evidence of your persuasive conclusions strong.
In addition to presenting your opinion, demonstrate your academic research and writing skills.
Do this by exploring the solutions to solve the problem in the text under analysis.
Keep it simple! Avoid the use of compound-complex sentence structure. Use vocabulary in common vernacular. Don’t give the reader any reason to stop reading or pause to consider the way in which you articulate your points.
After conducting the analysis, choose the appropriate strategy to justify personal views and add meaningful and insightful content in your body paragraphs and in your concluding statements.
The most common types of Rhetorical strategies leading to an engaging rhetorical analysis include:
The Objective Approach:
Invest time in writing a detailed description of the text under analysis. Your detailed description will help the reader create a strong image of the original author as well as of yourself and you interest in the material. Describe the physical characteristics of individual authors or of any specific locations pertinent to the topic area under discussion.
The Subjective Approach:
Deal with your personal opinions, impressions, and feelings about the topic, the original author, and the content of the writing under rhetorical analysis.
As the name suggests, the authors can describe the cause of a particular event or situation and what were the possible effects according to the scenario.
To know more about writing a cause and effect essay, read the article “Writing a Cause and Effect Essay: Beginners Guide”.
Process analysis is all about the “How” of the topic under discussion. How did the event take place? How did that happen? How were conclusions reached?
Examples help readers relate themselves to the rhetorical discussion or to the real-life situation presented by the author. Examples often accelerate the learning process and help to persuade readers to your point of view.
When you compare one thing to another, look for the similarities between the two. Compare two or more things to see how they are related to one another.
Similarly, when you contrast one thing to another, you look for the differences between the two. You contrast two or more things to determine how they are different from one another.
The narration strategy includes the physical description of the event, its location, the people involved in the situation, the plot or storyline, feelings of those involved, and any changes experienced by those individuals.
The most commonly used method to perform a rhetorical analysis is the SOAPSTone method.
SOAPSTone is an acronym for speaking, occasion, audience, purpose, subject and tone. This method makes it easier to understand any authors work and how it might have affected the audience
Determine who is the speaker (writer) of the text under analysis. For example, is the speaker the author, a character or a narrator?
The setting, time, and place where the related events took place
Who is being addressed? Why did the speaker/writer choose this particular audience? Is there more than one target audience?
The goal or purpose of the author. Why did he choose to write about the topic under discussion? Why was it important to speak or write about it? Was the author/speaker’s goal clearly defined?
Explore the subject in great depth. What is the primary meaning? Is there additional relevant information that is revealed throughout the text?
Pay attention to the text and how it has been organized. What emotions does the text evoke in its audience?
A study of the effectiveness of a written or spoken text is the fundamental purpose of an rhetorical analysis essay.
Your ability to prove your own point of view with respect to that effectiveness requires a specific approach. Consider the following approaches carefully; the wrong one may undermine your rhetorical analysis and the conclusions you reach.
The success or failure of your rhetorical analysis essay rests upon your application of ethos, pathos and logos.
In either approach, you must critically inspect each and every detail of the text under analysis.
The primary purpose of the writer is to reflect the essential skills of analytical and critical thinking.
A successful rhetorical essay begins with a strong position as stated in your opening thesis statement.
Beyond your introductory paragraph (and the statement of your thesis), support your position with logic, emotion, and proof.
You are expected to present your rhetorical analysis essay with flawless grammar, accurate punctuation and spelling, and in a style that engages the reader all the way to your concluding paragraph.
As logical, emotional, and persuasive as the facts and points of your rhetorical analysis may be, your points will be ineffective if poorly expressed outside the conventions of proper grammatical composition.
You must write clearly, succinctly, and within the rules of grammatical expression for your analysis to be received with credibility. Poor grammar and obscure sentence structure destroys your message.
Write clearly. Edit ruthlessly.
What is the difference between rhetorical and other kinds of essays, you ask?
Principles and techniques of ethos, pathos and logos set the rhetorical analysis essay apart from other kinds of essays.
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