How to write a rhetorical analysis essay

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay

Are you finding challenges in writing a rhetorical analysis essay? Worry not! This article will guide you through an easy-to-follow step-by-step process of how to write a rhetorical analysis essay.

In rhetorical analysis essays, the article’s content is usually not examined. Instead, professors look at the student’s intent and technique used in writing the article. However, learners should not limit themselves to one but use both tools to develop high-quality rhetoric analysis articles, i.e., good writing skills and quality essay content. An excellent overall essay will earn you high marks.

Definition of a rhetorical analysis essay

What is a rhetorical analysis essay? A rhetoric analytic essay explores your opinion of an author’s work. A student is either given or is left to select a suitable topic that he can analyze and come up with an analytic essay. Here are examples of compositions that you can use to write a rhetorical analysis thesis:

  • A novel
  • Speech
  • Biography
  • TV shows like films, plays, or movies
  • Advertisements
  • Art pieces or exhibitions, etc.

A rhetorical analysis is one of the assignments offered in AP English language and composition examinations. To score highly, students must research thoroughly, select a good topic and write a rhetoric essay following a suitable format.

Questions to ask yourself before writing a rhetorical analysis essay

To report a good rhetorical analysis, students must ask themselves a few questions about the text they are reading. These questions give you answers to ponder on when writing your assignment. Some of the questions to ask yourself are as follows:

  • What is the main idea or assertion of the essay?
  • Explain how the author/speaker uses it to support the main idea
  • How does the author/speaker make use of ethos in the text?
  • How does the author/speaker appeal to reason by using logos in the text?
  • How does the author/speaker appeal to readers using emotion (pathos)?
  • Is their evidence used to support the argument? Is it reliable? Explain
  • How does the writer’s tone affect his credibility?
  • What is the tone throughout the text? (Beginning, middle, and end of the text?)
  • Can you name the rhetorical devices used in the text? Explain their effectiveness
  • List examples of figurative language used in the text. Explain their effectiveness
  • Does the author/speaker portray any prejudices against readers who might disagree with his ideas? Explain
  • Was the author/speaker effective in achieving the purpose? Explain
  • In your opinion, what is the most substantial element/part of the text/argument? Explain
  • In your opinion, what is the weakest element/part of the text/argument? Explain and provide evidence and reasoning
  • Do you believe the author/speaker achieved his purpose? Explain your answer and provide evidence and reasoning in your response
  • What is your stand against the author’s idea? Do you support him or do you not?
  • Why do you choose to support or oppose the writer’s idea?

Step by step process of writing rhetorical analysis essays

Each type of essay has a format to be followed and rhetorical analysis is no exception. An outline helps you with a step-by-step guideline on what idea to put in a paragraph. We selected the best rhetorical analysis essay outline to help you master the art of writing a good rhetoric essay. The following are steps of how to write a rhetorical analysis essay ap lang.

1.   Do sufficient research

Thoroughly research your subject to get high-quality content that convinces your reader. The “SOAPSTone” method helps you draw a clear rhetorical analysis outline and plan your essay before writing.

Since a rhetoric essay consists of many parts, you must understand them and relate them with whatever component you are analyzing, novel, movie, or play. Here is how we apply the “SOAPSTone” method. “SOAPSTone” stands for:

●     S stands for speaker

Identify who is telling the story. The author or a different persona can narrate the story. When you understand who the narrator is, you can quickly determine his interpretations of the text.

●     O means Occasion

The occasion is similar to context, a place where the events in the story occur. To easily understand context, consider time, geography, and environmental factors. At what time did the event take place? Was it a historical era, evening hours, late year, or winter season?

Understand the significant events that occurred when the author wrote the book. It helps you develop better comprehension and a clear judgment of circumstances in the text you intend to analyze.

●     A is the audience

Read or view the article to decipher who it intends to target as the audience.

●     P for purpose

Why do you think the realtor took the time to make this work? Does he define the reasons behind his work? Do you believe the composition meets the intended purpose?

●     S stands for the subject

Under what subject or topic was the work made? Identify relevant themes used in the text, for example, love, suffering, revenge, etc. Observe how the author reveals the subject to the audience.

●     T represents tone

In what tone does the writer convey his message? Is it firm, discerning, kind, and loving? The tone predicts the writer’s attitude toward the subject, audience, persona, and characters.

2.   Find the appeals

Appeals are any dramatic techniques used by writers to convince, persuade and draw in the audience. Use the appeals to guide you in identifying suitable points for your essay.

Sometimes the overall thematic expressions can influence the audience to view the author’s work as he intends. Some of these appeals include;

●     Ethos

These are ethical factors that determine how credible the author is. Ethos includes professional credentials, educational background, experience, and so on. With ethos, the author convinces the reader that he is qualified to discuss the topic, hence developing trust.

Were you convinced by the ethical factors used by the writer? If not, give your reasons why and state each reason in your body paragraph.

●     Pathos

Pathetic appeals are statements used to create emotional effects on the reader. A writer may incorporate a real-life experience such as a victim’s testimony to prove a point.

What pathetic appeals did the author use in his book? Did it appeal to you? Was it right for the author to use this pathos to convince readers?

●     Logos

These are logical appeals that include evidence and data used as proof to convince the reader. Evidence may come as pictorial evidence, statistical data, videos of the event, and many more.

As an analytical writer, observe the logical appeals used and base your argument on them.

●     Telos

The purpose the writer intends to achieve from writing his book/ article is known as telos. The goals and attitudes of the speaker may differ from the author as the author sometimes is just a narrator of a situation. He will therefore use different devices to draw his readers into his message.

Students should critically study the telos the author uses to understand his experience with the story he tells.

●     Kairos

Kairos refers to the setting. Setting can be in the form of time, geographical locations, age, etc. The scene a writer uses as he tells his story influences the points in your rhetoric essay.

Observe the Kairos used by the author while defining his setting arrangement.

3.   Rhetorical strategies

What strategies does the author use to persuade his readers? Use these strategies to come up with points that support your thesis.

How effective are the strategies the author uses to achieve his goals? Refer to the appeals and stylistic devices and relate the findings to your statement.

4.   Rhetorical situation

A combination of elements that contribute to the outcome of a book refers to a rhetorical situation. The following are the most common examples that make up a rhetorical situation?

●     Text

The mode of communication used to express the author’s idea is text. Three main factors influence text and the method of communication by an author:

I)             The medium

Communication is passed through any channel that the author deems most fit—for example, an audiobook or song, a letter, fax or email, etc. Verbal and non-verbal communication, in terms of audio and audiovisual materials, are used to pass text.

Identify the channels which the author uses to express his information. Were you satisfied with it? Use these answers as valuable points for your article.

ii)             Author’s toolkit

The tools used to create text influence the content and its impact on the audience. Devices may come as ordinary as the mouth, social media platforms, or television screens. The author’s toolkit influences the information creation process.

As a student, your toolkit is mainly through text. Write a good essay and clearly state your points with vivid explanations to ease the examiner’s comprehension.

iii)           Audience connectivity

The author uses tools to communicate his message to the audience. For the audience to perceive the information, they will need the proper channels or devices. The audience must be able to receive, grasp, and understand the author’s message.

Communication tools include eyes, ears, earphones, phones, etc. Readers may use other relevant gadgets in deciphering information, e.g., translators, speech-to-text converters, etc. which assist the audience in comprehending information.

Study the communication tools the author uses to understand time, economics, and other factors that might have influenced his point of view. Use your findings to prove your analytical essay thesis.

●     The author

An author is the founder of the idea behind a piece of information in a book, movie, poem, etc. Authors choose what mode is best to communicate their knowledge. Different types of authors include:

  • Novelists
  • Podcasters
  • Film writers
  • Poets
  • Content writers, etc.

Many factors influence the author and his work. For example, 

  • Life experiences
  • age
  • location
  • socioeconomic status
  • culture
  • political affiliations
  • Religion, etc.

All these factors contribute to the author’s content and the context of his work.

●     The audience

When writing a message, the author has a selected group of people he targets as his listeners; the audience.

Audiences relate differently to the author’s information depending on different factors that influenced the author to write in the first place. Audiences may support the author’s idea or oppose it depending on how they feel about the subject.

●     Purposes

An author has his reasons for communicating, and it refers to the author’s purpose. By the end of the article, the author accomplishes his mission by convincing the audience, educating or informing them.

What are the everyday purposes of the author’s work?

  • To inform
  • Instruct an audience
  • Convince a group of people
  • Teach a new skill.
  • Entertain the masses.
  • Console a group of members
  • Inspire people and so on

The audience’s attitude highly influences the rhetorical purpose definition of the author’s work. In a rhetorical situation, the writer’s tone, style, and choice of words will affect the readers’ feelings toward the work. It is up to the reader to view the author’s purpose according to his feelings about it.

Readers might develop a skeptical attitude towards the author’s work if the write-up appears weak, unknowledgeable, aggressive, etc. Read the audience’s attitude to determine ideas for your thesis.

●     Setting; Place, time, environment

Every book has a story based on a specific setting like time, place, or environment. Writers often express their storylines in the time, place, and surroundings in which the events occur.

A book’s setting is adversely affected by its surrounding environment in culture, language, and people. You may come across a few dialect allusions in the text showing the writer’s mother tongue or the environment’s mode of communication.

To predict the time, use an era where significant historical events occur. The place an author engages his audience affects the delivery of his message—for example, a church, a classroom, or a political rally.

5.   Identify stylistic devices

Stylistic devices are figures of speech that complement the writer’s idea in his book. They are used to create imagery, add emphasis, and give more clarity to the audience while entertaining readers.

Stylistic devices include irony, metaphors, imagery, and personification, to mention but a few.

6.   Choose a topic

Select an excellent topic to reflect your argument. You should state a thesis statement simply in a single sentence. Rhetorical analysis essay topics are limited depending on the essay you plan to write. It should, therefore, be based on the student’s interest.

Using the SOAPSTones, stylistic devices, and appeals indicated above, understand where you should place your argument by supporting or opposing the writer’s idea. The writer’s argument helps you develop your thesis statement as a proposal or antagonistic theme.

7.   Analyze the work

To develop an excellent rhetorical analysis, students need to evaluate the work critically. Read or watch the article you intend to analyze. Do these two to three times or until you feel comfortable enough with the content. The goal is to understand your content thoroughly and know where to base your argument.

Carry out thorough research on your subject. Do not stop at only reading the book or topic. Research previous summaries and papers under the same subject to build your material.

Use the SOAPSTones, stylistic devices, and appeals as you read through the work. Underlining relevant points will help determine the content of your essay. Explore which modes the writer exploits to persuade the readers.

A few questions to guide you as you analyze your rhetorical situation are as follows:

  • What is the writer’s intention according to his message?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Do you understand the argument?
  • What strategies does the writer employ to make that argument? Why?
  • What appeals does the writer use to draw in the reader? Why?
  • What kind of stylistic devices does the writer use?
  • What style does the writer use to write?
  • What effect does this work have on the audience?
  • Are you convinced with the writer’s idea?

8.   Select a suitable thesis statement

You have done enough reading and analysis to help create your thesis statement by this stage. You probably wonder how to write a rhetorical analysis thesis that will attract readers to your work.

A thesis statement is a single sentence that summarizes the argument you want to make against the author’s work. What message do you want to convey in your text? That is how you formulate a thesis statement. It will guide you on how to start a rhetorical analysis essay by providing you with a framework. Three considerations while stating your topic include:

  • Does it set the tone?
  • Does it highlight my argument against the author’s work?
  • Does it contribute to the development of my reader’s point of view?

A thesis statement is not solid at first but grows more meaningful as you proceed to write and brainstorm ideas. Students still need to formulate a prototype to guide them through their work.

The thesis is one of the most vital parts of the rhetorical essay. It tells a reader what your article narrates. It also determines the reader’s choice to explore your work since it shows your biases over the author. Create a content-rich rhetorical analysis thesis statement to improve readability and draw readers’ attention to your paper.

The rhetorical analysis essay format

With a thesis statement, you now have a rough idea of what message you want to convey in your essay. Create an outline indicating the steps and subtopics of your article. Add keywords to help you maintain the course as you write.

All essays have different formats but most commonly contain an introduction, body, and conclusion.

1.   Write an introduction

A rhetorical analysis essay introduction should be precise and straight to the point. In a single paragraph, state the main topics to be discussed in the body.

Provide background information on the author. Write his credentials, the books he has written, and a short biography.

State the relevance of their work and the message they intend to pass through their book. In summary, the introduction of a rhetorical analysis essay should include the following:

  • A clear and straightforward thesis statement
  • And an opening hook to catch the readers’ attention
  • Summary of your article
  • What methods did you use to persuade readers?

2.   The body

The most critical part of your essay is the body. List all vital points in this section to support your thesis.

Write a minimum of three paragraphs. In each section, state a new idea, explain, and back up your point with relevant examples. When writing your body, make sure to attach the following qualities:

  • Follow a chronological order as per your outline
  • Write about the author’s mode of persuasion to the readers
  • To make different points and persuade readers, use appeals, SOAPSTones, and stylistic devices
  • Add quotes from the original text as evidence for your claims
  • Write the rhetorical essay using your voice to own your opinion

Much as opinions, feelings, and emotions contribute to your view in the rhetorical essay, rely heavily on facts, data, quotes, etc., to make your points. As you end each paragraph, connect it to your thesis.

3.   Write a conclusion

After listing all your points, you can now move to the conclusion section. A conclusion is a closure given to your essay, especially after proving your thesis in the body section.

Round up your essay by stating your thesis. Briefly list the points that support your essay without explaining them further, as you have completed this in the body paragraph.

Writers can throw in recommendations for further reading to readers. An excellent rhetorical analysis conclusion should have a call to action for the readers.

Tips for writing a good rhetorical analysis essay

You need to have written a quality essay using the right format so as to score high grades, especially if you are writing an ap lang rhetorical analysis essay. The following rhetorical strategies will guide you to achieve an A material rhetorical essay for your university assignment.

●     Do a thorough preparation

Practice makes perfect. The more rhetorical analysis essay practice you do, the better of a master you become in writing one. Practice with your favorite TV shows, short stories, novels, or cartoons. Choose exciting books so that you enjoy your practice.

With frequent practice in writing rhetorical essays, you will master the formats and language as your overall writing skills improve.

A student that often practices how to write a rhetorical essay develops good rhetorical strategies ap lang. You become accustomed to good writing habits and are prepared for any given assignment.

●     Read widely

To give a good analysis of a rhetorical situation, one must read widely to understand the subject. You cannot provide a precise assessment of work you are not well-read about.

Widen your knowledge of the subject by reading as many previously written rhetoric essays. You learn new information on the subject matter and get to know whether your thesis statement has enough information to back it up.

It is wise to add a few suggestions to your essay to give the readers further reading points. Recommendations may add further evidence to support your thesis while fetching you more marks. To get suitable recommendation sources, you must read widely about your subject of interest.

●     Follow the proper format

Like any other type of essay, rhetorical articles have a unique rhetorical analysis essay format. Once you identify the SOAPSTones, stylistic devices, and appeals, you should outline them chronologically. In your outline, state points for the introduction, body, and conclusion.

A good rhetorical analysis essay example is one with recommendations coming after the main parts of the conclusion. Writers can achieve this when following a well-layered outline.

●     The use of a third-person persona

Persona is the character readers imagine speaking through the text. Since rhetorical analysis is based on the author’s work, use the third person “he, she, they” to describe the author and his actions.

Avoid first-person phrases like “I, we, us” as the essay is centered on the writer. An excellent rhetorical analysis example on the use of third-person may read as follows:

“I suggest that this topic is incomplete” rather than “We suggest that this topic is incomplete.”

●     Use present tense

In rhetoric essays, use present tense to write your views on the work under analysis. An example of text in current form is as follows:

“The author concludes that…” rather than “the author concluded that.”

●     Correct vocabulary choice

A rhetoric essay is an analysis. Therefore, it is advisable to use verbs that examine a situation, for example, ‘supports,’ ‘describes,’ ‘establishes,’ ‘analyzes,’ etc.

Paraphrase your text to avoid the use of personal opinions. Personal opinions create a bias that readers may find doubtful.

Give examples by quoting the author to add authenticity to your work.

●     Give a strong finish

Finish your essay by making a solid conclusion. To conclude firmly, avoid apparent phrases like ‘In conclusion…’ and ‘to sum up…’.

Use strong vocabulary like ‘the research shows that…’, ‘recognize that…’, ‘the study implicates…’.

Summarize everything discussed in the body. Do not add new ideas in the conclusion.

●     Proper citations

Remember to use proper citation and referencing according to the writing style. A rhetoric analysis essay is mainly done to gauge your judgment and writing skills. It is a required course for AP English language; therefore, you need quality written work to score good grades.

Pay careful attention to grammar use, vocabulary, and punctuation to attain an excellently written essay.

To sum up

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay looks tedious, but once you master all steps as illustrated above, it becomes simple. With a well-written essay and the proper rhetorical devices, you can construct an argument and make your article more compelling.

Need help in writing a rhetorical analysis paper? Get quick paper writing service assistance from us now!

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