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How to write a rhetorical Analysis Essay: Definition and Examples

How to write a rhetorical Analysis Essay: Definition and Examples

This blog post will define what rhetorical analysis essay is, provide examples of rhetorical analysis essays, and explain some important things to keep in mind when writing an analytical essay. Also, we’ll be discussing how to write a rhetorical analysis essay and why it’s important for students across all disciplines!

What Is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric comes from ancient Greece and can be defined simply as “the art which finds its aim in either convincing, establishing truths [or] pointing out fallacies.” This definition implies persuasion through language or other means (such as visual art) but it’s often used when referring specifically to persuasive messages, speeches and essays. In more general usage, the term rhetoric has come to mean “empty or insincere language.”

Rhetorical Analysis Definition

What is a rhetorical analysis Essay? A rhetorical analysis essay is a formal, academic way of analyzing persuasive texts. This type of essay can be used to analyze any form of communication that has an intended effect on the audience. It is an essay that analyzes the rhetoric of a text. It can be about any topic or subject, but it typically focuses on how language shapes meaning and understanding. This type of paper seeks to answer such questions as: “How does this author use language to persuade their audience?” “What are the different ways the author uses figurative language?” and “What assumptions does this author make about their readers?” A rhetorical analysis typically includes close reading of passages from texts in order to identify specific persuasive strategies or other linguistic features. An example would be looking at how George Orwell’s Animal Farm was able to convince people that Stalinism was evil by comparing it with Hitler’s regime while not mentioning either one.

There are many different types and styles of rhetoric, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed to convince the reader or listener into thinking a certain way about something- usually by using logic, reason, emotion or some combination thereof. The goal is not necessarily to provide evidence for what you’re saying (although there may be some), but rather to make your argument as convincing as possible.

Types of Rhetorical Analysis Essays

There are two types: direct and indirect; both use rhetoric devices such as irony, sentence structure, diction etc., but indirect uses them more subtly than direct.

Examples include making an argument for something by disparaging its opposition (direct) or using sarcasm (indirect).

Rhetorical Devices

The first step in writing a rhetorical analysis essay is defining what type of rhetorical device you’re going to analyze.

There are four main types of rhetorical devices:

  • Logos (appeals primarily to logic)
  • Ethos (appeals primarily to ethics or morals)
  • Pathos (appeals primarily to emotion)
  • Kairos (which takes time into account).

Steps of Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

There are five main steps in writing a rhetorical analysis essay:

  • Defining the type of rhetoric that’s being analyzed and presenting evidence for this argument
  • Analyzing how well the speaker or writer is able to control his/her audience according to their needs (ethos)
  • Considering whether there are any flaws with the proposed arguments (logic)
  • Looking at what emotions might be evoked by an argument (pathos)
  • Checking if all time elements considered when arguing for something has ended up working out as planned (kairos).

In other words, once you’ve decided on your topic’s type one should then consider the audience for their argument. In other words, who is it that needs convincing? Is this person educated enough about this particular subject matter? Does he/she understand what you’re saying? When all these questions have been answered, you can then start to formulate your thesis.

Elements of a college rhetorical analysis Essay

To write a rhetorical analysis essay for the purpose of college level English courses, one should consider including at least some or all of these five elements when structuring their thesis statement.

They include:

  • Definition and examples to provide background context about rhetoric
  • How well persuasion works with this type of discourse
  • Whether it changes over time; what emotional response follows from listening to this rhetoric
  • Consideration on any flaws within the speaker’s logic or credibility as they present themselves rhetorically
  • Any type of opposing or alternative point-of-view that may oppose the speaker’s argument.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline


Includes a hook to draw in reader’s attention; catches their attention with an interesting quote, statistic or question that relates to your topic. Provides background information on who you are and what you will be discussing/evaluating Thesis Statement (for a persuasive essay) – restates thesis statement in your own words to engage reader’s interest; does not fully outline what you will be discussing or evaluating.


Explains how rhetorical analysis essays usually have three parts:

Social Context/Historical Background Information (if needed for writing an argumentative paper about an event that has happened recently but is only now being discussed with the public)(if needed for writing an argumentative paper about something from history which we have little information on except through texts like newspapers and letters preserved over time)- provides basic understanding of idea by providing important background information necessary to understand author’s perspective or argument

Analyze the Author’s Purpose: what is the author trying to accomplish and how does it relate to their audience?- analyzes style, tone, diction, imagery/metaphor; evaluates whether they are successful in accomplishing goals of piece or not

Persona/Audience Analysis – if writing an argumentative paper about something from history which we have little information on except through texts like newspapers and letters preserved over time) provides analysis of who this person was as a writer based on evidence found by analyzing writings attributed to them.


At the conclusion, you should start by restating the thesis statement in your own words to engage reader’s interest; outlines with full detail what you will be discussing or evaluating. This should include specific details that answer questions about the subject

The conclusion summarizes main points made throughout essay using evidence found earlier in paper and thought provoking questions for readers to think about after reading your Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Examples of Rhetorical Analysis Essays

Here is a rhetorical analysis essay sample:

Begin with introduction paragraph: “This essay will explore the rhetorical techniques in President Trump’s speech to Congress on Tuesday, March 2017 at around 11 pm eastern standard time.”

– Next paragraph: “President Trump’s speech included rhetorical appeals to patriotism and national identity, an appeal to American values of democracy and diversity, as well as a call for unity. First we will define what each term means.”

First technique: “President Trump appeals to patriotism and national identity with his use of phrases like “salute one flag,” which he said three times in a row, as well as by including the Pledge of Allegiance into his speech. He also ends many sentences with “God bless America.” For example: “…we cannot get them anything better than that, so we must fight for our country” (Trump). Both rhetorical devices are used to show support for American values.”

Second Technique: “We see this when he points out that “no politician has ever delivered such powerful words about America’s destiny.” This statement can be analyzed by looking at alliteration because it repeats the letter ‘D’ five times throughout his sentence which draws attention from listeners, and is a form of the repetition technique.”

Third Technique: “This argument appeals to logic by emphasizing that “we are engaged in one of the great American traditions: The peaceful transfer of power.”

Fourth Technique: “Trump also employs ethos through his use of simple, strong language. He emphasizes this point with words like “WE WILL ENDURE” which makes listeners feel confident in their future and builds up hope for what’s next.”

Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion: “Trump appeals to ethos, logos and pathos in his speech. He uses repetition techniques such as alliteration which emphasize the letter “D” five times throughout this sentence, making it more powerful and memorable for listeners.”

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Rhetorical analysis essays are usually written by scholars and professors who either want to illustrate how the author of a text used rhetorical devices, or they want to show that an author’s rhetoric is ineffective. With this article, you have learned the basics of what a rhetorical analysis essay is and how to write one. You also know where to find examples for your own writing projects. If you are interested in hiring someone who can help with essays from Essay-writing.com, please contact us! We will be happy to assist with any and all of your academic needs at an affordable price that fits into even the tightest budgets. Get help to write essay today by placing an order at essay-writing.com today.

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