If you are given the task of writing a rhetorical essay, you are probably wondering what exactly you should do. This type of essay is relatively easy to write, but there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to make your essay effective.
The word “rhetorical” has a lot of baggage attached to it. In casual conversation, people often use the term to describe someone who’s all talk and no action. In academic circles, however, rhetoric refers to the art of persuasion.
You can select any academic essay type to write a rhetorical analysis essay, but there are three common ones:
- Argumentative Essay
- Expository Essay
- Persuasive Essay
You can also analyze another piece of content, such as a YouTube video, image, advertisement, or even a song. Feel free to check out our rhetorical analysis essay example for your inspiration.
The main goal of a rhetorical essay is to conduct an analysis of another piece of content. You will discuss how the author uses certain techniques to influence the audience’s viewpoint, word choice, as well as the key point of the author’s rhetoric. In order to write a good rhetorical analysis essay, you will need to carefully examine how the author writes and what exactly they are trying to accomplish with their writing.
What is a rhetorical analysis essay, and what are its components?
A rhetorical analysis essay is a type of essay that seeks to analyze and understand the different ways in which a piece of writing or communication tries to achieve its purpose.
This could be done by looking at the different elements of the writing, such as the use of language, the structure, or the argument. It can also involve analyzing how effective the writing is at achieving its purpose.
In order to do a rhetorical analysis, you need to be able to break down the piece of writing or communication and understand how each element is being used in order to achieve the overall goal.
You should write your rhetorical analysis in the present tense.
Common elements of a rhetorical analysis essay include an introduction (which will typically provide some background information on the text being analyzed as well as state the author’s main argument).
Body paragraphs (in which individual component parts of the text are dissected in order to illustrate how they work together to create meaning).
Conclusion (which will typically restate the main argument in light of the evidence that has been presented).
When it comes to writing a rhetorical analysis essay, there are a few key things that you will need to keep in mind. Remember that your goal is not simply to identify the various rhetorical strategies that the author utilizes but to also explain how those strategies have been used to create a certain effect.
Remember that your goal is to persuasively argue your own point of view on the issue at hand; simply summarizing the text or identifying the author’s rhetorical strategies is not likely to be enough.
5 Steps You Need to Follow to Write a Rhetorical Analysis
Step 1: Read and understand the text you are analyzing.
The first step in writing a rhetorical analysis essay is to read and analyze the text. In order to do this, you will need to break down the text into its component parts. You will then need to identify the author’s main argument, main point, or purpose for writing the text. Once you have done this, you will be ready to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Begin planning your essay
Now that you have a good understanding of the text, you can begin planning your essay. You will need to decide what sort of analysis you will be conducting, and what specific elements of the text you will be examining. You will also need to choose a thesis statement, which is the main argument that you will be making in your essay.
Step 3: Develop your thesis statement
The next step is to develop your thesis statement. This is the main argument that you will be making in your essay, and it should be clear, concise, and arguable. A good thesis statement should be specific and address a particular issue that you will be discussing in your essay. It should also be debatable, which means that someone could reasonably disagree with it.
If you want to write a strong essay, make sure that your thesis statement provides the main idea in a concise and easy-to-understand manner.
The following statement is an example of a rhetorical analysis thesis statement:
- “In his inaugural address, Barack Obama used rhetoric to inspire hope in the American people. By emphasizing the ideals of democracy and opportunity, Obama was able to create a message that resonated with the American people and gave them hope for the future.”
Step 4: Start outlining your essay.
Once you have developed your thesis statement, you can begin to outline your essay. The outline should include the main points that you will be making in your essay, as well as the evidence you will be using to support those points.
A good way to structure your outline is to start with an introduction, which will state your thesis statement. This will be followed by body paragraphs, which will each focus on a different aspect of your argument. Finally, you will end with a conclusion, which will sum up your argument and leave the reader with something to think about.
Step 5: Begin writing!
Once you have a clear and concise outline, the next step is to begin writing. As with any other type of essay, it is important to make sure that your introduction provides adequate background information on the text as well as states your thesis clearly. Each body paragraph should focus on a different aspect of the text and how that aspect contributes to the author’s overall argument. In each paragraph, you will need to provide concrete evidence from the text in order to support your claims. Finally, the conclusion should restate your thesis in light of the evidence you have presented and discuss the broader implications of the author’s argument.
How do I analyze the rhetoric in an essay using three rhetorical strategies: ethos, logos, and pathos?
When analyzing the rhetoric of an essay, you will want to consider how the author uses ethos, logos, and pathos to make their argument. These three rhetorical appeals were initially introduced by Aristotel.
Rhetorical appeals are often depicted with a rhetorical triangle:
Ethos is an appeal to authority, and it is used to persuade the reader that the author is credible. Logos is an appeal to logic, and it is used to convince the reader that the author’s argument is sound. Pathos is an appeal to emotion, and it is used to evoke a feeling in the reader that will make them more receptive to the argument made by the author.
When considering how the author uses ethos, logos, and pathos, you will want to think about how each of these elements contributes to the overall effectiveness of the essay. Does the author use any fallacies? Are they able to appeal to the reader on an emotional level? How does the author’s use of rhetoric impact the overall effectiveness of the essay?
Ethos is the rhetorical strategy used to appeal to authority. It’s the use of someone’s credentials or character to convince an audience.
The word “ethos” comes from the Greek word for “character.” When we talk about a person’s character, we’re talking about their reputation. So, when an author uses ethos, they are trying to convince you that they’re trustworthy based on their reputation.
One of the most common ways to use ethos appeal is by quoting experts.
Experts can be quoted with examples to support an argument. For example,
- “According to the National Institute of Health, regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease.”
In this specific example, the National Institute of Health is an expert authority on the topic of health. The author has quoted them in order to support their argument that exercise is good for you.
Ethos can also be established by talking about one’s own credentials.
- “As a doctor, I can tell you that smoking is bad for your health.”
In this example, the author is using their own credentials as a doctor to establish ethos and convince the reader that smoking is bad for your health.
Another way to use ethos appeals is by sharing personal experiences.
- “I quit smoking and after that my cough and heart pain stopped”
In this example, the author is using their own personal experience to establish ethos and convince the reader that smoking is bad for your health.
Logos is an appeal to logic. It’s the use of logical reasoning or evidence to convince an audience.
The word “logos” comes from the Greek word for “reason.” So, when an author uses logos appeal, they are trying to convince you with their words – with their reasoning and evidence.
One way to use logos appeal is by using evidence, which can be in the form of statistics, historical events, and well-known facts.
- “Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 40%.”
In this example, the author is using evidence to support their argument that exercise is good for you.
The evidence they’ve used – “Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 40%” – makes their argument more logical and convincing.
Another way to use logos appeals is by using reasoning.
- “If we want to reduce the number of heart attacks in our country, we need to encourage people to exercise more”
These are just a few specific examples of how authors can use logos appeal to make their arguments more convincing.
Pathos is an appeal to emotion. It’s the use of emotion to convince an audience.
The word “pathos” comes from the Greek word for “emotion.” So, when an author uses pathos appeals, they are trying to evoke an emotional response from their audience.
One way to use pathos appeals is by using emotional language.
- “Regular exercise can save your life.”
In this example, the author is using emotional language to make their argument more convincing. The word “save” is a very powerful word – it evokes a strong emotional response. And, when we feel strongly about something, we’re more likely to be convinced by it.
Another way to use pathos appeals is by using emotional stories.
- “I was out of shape and overweight. I knew I had to make a change, but I didn’t know where to start. Then, one day, I saw a commercial for a local gym. It showed a woman my age who had lost a lot of weight and was now leading an active lifestyle. I decided to sign up for a membership that day. And, I’m so glad I did! Regular exercise has changed my life.”
In this example, the author is using an emotional story to make their argument more convincing. The story is about their own personal experience, which makes it even more powerful. So this story combines both pathos and ethos.
Emotional appeals are one of the commonly used elements of the rhetorical triangle. They are often used in marketing to manipulate the audience’s emotions, as well as in politics.
SOAPSTone model for strong rhetorical analysis
When you’re writing a rhetorical analysis, you can also apply the SOAPSTone model. This model can be helpful for analyzing a rhetorical situation.
Rhetorical situation refers to the context of communication.
SOAPSTone stands for Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, and Speaker.
The subject is the topic of the essay.
The occasion is the context in which the essay was written.
The particular audience who will read the essay.
The purpose is the reason why the essay was written.
The speaker is the person who wrote the essay.
Using the SOAPSTone model will help you to structure your essay in a way that is clear and easy to follow.
Here’s an example of how you might use the SOAPSTone model to write a rhetorical analysis:
The commercial for the local gym
When I saw the commercial, I was out of shape and overweight
The intended audience is people who are out of shape and overweight
The purpose of the commercial is to convince people to join the gym
The speaker is the person in the commercial
By using the SOAPSTone model, you can make sure that your essay is well-organized and easy to follow.
Summing It Up
Rhetorical analysis essays are all about finding out how an author has used ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade their audience.
When you’re writing your essay, you’ll need to use examples from the text to support your claims.
And, remember, all three appeals – ethos, logos, and pathos – are important. You’ll need to analyze all three of them in your essay to get a high score.
So, now that you know how to write an awesome rhetorical analysis essay put your knowledge to the test! Find a text and analyze it using the tips and techniques you’ve learned in this article. Good luck!