A rhetorical analysis essay seeks to critically evaluate the work of an author. It is an analysis of ‘how’ the author writes, not about ‘what’ he writes. Writing a rhetorical analysis essay requires planning and skill. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay:

  1. Allot Time for Reading, Analyzing, and Writing

The process of writing a rhetorical analysis essay can be broken down into 3 parts – reading, analyzing, and writing.

  • The first thing you should keep in mind while starting a rhetorical analysis is to allow a specific time period for reading, analyzing, and writing.
  • Proper planning in advance is necessary so that once you get started, you don’t lose track of time.
  • Breaking down the process into these parts makes it easier to pay attention to detail and to increase the efficiency of your work.
  • Whenever you are about to write a rhetorical analysis, make sure to go in order, read the work carefully, analyze it step by step, and only then begin with the writing part.
  1. Read the Work Carefully

In order to write a compelling rhetorical analysis, you should be well versed with the work you are going to write about.

  • Read the work slowly and precisely. Absorb each sentence minutely and re-read the text if some part is unclear or ambiguous.
  • Read between the lines and look for hidden meanings or phrases which might convey what the author actually wanted to explain.
  • Do not rush through the whole text; you may miss some significant detail. Give yourself enough time to get a clear idea of what the author has written.
  1. Analyze the Text and Ask Questions

Once you have carefully read and understood your text, the next step is to dissect and analyze.

  • Note down all the points on which you could comment in your rhetorical analysis. Highlight the significant sentences written by the author.
  • Ask questions to yourself which will help you to analyze objectively and logically.
  • Ask a bunch of questions like – Who is the author? What is writing about? Why is he writing about this particular topic? Who is the target audience? What is the purpose of writing this? Did the author succeed in sending across his message to the audience?
  • Identifying the answers to these questions will help you understand the context and motive of the text. This will help you to frame your analysis accordingly.
  1. Examine the Appeals – Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Ethos, pathos, and logos are the first set of classification of the rhetorical strategy. Collectively, they are known as appeals.

  • Ethos, or ethical appeals, is the strategy the author applies by using his credentials or authority to get across a point. For example, if the author of a text about antidepressants mentions that he has been practicing psychiatry for 20 years, it will lend him credibility and the audience will be more receptive to the text.
  • Pathos, or pathetic appeals, is used to elicit an emotional response in the audience. Texts which evoke sentiments like anger, love, compassion use the pathos appeals to draw in the audience.
  • Logos, or logical appeals, is the use of logical and rational explanations. Stating facts and empirical evidence makes the text accurate and appeals to the logical side of the audience.
  1. Identify the Style Details

The second classification of the rhetorical strategy is the style details which include the tone, imagery, diction, and syntax.

  • Similes, analogies, and metaphors describe or explain different ideas in the text.
  • Repetition emphasizes a particular point or states its importance.
  • Imagery can be used to strike a chord with the audience by painting a picture in their heads which would produce strong emotions like joy or sadness.
  • The tone implies the style or mood of writing. The tone of a text could be scientific or witty or even sarcastic.
  • Diction refers to the choice of words and the range of vocabulary the author has used in his text.
  1. Start Writing Your Rhetorical Analysis

Once you have successfully dissected the text, you can begin writing your actual rhetorical analysis.

  • You should divide your essay into 3 main parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
  • Categorize all of your analysis and in order.
  • Ideally, you should write your paragraphs sequentially and chronologically, analyzing the text from the top going downwards eventually.
  • Make sure that all your paragraphs come together seamlessly and are coherent.
  1. Introduction

The introduction of your rhetorical analysis essay must be impactful and captivating. You should hook the audience onto your text and not lose their interest in the beginning.

  • The introduction should contain an anecdote, a quote, a fact, or a question that grabs the eyeballs.
  • It is essential to mention the text which you are going to analyze, its author, the audience, and the purpose.
  • It should be clear from your introduction paragraph that you are writing a rhetorical analysis of a text.
  • The introduction should highlight the main ideas of your rhetorical analysis so that the audience has an idea of what to expect.
  1. Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is an important part of your rhetorical analysis. It will set the tone for the body of your essay.

  • The thesis statement is the main theme or argument that you will raise in your essay and your entire essay will be built around that argument.
  • The thesis statement should be impactful as it will let the audience know what point you are trying to make.
  • The main elements highlighted in the text can be used in the thesis statement to analyze the author’s techniques and prove the effectiveness of his text in achieving the purpose.
  1. Body

Ideally, you should cover the body of your rhetorical analysis essay in 3 paragraphs:

  • The body of your rhetorical analysis should explain your thesis statement by discussing the rhetorical strategies applied by the author.
  • You can categorize the body based on the appeals – Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Analyze how and where the author has used which set of appeals and whether it has made his text more persuasive or not.
  • Describe the style details and how the author has used their various elements to strengthen his argument. Analyze the tone, diction, imagery, and comment on whether they have been used appropriately or not.
  • Mention facts, figures, and evidence to state your point.
  1. Conclusion

The conclusion of your rhetorical analysis essay should be powerful and state your thesis statement in a refined, sophisticated way.

  • The conclusion should bring forth all the significant points you have discussed in your rhetorical analysis and combine them to give a final verdict.
  • It should summarize your rhetorical analysis in a way that the audience can acknowledge your thesis statement in a new light.
  • If there is scope for further research and examination, explain its significance, and mention its scope.


  • Check your rhetorical analysis once you have written it to make sure there are no mistakes.
  • Practice writing rhetorical analysis with different samples to improve your analytical and writing skills.
  • Write your rhetorical analysis in the form of commentary and use third person narrative instead of writing ‘I’ or “we’.

What is a good thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis essay?

To write a good thesis statement for your rhetorical analysis, focus on the tone and the main argument in the text. At the end of it, your paper should clearly bring out the rhetorician’s style, target audience and his effectiveness in applying various techniques to influence the opinion of the audience.

What are the 3 rhetorical strategies?

How to Use Aristotle’s Three Main Rhetorical Styles. According to Aristotle, rhetoric is: “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.” He described three main forms of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.

What is a rhetorical strategy example?

Alliteration uses repetition in the initial consonant sound of a word or word phrase. The consonant sound is repeated for most or all the words being used to convey a sense of lyricism. Here is an example: Talking to Terri took too much time today.

What is a rhetorical example?

Rhetoric is the ancient art of persuasion. It’s a way of presenting and making your views convincing and attractive to your readers or audience. For example, they might say that a politician is “all rhetoric and no substance,” meaning the politician makes good speeches but doesn’t have good ideas.

What is a rhetorical concept?

These rhetorical situations can be better understood by examining the rhetorical concepts that they are built from. The philosopher Aristotle called these concepts logos, ethos, pathos, telos, and kairos – also known as text, author, audience, purposes, and setting.

What are the 4 elements of rhetoric?

The Rhetorical Square consists of four elements that matter when analyzing a text. The four elements are: 1) Purpose, 2) Message, 3) Audience, and 4) Voice.

What are the 5 rhetorical situations?

reason for writing, inform, instruct, persuade, entertain.

What is a rhetorical situation in writing?

Writing instructors and many other professionals who study language use the phrase “rhetorical situation.” This term refers to any set of circumstances that involves at least one person using some sort of communication to modify the perspective of at least one other person.

What does it mean to write a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis asks you to explain how writers or speakers within specific social situations attempt to influence others through discourse (including written or spoken language, images, gestures, and so on). A rhetorical analysis is not a summary.

What is the goal of a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis analyzes how an author argues rather than what an author argues. It focuses on what we call the “rhetorical” features of a text—the author’s situation, purpose for writing, intended audience, kinds of claims, and types of evidence—to show how the argument tries to persuade the reader.

What do you talk about in a rhetorical analysis?

In writing an effective rhetorical analysis, you should discuss the goal or purpose of the piece; the appeals, evidence, and techniques used and why; examples of those appeals, evidence, and techniques; and your explanation of why they did or didn’t work.

What are the key features of a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis considers all elements of the rhetorical situation–the audience, purpose, medium, and context–within which a communication was generated and delivered in order to make an argument about that communication.

What is the process of rhetorical analysis?

As you evaluate the speaker or author’s work, consider the modes of persuasion or appeals being made by each rhetorical tool. Rhetorical analysis is an analysis of how a text or work is constructed and how its structure helps the author or speaker achieve a purpose.

How do you write a introduction paragraph for a rhetorical analysis?

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