How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Guide to Avoid Pitfalls


Since rhetorics studies writers’ or speakers’ mastery of using words to influence the target audience, the main tools for effecting are the words and their accurate use in writing and speech. It means that attention is paid more on not what the author says, how he expresses his thoughts, and what words are used to achieve the aim. So, the goals, achievements, techniques, and other tricks are under the microscope. 

So, not many students are good at speaking and possess persuasive skills. So, when working on such tasks.

What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

A rhetorical analysis essay is a kind of academic writing that has the same parts as any other type of writing but differs in aims. It divides the non-fiction text into parts and explains how they coexist and impact the reader trying to persuade, inform, or entertain. Other objectives may serve as a thing for rhetorical analysis, like speeches, cartoons, or radio programs.

In writing a rhetorical analysis, you should study goals, tools, and examples that were successfully used. Remember that essay writing does not require your personal opinion or conclusions. Instead, you provide research results on how the writer or speaker managed to reach his intentions and which techniques and arguments were the most successful.

Rhetorical Triangle: Key Appeals of Rhetorics

What are appeals in rhetorical analysis essay writing? The term may be unfamiliar to you, so let us look at what it is and its key appeals. An appeal may be treated as a technique or way of convincing the audience by the author. Aristotle defined three central appeals that are also known as the rhetorical triangle:

  • Logos (logical appeal) is an application of grounded persuasive arguments. This approach is key for academic writing since we build arguments based on evidence and reasoning.
  • Ethos (ethical appeal) is when the author puts himself at the center, pretending to be the subject authority. They serve as experts in the discussed or analyzed issues.
  • Pathos (pathetic appeal) aims to evoke emotions. It may be passionate or emotional speaking or trying to evoke sympathy, anger, or other emotions in the audience.

The appeals described above are essential constituents of rhetoric. The author may use one or apply all to persuade the target audience.

Pre-Writing Preparations

Before writing your rhetorical analysis essay, you should prepare and analyze an oral speech’s text. So, what to start with your analysis of the materials? You should not select the concepts beforehand and use them in a text. But the crucial things to do are described down the line.

First, look at the text and investigate all its details. Then ask several questions to understand the text’s essence and aim.

  • What did the writer want to say?
  • What is the message focused on, key messages, or various issues?
  • What is the atmosphere of the text: friendly or cold, formal or informal?
  • What is the target audience?
  • Was the text convincing?
  • What evidence is showcased? 

We dive deeper into the text by asking such questions and discovering all the applied techniques. Therefore, do not worry that you do not have enough background knowledge of rhetoric for successful rhetorical analysis essay writing. Instead, focus on what you know and understand quite well. 

The next thing you have to do is to find proper examples to support your statements and prove them. Skim the text to find the words, sayings, or hints that will support the text’s tone, disclose the author’s aims, and demonstrate the key points for discussion. 

Such brainstorming will help you to analyze the text from the beginning to the end and feel the atmosphere of writing. Moreover, you will define the effectiveness of all the techniques and their impact on the readers. 

It is desirable to write several theses after a precise analysis so as not to lose your thoughts and miss any details. So, you should not use all the possible techniques commonly used by rhetoricians. Instead, just choose several that are possible to make a strong case. 

How to Start a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Since the rhetorical essay has the same parts as any academic writing: introduction, body, and conclusion, you have to consider the main requirements to give a good start for your writing. 

The introduction opens the door to the reader and makes him acquainted with essential issues of your writing. As a rule, it provides background information about what you will disclose in your rhetorical analysis essay. However, remember that you should provide enough information for the reader to grasp the main idea and follow your writing without further confusion or misunderstanding. 

After the proper introduction, you should start working on the body. Bear in mind that each paragraph has a key topic sentence, so ensure that the idea of the sentence and text in the paragraph are interconnected and related. Moreover, follow the order to make your text coherent and correspond to the ideas revealed in the introduction. Finally, consider paragraph organization paying attention to the effectiveness of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in each technique. 

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

To try rhetoric essay writing, you should select a subject and topic for study. If you hesitate about the final choice, we may offer several variants that ensure successive writing:

  • Everyday Speeches of President Zelensky
  • Persuasive speech of Boris Johnson
  • Your favorite rap song: does pronunciation matter
  • Silent movie by Charlie Chaplin: how to grasp a message
  • Analysis of blog.

It is up to you what to choose for your rhetorical essay writing. We recommend starting with the closest topic to you to focus on structure, not on the context. 

Where to Find a Good Example of a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

On the internet, you may find a variety of rhetorical analysis essay samples on various topics. If looking for the best one to follow, you should pay attention to the quality. Consider if there are all the parts essential for academic writing. Moreover, good samples are not creative writing, where the writer demonstrates his point of view. Instead, it must be an analysis of techniques used in speech or text. 

Examples must support all the investigated issues from the text or speech as proof of analysis. Pay attention to the conclusion where new information must be, only concluding thoughts.

How to End a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Completing your rhetorical analysis essay, you should summarize the main ideas and give a conclusion that restates all the arguments. Do not provide your own ideas or thoughts to wrap up the writing. Instead, you should demonstrate what results you achieved during analysis.


How do you write a rhetorical analysis essay? 

In writing a rhetorical analysis essay, it is essential not to forget about the main constituencies of such kinds of essays and not express your own thoughts and opinions but make an analysis of the written or oral statement taken for investigation.

What are the five 5 components of the rhetorical analysis essay? 

You need to focus on five main elements in your rhetorical analysis essay. They are the text, the author, the target audience, the aim of the writing, and the setting.

How do you start a rhetorical analysis paper? 

Before starting your rhetorical analysis essay, you should analyze the text and define the main persuasive techniques that were used in the text. In addition, do not forget about the thesis.

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