Rhetorical essays


What is a Rhetorical Essay?

The meaning of rhetorical essay or rhetorical analysis essay can strongly be related to the term “rhetoric,” and its use can be traced back to Ancient Greece during the days of Aristotle. It was a period when influential people saw how it could be used to shape societies and effect change. They primarily utilized the appropriate rhetorical techniques during this period to make people believe them or hold onto their standpoint.

For more than two millennia, people have continued to employ the word “rhetoric” as a persuasion technique to influence and appeal to people, especially through writing. This technique helps connect the audiences and convince them to believe a specific message or point of view.

What is a rhetorical analysis essay? A rhetorical essay or rhetorical analysis essay does not deviate from this idea. It is a distinctive form of writing that enables the author to use effective and persuasive methods while looking analytically at the topic in greater detail and proving a specific perspective. In this form of essay, you analyze a text for its rhetorical writing or use of rhetoric, determine the techniques used and their effectiveness generally. You are not expected to add your opinions on the provided topics or dive into your point of view or standpoint on the subject. Your goal will specifically be to analyze the use of persuasion by the author.

A rhetorical analysis essay demands critical thinking; you may find oneself holding one’s pen with a blank page or sitting right in front of the computer for hours thinking how to go about it. This implies that it may sometimes be exhausting based on the fact that it is "a whole new ball game“— one should know that there is a clear difference between knowing what rhetorical writing is and delving pragmatically into it.

Nonetheless, with appropriate guide and adherence to the step-by-step way of writing a rhetorical analysis essay, you will come up with impressive content.

How to Write Rhetorical Essay?

One of the important questions to ask in this area is “how to write a rhetorical analysis essay?” There are several steps one can take to ensure a high-quality essay:

Point out the persuasion strategy

Aristotle provided three elements that should be found in any written or spoken communication that aims to persuade the audience. These elements include ethos, pathos, and logos. Knowing these elements can aid one’s analysis and also assist in identifying the rhetorical appeals used by the author to convince the audience.

Ethos deals with ethics (used to convince the reader of the credibility of the author); pathos deals with emotions (evokes an emotional response in the reader); logos deals with logic (helps convince the reader via logical reasoning and facts). There is a possibility that the author may engage in more than one mode of persuasion. Your goal will be to determine the specific ones used by the author, explain the reasons, and identify if such an author was in any way effective in persuading.

Read multiple times actively

Reading actively the text to analyze is one of the most important steps under how to write a rhetorical essay. To make it easy, you can adopt the SOAPSTone strategy that will help you remember the elements to find and identify in the text. Reading multiple times will help with an effective analysis of the text.

Write a well-defined thesis statement

It is important to formulate a thesis statement that shows both your position and interpretation of the text. Your goal will be to provide a clear answer to how the writer was able to convince the reader effectively and/or how such a writer’s goal is met. The thesis statement leads the way the writing will go. This is why it must be precise and arguable, as there will be a need to prove and justify it in the succeeding paragraphs with various evidence and instances from the text.

Arguable thesis means that it can be argued. It must either state or refute an argument about your topic. To be debateable, a thesis must have some possibility of being true. However, the thesis should not be universally accepted as true. Instead, it should be something that people can disagree with. A thesis can be both an observation or an opinion.

observation + opinion (the "why") = thesis

Seeing if your thesis creates a powerful antithesis is an excellent approach to determine how strong it is.

Common thesis pitfalls:

  • A thesis in the form of a fragment.
  • A thesis that is overly broad.
  • A thesis that is phrased as a question. (The thesis is usually derived from the solution to the question.)
  • Extraneous information is included in a thesis.
  • A thesis that begins with the words "I believe" or "In my opinion."

Create an outline

Creating an outline is integral for a rhetorical analysis essay. The outline will assist with the logical flow of arguments through the paragraphs of the essay to come without missing anything out. It will contain every important step in the writing process showing the idea to be presented in the essay to explore.

Engage the appropriate writing style

Every great and perfect essay contains sentences that obey the rules of grammar and use the right register to make the reading interesting. The tone is expected to be objective, and the expressions ought to be in the third person with present-tense usage. The text must be analyzed using sufficient evidence and not just summarizing your point of view.

Proofread and edit

Ensure you leave enough time for proofreading and editing after writing. Take your time to check if all necessary points are covered, if the flow through the paragraphs is logical, and to see if it is free from plagiarism or grammatical errors.

Rhetorical Essay Examples

  • 10 examples of political rhetoric

10 examples of political rhetoric

  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Rhetorical Analysis

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Rhetorical Analysis

  • The Tipping Point: Rhetorical Analysis

The Tipping Point: Rhetorical Analysis

What is Rhetorical Essay Structure?

The proper organization of a good rhetorical analysis essay is attributed to how it is structured. The way this form of essay is structured is somehow different from other forms of essays as it adds one important section to its structure. You can check an example of a rhetorical analysis essay to see. The structure is the following:

  • Thesis statement

The thesis statement is the summary of the arguments to be presented about the techniques of the author. Use a statement to sum it up, covering every method adopted by the author and their general effectiveness.

  • The introduction

Try as much as possible to make the introduction attractive. In the introduction, the author presents the idea that’s going to be analyzed. Besides, it is a section where any relevant or necessary background information is uncovered.

  • The body paragraphs

The body paragraphs must be well-organized. You can section the paragraphs by technique (one paragraph for each of the elements — ethos, pathos, logos, or other prominent technique the author may have used). Using quotations and paraphrasing is also helpful to back up the arguments.

  • The conclusion

The conclusion is the summary of the analysis. It will be wrong to include new information in this section. In conclusion, restate the thesis in other words, give the summary of the stated points, and close it out with a line that leaves the reader with something to think about.

Outline and Format of Rhetorical Essay

The most important thing when writing a rhetorical essay is ensuring that the specific demands of the writing task are properly addressed. Because there are many ways to start a rhetorical analysis essay outline correctly, it is therefore not obligatory to adhere to any standard essay structure. It is advisable to follow the following rhetorical essay outline:

Read, analyze, and form notes before starting

your outline

  • Let your outline contain the main points of the essay and include evidence to back them up
  • Write a thesis statement that focuses on the main points and explains the purpose of the writing

Besides, the rhetorical analysis essay outline template is an easy way to write a paper. Follow the intro-body-conclusion format to get the work done.

Do you need a Rhetorical Essay Sample? You’re at the right place

The best way to cut down the time spent on researching how to write a rhetorical analysis essay is to get rhetorical analysis essay samples. A rhetorical analysis essay sample (such as an AP rhetorical analysis essay sample) offers explicit and easy-to-follow outlines and format. When writers use the sample of rhetorical analysis essay, they get quickly get the idea of the proper approach, format, and structure and. So, if you need rhetorical essay samples that could help you with your work, you’re at the right place.

Also, check out the Rhetorical Essay Topics

There are numerous rhetorical analysis essay topics; however, their complexities may differ. So, to pick a topic, you need to focus on your interest,

pick a topic you are familiar with, do background research, and ask for an instructor’s advice. Besides, it’s advisable to find a rhetorical essay example to know how a rhetorical essay topic can be written. This, perhaps, may enhance your preparation.

The following are some of the examples of rhetorical analysis essays:

1. Rhetorical analysis essay examples (High School Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics)

  • Symbolism in “The Waves” by Virginia Woolf
  • Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”
  • Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”
  • Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”
  • The Use of Symbolism in “Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare

2. Examples of rhetorical analysis essay (Easy Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics)

  • Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
  • “I Have a Dream” a Speech by Martin Luther King
  • The Use of Symbolism in the “Harry Potter” Series
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”
  • Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”

3. Rhetorical essays examples (2020 Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics)

  • The Main Themes in Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”
  • Peter Schweizer’s “Profiles in Corruption”
  • Analysis of Beyonce’s Speech to the Class of 2020
  • Joseph Stiglitz’s “The Price Of Inequality”
  • Feminism in Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech

4. Rhetorical analysis essay examples (College Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics)

  • John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”
  • Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”
  • Sophocles’ “Antigone”
  • The “Every Man a King” Speech by Huey Pierce Long

5. Other essay topics

  • “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” from Ted Talk or another interesting TedTalk topic
  • “A Starry Night” by Van Gogh
  • The Dove Real Beauty campaign
  • Speech from President Trump
  • The movie The Blind Side
  • The meaning behind Mona Lisa’s smile
  • A blog that you are passionate about
  • A billboard that made you think
  • A popular song
  • Rachel Platten’s Fight Song
  • Use of symbolism Harry Potter series
  • Animal Farm
  • Meaning in the book I am the Cheese
  • Importance of theme of hope in literature
  • Issues of race and prejudice as the theme in a current novel
  • The importance symbolism plays in novels
  • Rhetorical strategies used in your favorite novel
  • Feminism and Louisa May Alcott
  • BBC World “See Both Sides of the Story” Billboard
  • “The Hunger Games” vs. “The Lottery”
  • Rhetorical analysis of “Romeo Juliet.”
  • Rhetorical analysis of “Enola Holmes.”
  • Rhetorical analysis of “Game of Thrones.”
  • Rhetorical analysis of “YOU,” A Netflix series
  • What are the limitations of monologues in attracting the audience?
  • What stands out most in the speeches of ladies as compared to those of men?
  • Is there any notable rhetoric device in Franklin D. Roosevelt, The Pearl Harbor Address?
  • Evaluate whether rhetorical devices used in plays suit the purpose of the speech well
  • How can you point out the rhetorical richness of any speech?
  • Conduct a rhetorical analysis of the Bible
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