Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

rhetorical analysis essay

Rhetorical analysis essays can be a daunting task. But don't worry, this step-by-step guide will make the process easy and help you write a great essay.

In order to understand how to write a rhetorical analysis, you first need to know what it is.

A rhetorical analysis essay breaks down a piece of writing, speech, or advertisement to determine how the author is trying to persuade their audience. It looks at things like the writer's word choice, tone, and persuasive strategy.

So how do you go about writing one of these essays? This can be a challenging essay to write, but with this comprehensive guide and some good examples, you'll be able to breeze through it.

Let's take a closer look!

What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

According to the rhetorical analysis essay definition, it is a type of academic writing that asks you to analyze the rhetoric used by an author. Rhetoric can be defined as the use of language to achieve a particular purpose or goal.

In other words, when you're writing a rhetorical analysis essay, you're analyzing how the author uses language to persuade their audience or achieve some other goal.

This type of analysis essay focuses on analyzing the writing style, persuasion tactics, and objective an author has in mind.

It does not put much emphasis on what is being said but instead analyzes how that information is persuasive or informative through various rhetorical techniques.

You can analyze any piece of writing like a book, a speech, a movie, a song, a play, an advertisement, or even an art piece for your rhetorical analysis essay.

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

Follow these simple steps below to write a compelling essay:

  1. 1. Study the Piece to be Analyzed

    So, how to start a rhetorical analysis essay?

    Begin by first thoroughly analyzing the piece you’re writing your essay on. Use the SOAPSTone strategy for your analysis. According to this strategy, you must identify the following six elements first:

    • Speaker: Who is the author?
    • Occasion: What is the setting?
    • Audience: Who is the author addressing?
    • Purpose: What is the idea or the message author wants to convey?
    • Subject: What is the main theme?
    • Tone: How does the author convey his message?
  2. 2. Identify the Rhetorical Strategies

    Next step is to analyze the rhetorical techniques and methods used by the author to convey his idea or message to the audience. There are three strategies authors employ to persuade their audience. They are as follows:

    • Ethos (offering credibility through morals and trustworthiness)
    • Pathos (appealing through emotions)
    • Logos (creating logical appeals with the reasoning that will convince your reader)
  3. 3. Create an Outline

    After you’ve done your study and understood the piece you’re trying to analyze, gather all the important points that will be discussed in your essay, and create an essay outline.

    A rhetorical analysis essay outline has the following three parts:

    • A hooking introduction
    • Main body paragraphs
    • Strong conclusion
  4. 4. Compose Your Essay

    Now that you have your outline, all you have to do is follow it and start composing your essay.

    • The introduction of a rhetorical analysis essay is the first section where you introduce your chosen work and its author. Give brief background information on the topic you’re analyzing.
    • Make your introduction more engaging with an hook example, such as an interesting fact, figure, bold statement, anecdote, or a quote. The introduction also includes your thesis statement. A rhetorical analysis thesis effectively conveys the main point or theme of your essay precisely.
    • Next, compose your main body. Include all your arguments and support them with strong facts and evidence.
    • Divide your body into several paragraphs with each paragraph focusing on a specific point. The topic sentence of each paragraph should explain the main idea of that particular paragraph.
    • Lastly, end with a strong concluding paragraph. Wrap up your essay by reiterating your thesis statement and main arguments.
    • Finish with giving your personal opinion on the topic. Tell the readers how you perceived it, and whether you agree or disagree with the author.

  5. 5. Proofread and Edit

    Before submitting your essay, make final revisions. Proofread your essay several times to check for errors, coherence, fluency of text, and consistency of tone. Ensure that your essay is plagiarism-free and does not have any grammatical or punctuation mistakes either.

“How to write a rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang?”

Whether it’s for your high school assignment or your advanced AP Lang course, you can write a great rhetorical analysis essay by following these steps.

This step-by-step guide is easy to follow and can ensure top grades for you in your AP Lang course.

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples

Here are a few examples of rhetorical analysis essays for your guidance. Check them out to know how to write a compelling essay by yourself.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Sample (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Sample

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example AP Lang (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example AP Lang

Example of Rhetorical Analysis Essay Using Ethos, Pathos and Logos (PDF)

Example of Rhetorical Analysis Essay Using Ethos, Pathos and Logos

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

Now that we've seen some rhetorical analysis essay examples, let's take a look at some potential essay topics. These are some interesting prompts to help you get started on your essay writing journey.

  • The role of rhetoric in politics
  • The use of rhetorical devices in an advertising campaign
  • The power of speech in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Rhetorical analysis of Obama’s last Presidential Address
  • “I have a Dream” - speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Vincent Van Gogh’s “A Starry Night”
  • The totalitarian themes in the novel “1984”
  • The movie “A Pursuit of Happiness”
  • The literary techniques used by Charlotte Bronte in “Jane Eyre”
  • Analysis of the techniques used by Claude Monet in his art

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Tips for Writing a Compelling Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Here are some helpful tips to make your rhetorical analysis essay writing even better. You can also follow these tips to write an exceptional AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay.

  • Start by reading the prompt carefully and making sure you understand what is being asked of you.
  • Analyze how each rhetorical device is used to achieve the author's purpose or goal.
  • Make sure that your thesis statement is clear and concise. It should state your main argument and provide a roadmap for the rest of your essay.
  • Before you start writing, take some time to plan and organize your essay. This will make it easier to write a clear and cohesive paper.
  • In order to support your claims, be sure to use specific examples from the text. This will help illustrate your points and add strong credible evidence to your argument.
  • Use present tense and a consistent tone throughout your essay.
  • If you’ve used any outside sources for information, make sure to cite all the references.
  • Ensure that your analysis is free from any bias. Remember to simply analyze and not argue.

Still worried about scoring in your AP Lang? Check out these assessment criteria for rhetorical analysis essay writings below:

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric

In order to write a successful rhetorical analysis essay, it is important that you understand what this type of paper entails. The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to deconstruct a text in order to better understand the author’s purpose and how they used rhetoric to achieve it.

This guide has provided you with all the necessary information on how to structure and format your essay, as well as some tips on how to analyze rhetoric in practice.

If you are still feeling lost or need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out to for a professional essay writing service.

With our team of experienced writers by your side, you can rest assured that your rhetorical analysis will be written flawlessly and receive the grade you deserve.

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