Rhetorical Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide with Examples

rhetorical analysis essay

Rhetorical analysis essays are usually given as essay writing assignments by the instructors. Students often struggle writing a good rhetorical analysis essay and do not score well in their assignments.

Rhetorical essay assignments require students to think critically and break down the text to analyze it. They have to analyze the persuasion methods used by the text’s author.

Are you a student who is struggling to write a rhetorical analysis essay?

Then this blog is for you!

Read this blog to learn about the steps, tips, and topics along with great examples to write a great rhetorical analysis essay.

Let’s get started!

Definition - What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

A rhetorical analysis essay is defined as an essay type that is written to explore how the author has composed or written his work. The main focus is on “how” the authors have written the text rather than “what” the text is about.

The author’s techniques, goals, and appeals to the audience are the main features considered while writing a rhetorical analysis essay. You do not have to agree or disagree with the author’s statements or arguments. Rather, you have to describe how they presented their arguments or opinions.

The parts of an advertisement, cartoon, speech, or essay are broken into parts to explain how they work together to inform, persuade and entertain the audience.

A few specific examples of writings that you can analyze are:

  • A novel
  • A speech
  • A play, film, or a TV show
  • An art exhibit
  • An advertisement
  • A scholarly article.

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay becomes easy when you create an outline ahead and follow it while writing the essay.

  • Introductory Paragraph: This is the first paragraph of your rhetorical analysis essay, and it has to be appealing enough to keep the reader engaged. You have to present the topic and summarize the main idea of your essay in a sentence or two. This will be your thesis statement, and you will think about the aspects while mentioning your thesis statement. You will omit all the unnecessary points from your essay at this stage.

  • Main Body: The main body of the rhetorical analysis essay comprises 70-80% of the overall text. You have to present your arguments in steps. You have to express your opinion while stating the evidence. You will also be applying the three modes of persuasion: logos appeals, pathos appeals, and ethos appeals.

  • Conclusion: The conclusion of the rhetorical analysis essay is similar to the conclusions of other essays. The idea is to restate the arguments that were introduced in the body paragraphs earlier. Do not present any new argument or information in the conclusion, as it can confuse the reader.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline Example (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline Example

Once you’re done creating an outline, you can use it as a cheat sheet to write down your essay.

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay becomes challenging if you do not follow the proper writing steps. This essay follows a typical pattern of any other essay, i.e., the five paragraphs pattern: an introduction, three paragraphs of the body, and a conclusion paragraph.

Once you know how to start an essay properly, then you can write a great rhetorical analysis essay.

Below are some steps to guide you in writing a rhetorical analysis essay:

  1. Gather information: To gather the information; you can use the SOAPSTone technique to identify the key points and then plan your analysis:

    • Speaker: The author or voice telling the story
    • Purpose: What is the reason behind the written text?
    • Audience: Who will be reading the text?
    • Subject: What is the topic of the text?
    • Occasion: When and where does the work take place? What is the context?
    • Tone: How does the writer address the topic?
  2. Examine the Appeals: You have to analyze the appeals or persuasive strategies used by writers. Writers use them to get certain reactions from the readers. These appeals are:

    • Ethos: The ethical appeal is for the author’s credibility; this includes his qualifications.
    • Logos: Logical appeals include the data and evidence to form an argument.
    • Pathos: Pathos intend to draw an emotional effect, like personal details of a victim in a crime.
  3. Identify the Writing Style: You have to identify the word tone, word choice, and tone. Then, analyze any repetition and look for the images and figurative language.

  4. Build an Analysis: You can inquire yourself about the gathered information, and answers will help you find the reasons behind the writer’s choices. Some of the examples are:

    • What is the intention of the author?
    • Which appeals did the writer use to persuade the audience?
    • What strategy does the author use to make an argument?
    • What is the style of the writer?
    • What is the argument about?
    • How would this work affect the audience?
    • Who is the target audience?
  5. Write the Introduction: The essay introduction has to be a single paragraph that clearly states the main points you will address in the essay. Then, briefly provide background and the message of the author.

  6. Write your Thesis Statement: You have to present the thesis statement while ending your introduction paragraph. It is one of the integral parts of the rhetorical analysis essay.

  7. Write your Body Paragraphs: You have to write at least three paragraphs in this section. You will present arguments with evidence in the body paragraphs. In the body paragraphs, you can orderly place the three appeals and their efficacy. Link the topic of each body paragraph to the thesis.

  8. Write your Conclusion: Many people do not know how to write a conclusion properly. You have to summarize your main points in the conclusion paragraph briefly. Explain the importance of your arguments and link them in an orderly fashion. Mention if any further research is needed.

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples

Rhetorical analysis essay examples are given below to help you understand the writing style:

Rhetorical Analysis Sample Essay (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Sample Essay

AP Language Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (PDF)

AP Language Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Letter from a Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (PDF)

Letter from a Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Techniques with Examples (PDF)

Rhetorical Techniques with Examples

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” from 1497
  • Inaugural address by President Joseph R. Biden
  • “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
  • Animal Farm
  • Analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech
  • One Direction’s “Story of My Life”
  • “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay can be challenging if you do not follow the instructions carefully. Hopefully, this detailed blog about rhetorical analysis will help you write a great essay. Read the guidelines carefully to score well on your assignments.

If you face difficulties writing a rhetorical analysis essay on your own, you can contact WriteMyEssayFast.net for professional help regarding the essay. Our professional writers will help you write an impressive rhetorical analysis essay for you.


What is the goal of a rhetorical analysis essay?

The goal of a rhetorical analysis essay is to rightly explain the influence of any writing on its reader. It also explains if it is successful in attracting the readers and what appeals have been used to achieve the goals.

What counts as a text for rhetorical analysis?

The text in the rhetorical analysis is the object that you are examining. Usually, it’s a piece of writing but it can also be a political cartoon or an advertisement.

What are supports, claims, and warrants?

In rhetorical analysis:

  • Support is a proof or appeal used to convince the reader.
  • A claim is something that the writer wants the readers to believe.
  • A warrant is an assumption to link the claim with the support.