How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay - With Examples

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay – With Examples


Writing the rhetorical analysis essay seems like a daunting task for newbies. But as soon as you master the professional tips and tricks, you can write like a guru in the shortest time.

In this guide, we will define what a rhetorical analysis is, and guide you with examples, tips, and an outline. In case you prefer to skip over this guide due to reasons such as a busy schedule, our top tutors are ready to cover you by acing that essay for you. All you need to do is place an order with us!

What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

As you may understand, various literary works have been written with the sole intention of persuading the readers in understanding the author’s point of view and ideas.

There are various strategies, literary devices, and rhetorical techniques which will help the authors achieve their goals.

A rhetorical analysis can be defined as the process of determining the success of an author in entertaining their audience. A rhetorical analysis essay analyzes the author’s success in informing and persuading the audience.

There are various writing strategies used in the analysis of historical and modern texts. In a rhetorical analysis, you need to determine the author’s writing style and point of view.

This requires you to analyze the persuasion methods used by the author (phrases and words created by the author). This determines how effective they are to readers.

So, what is the purpose of a rhetorical analysis?

In a rhetorical analysis essay prompt, the college students will be provided with essay prompts explaining the task’s purpose. The rhetorical analysis essay prompts will also specify the areas you need to pay attention to.

In the assigned text, consider the author’s use of the following:

  • The rhetorical strategies used ( logos, ethos, pathos)
  • Examples, evidence, and reasoning in supporting the main ideas
  • Stylistic and persuasive elements

In the prompt above, the task’s purpose is to define, analyze, and discuss the rhetorical features in the text assigned.

The 3 Strategies in Rhetorical Analysis

For you to effectively handle a task in rhetorical analysis, you will need to understand these success strategies and how to use them.

Let us define them and look at their key attributes:

1.     Ethos

The ethos rhetorical device is used to establish the credibility of the author in a literary piece. When used skillfully, the strategy is used to determine whether or not there is trust in an author regarding a given matter.

An author’s credibility will be determined by their moral competence, knowledge, and expertise on a given subject.

As stated by Aristotle, there are 3 categories of ethos: eunoia (goodwill to the audience), phronesis (wisdom and useful skills), and arête (goodwill, virtue).

For example, when a book author is a well-known expert in a given subject, or when a famous person advertises products – this is the use of ethos in persuasion.

2.     Pathos

Following the pathos literary definition, the word translates to “emotion,” “suffering,” or “experience.” It is a persuasion method used by authors to appeal to the reader’s emotions.

The goal of pathos is to elicit feelings such as compassion, anger, pity, sympathy, happiness, etc. It helps steer the reader’s attention in relating to the ideas and identity of the author.

The most common ways in rhetoric you can use pathos are:

  • Personal anecdotes
  • Metaphors
  • Storytelling, etc.

3.     Logos

In line with the literary definition of logos, the Greek word translates to “opinion,” “reason,” “plea,” “ground,” etc.

Unlike pathos or ethos, which relies on emotions or credibility, this strategy is logical.  The logos rhetorical device persuades readers by using statistics, numbers, facts, critical thinking, or other undeniable data.

For example, when a literary piece by a certain author creates the author’s statement supported by valid facts – that represents logos.

The strategies pathos, ethos, and logos play a critical role when writing a rhetorical essay. Let’s look at how you begin to write your rhetorical essay.

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Text and Context

In a rhetorical essay analysis, a text is a communication piece you get to use for analysis.  This could be a satirical image, an advertisement, or a speech.

The context refers to everything else that surrounds the text. It could be the author, audience, where and when it is produced, and so on.

Claims, Warrants, and Supports

A claim is an idea or fact the author wishes to convince the reader about. A claim is stated explicitly, but in some cases, it may be implied.

Supports serve the purpose of backing up the claim the author intends to make. They range from emotional appeal to hard evidence. Any information used in convincing a reader to accept a claim acts as support.

A warrant is an assumption or logic which forms a connection between a claim and support.

Take a look at the example below:

Topics on Rhetorical Analysis

To come up with a compelling rhetorical analysis essay, as a student, you will need to select a compelling topic.

Some of the tips to keep in mind when selecting a topic include:

  • Keep the focus on what interests you. The key to writing a top-quality rhetorical analysis paper is keeping your focus on rhetorical analysis essay topics you have a genuine interest in.
  • Select a familiar topic. Choose a topic that reflects your understanding. Always remember that your academic paper will require you to analyze the author’s writing thoroughly. It will also help you understand the author’s evidence-building style.
  • Ask for advice from your instructor. If you have done the background research and have outlined interesting topics, it’s a good idea to get topic suggestions from your instructor.

Following the tips given above, you will discover a topic that is both promising and interesting.

Top 5 Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples

The top 5 rhetorical analysis essay examples include:

1.     Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essays

The Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay will determine how images and pictures will communicate a message and persuade the audience.

This type of essay will, in most cases, be written for adverts.

2.     Comparative Rhetorical Analysis Essays

You can write a rhetorical analysis essay to explain the comparison between two items.

3.     AP Language Rhetorical Analysis Essays

A rhetorical analysis essay can be done in AP composition and language.

4.     Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essays

A rhetorical analysis can be performed on a speech. You will need to determine your strategy of persuasion before you can formulate a concise thesis statement. Once you have created your outline, you can then write using an appropriate writing style.

You will then edit and proofread the work.

5.     Non-Fictional Rhetorical Analysis Essays

In performing an analysis of non-fiction essays, you will need to identify the purpose of the text and whether it fits the writer’s purpose.

Step-by-Step Guide: Writing Rhetorical Analysis

Step 1: Read and Analyze the Text

When you start writing your rhetorical analysis, you will need to begin with reading and then analyze the text assigned.

Take notes as you start to read the valuable information key to helping you make your analysis process simple.

Step 2: Identify the Strategies Used by the Author

Consider answering the following questions later in the analysis after reading:

  • Who the author is and their target audience
  • The author’s intention  project/speech writing
  • Is the writing setting having a connection or value with the main text (s)? Why do you think the author chose the given context?

When you keep the questions in your memory, you are certain to have an easier time analyzing the strategies used by the author when you begin your writing.

Step 3: Identify the Author’s Use of Persuasive Tactics

The persuasive tactics are classified into three sections: pathos, logos, and ethos.

For all Advanced Placement (AP) English examinations (rhetorical analysis is common here), the literary prompt for the essays contains an example of one out of the three persuasive tactics.

Once you have used some background information you gathered as your guide, it will not be difficult to determine the tactic used.

Outline of the Rhetorical Essay

To write an excellent rhetorical analysis essay, a student will need a proper understanding of the strategies and rhetorical devices.

Furthermore, you must learn how to identify and analyze the use of rhetorical devices and strategies in literary works.

Keep in mind that the intro-body-conclusion format remains the same. Below is a rhetorical essay outline you should follow:


When writing a rhetorical analysis essay, ensure the reader gains trust by making them understand that you have fully grasped the text.

Make the introduction informative and short. You will need to make a summary of the passage you will add to the essay using your thought-out words.

This will be proof to your audience that you have an understanding of the main message. After, briefly touch on the author’s persuasion styles and their effects.

Lastly, you will need to craft the opinion into a nicely-thought-out thesis statement. The thesis statement needs to address the ‘why,’ ‘how,’ ‘what,’ and ‘who’ questions.

The thesis statement in the rhetorical analysis will come last in the introduction paragraph. Keep in mind that the introductory paragraph gives you the chance to interest your reader.

Body Paragraphs

Once you have given the reader some perspective, you need to perform a critical analysis. You will need to create body paragraphs with the right information.

In each paragraph, you should aim at investigating a different rhetorical strategy.

In the paragraphs, analyze the author’s methods in entertaining, persuading, and informing the reader.

  • When the author has used persuasive language, then you need to explain that.
  • When the author has used sympathetic language, give proof of its use.

All your writing needs to be consistent and with a clear structure. Have the strategies explained in different paragraphs to avoid congesting everything in one paragraph?

In identifying the strategies the author has used, aim to answer the questions below:

  • Why would the author choose a given way of approaching the particular audience?
  • What is the particular strategy performance in the given example?
  • How does the strategy work?
  • How did the audience feel about using a particular strategy, and how did they respond or react to it?

Another factor you should take note of in the body paragraph is the shift in diction and tone. Always properly cite your work.


Once you have written your detailed, properly cited paragraphs, you need to conclude the essay.

Give a summary of what you have elaborated on in the essay. Explain how the words used by the author have changed the audience’s opinion. State their impact on society.

In the conclusion’s last sentence, develop an impactful conclusion that demonstrates the author’s writing.

We need to look at a sample rhetorical analysis essay outline.

  1. Introduction

It shows the author’s name, the author’s appositive phrase, and the author’s genre which establishes authority and credibility. This is then followed by their work’s title (a date follows in parenthesis); an accurate verb rhetorically (“claim,” “imply,” “suggest,” “argue,” “assert,” etc.); and a major assertion (thesis statement) of the paper contained in a THAT clause.

Let us look at a rhetoric analysis essay topic about a speech by Martin Luther King on “I Have a Dream.” In the speech, Martin Luther King supports his ideologies by referring to important documents related to US historical events.

  • The mode in which the author has developed and/or supported the thesis is usually done chronologically.
  • The apparent purpose statement of the author, then “in order”, follows it.
  • The author’s intended audience description as well as the established author’s relationship with his audience.
  • Body Paragraph – 1
  • Topic sentence/transition: “(the last name of the author) begins with/by… (claim the strategy you perceive is working – address the prompt/purpose)”
  • Show a specific example that supports the idea. Ensure you discuss the strategies used exhaustively in the starting section.
  • Connect strategies used to the thesis/claim/the purpose.
  • Body Paragraph – 2
  • Topic sentence/transition: Make a connection between the previous paragraph’s last sentence and this paragraph’s first sentence. This shows how the strategies will build upon one another.
  • Give examples that support your claim.
  • Discuss how the examples will support the idea. Make a connection of the strategy to the purpose/thesis/claim.
  • Body Paragraph – Last
  • Topic sentence/transition: Make a connection between the previous paragraph’s last sentence and this paragraph’s first sentence. This shows how the strategies will build upon one another.
  • Give examples that support your claim.
  • Discuss how the examples will support the idea. Make a connection of the strategy to the purpose/thesis/claim.
  • Conclusion
  • Here you restate your thesis
  • Reflect on the main ideas and the examples given in the body paragraphs. Elaborate on the strategy’s significance and its link to the thesis.
  • State if the strategies used are effective in relating the purpose/thesis/claim.
  • Closing thoughts – the main purpose of the analyzed text is closed out.
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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Writing Tips


  • Methods used by the author in persuasion
  • The writing style used, whether formal or informal, punctuation/spelling, and logical flow
  • The targeted audience
  • The tone the author has chosen to use in their writing

Discern the passage’s goal:

Determine the reason for rhetorical choices of persuasion methods by the author, the style of writing, and the set tone for the target audience.

  • How are the rhetorical methods used supposed to help the writer in achieving the passage’s primary purpose?
  • Why has the writer chosen the given methods of persuasion towards the target audience for the given occasion?
  • Keep your focus on the persuasive strategies and literary techniques the author uses.

Polishing Your Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Below are 7 steps to guide you in editing and proofreading, which have an immense impact on the quality of your paper.

1.     Grammar

Always check to confirm there is no punctuation or spelling error when you write – avoid using abbreviated words.

2.     Plagiarism

You are punishable for plagiarism in all academic institutions.  Ensure you do your citations correctly.

3.     Vocabulary

Use a wide range of vocabulary to show understanding and proper understanding of the topic you are analyzing. You may refer to Thesaurus for the expansion of vocabulary knowledge.

4.     Coherence

Use transition statements between paragraphs. Lead your reader in the essay using transition words.

5.     Write Using Present Tense

Writing while using present tense keeps the paper easy to read and makes it easy to understand and follow.

6.     Make a Response to a Text

When analyzing a paper, write the paper as though you are responding to a passage.

7.     Make Use of an Appropriate Title

Initial impressions always count. Use a heading that stands out from all the others. Also, ensure that the heading remains relevant to the paper.

You may also want to check an Analysis of a modest proposal


Are you struggling to understand the rhetorical essay analysis concept?

We get that it can be a little tasking because you must be impeccable in your writing.

Follow the steps we have outlined in coming up with your rhetorical essay analysis paper.

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Frequently Asked Questions – Rhetorical Analysis Essay

1.     How can I write the rhetorical essay analysis?

When you write a rhetorical essay analysis, it is similar to a literary analysis essay. However, the focus is made on one or more non-fiction texts. The analysis will target the rhetorical devices the author uses.

2.     What does writing the rhetorical analysis mean?

Writing the rhetorical analysis essay implies that as a reader, human being, or audience member, you are aware of the information you choose to digest.

3.     What are the rhetorical strategies used in the rhetorical analysis?

The three and most common rhetorical strategies used in the rhetorical analysis are also referred to as rhetorical appeals. Logos (Logic) refers to engaging the audience’s brains with the use of arguments and evidence. Pathos (passion) involves engaging the emotions of the audience. Ethos (Ethics) refers to trustworthiness and credibility.

4.     How many paragraphs does the rhetorical essay analysis have?

In a rhetorical essay analysis, there are 5 main paragraphs. If you have chosen broad rhetorical analysis topics, you can extend your main paragraph.

5.     What is the purpose of the rhetorical essay analysis?

The main purpose of a rhetorical analysis essay is that it carefully examines both fiction and non-fiction work.

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