When it comes to learning how to write rhetorical analysis, it may be a difficult task for beginners, but once you know the tricks and tips, you’ll be writing like a pro in no time.

In this article, we’ll cover the definition of rhetorical analysis and show you a step-by-step guide with an outline, tips, and examples. Nonetheless, if you simply prefer to skip all of this and have one of our professionals help you with it, please feel free to contact us Top essay writing services by clicking the button below.

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What is a rhetorical analysis essay?

As you know, different literary works are written with the sole aim of persuading the reader in the validity of the author’s ideas and point of view. There are various literary and rhetorical strategies and devices that help writers achieve this goal; And this is what you will have to deal with when working on your rhetorical analysis essay.

So, what is the definition of rhetorical analysis? In short, rhetorical analysis is the process of measuring how successful writers are at persuading, informing, or entertaining their audiences. There are thousands of writing strategies used to analyze modern, as well as historical texts, but note that in a rhetorical analysis essay you must identify the author’s writing style and their point of view. This requires analyzing the author’s methods of persuasion (the words and phrases the author creates) and how effective they are with the reader.

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Prompt Rhetorical Analysis

What is the use of rhetorical analysis? Typically, when assigned with this type of assignment, students are given a specific prompt that explains the purpose of the assignment and defines areas to pay attention to.

Here is an example of basic rhetorical analysis of the prompt: Write a 2-3 page rhetorical analysis essay on the assigned text. You will be asked to complete several different tasks: (1) summarize the main arguments/claims/goals of the text and (2) explain how these arguments are put together.

As you read the assigned text, consider how author is used:

  • Different rhetorical strategies (PATHOS, ETHOS, LOGOS)
  • Reasons, evidence, and examples to support their main ideas
  • Elements of persuasion or style”

As you can see from the prompt, the main goal of this task is to define, analyze and discuss the most important rhetorical features of the assigned text.

Rhetorical Analysis Strategy

There are three universal methods of persuasion – also called rhetorical strategies. In order to tackle the task, you need to have a good understanding of these strategies and their usage.

So, what are the 3 rhetorical strategies? Let’s define each and take a closer look at their key attributes:

  1. Ethos

The rhetorical device of ethos is what establishes the author’s credibility in a piece of literature. Simply put, the skillful use of this strategy is what helps readers determine whether or not a particular writer can be trusted on a particular issue. Credibility is defined by the author’s expertise, knowledge, and moral competence for a particular subject. According to Aristotle, there are three categories of ethos: arete (virtue, goodwill), phronesis (useful skills & wisdom), and Eunoia (goodwill towards the audience).

For example, when the author of a book is a well-known expert on a particular subject, or when a product is advertised by a famous person – this is the use of ethos for persuasion.

  1. Pathos

According to the literary definition of Pathos, this Greek word translates to “experience,” “suffering,” or “emotion” and is one of three methods writers of persuasion could use to appeal to the emotions of their readers. In short, the main goal of this strategy is to elicit certain feelings (e.g. happiness, sympathy, pity, anger, compassion, etc.) in their audience with the sole aim of persuading them something. Its main purpose is to help readers relate to the identity and ideas of the author.

Some common ways to use Pathos in rhetoric are through:

  • Storytelling;
  • Metaphor;
  • Personal anecdotes, etc.

Just to give you an example, when you see an ad showing a sad, loveless animal and asking you to donate money to an animal shelter or adopt an animal – that clearly uses emotional appeal in persuasion.

  1. LOGOS.

According to the definition of literary logos, this word is translated from Greek as “land,” “supplication,” “reason,” “opinion,” etc. This rhetorical strategy is purely logical; Thus, unlike ethos or pathos which rely on credibility or emotion, the rhetorical device of logos is used to persuade readers through the use of critical thinking, facts, figures and statistics, and other indisputable data.

For example, when the author of a literary work makes a statement and backs it up with valid facts – that’s a logo.

These three strategies: logo, ethos, and pathos play an important role in writing rhetorical analysis essays. The better you understand them, the more easily you will be able to determine how successful the author of the assigned text was using them. Now, let’s see how to get started.

Topic of rhetorical analysis

To write an excellent rhetorical analysis essay, students first need to choose an interesting topic. Below are some of the best tips to consider for choosing topics that engage your audience:

  • Focus on your interests. The main trick to writing top notch paper is to focus on a topic that you are really interested in. Many students make the grave mistake of picking on promising topics and engaging them. Such an approach can make rhetorical writing more of a challenge. However, if you decide to pay your interest and write about something that really engages you, the writing process will be much more fun and simple.
  • Choose a topic that you are familiar with. Another useful trick is to choose a subject that reflects your knowledge. Picking something that is completely foreign to you can get you stuck before you even start writing. Keep in mind that this academic paper requires you to make a thorough analysis of the author’s writing and proof-building style, and the more experienced you are in a particular topic, the easier it will be to tackle the analysis.
  • Do background research. When choosing a topic, it is very important to ensure that it will be broad enough in scope, and enough information, for you to research and write about. Therefore, it is very important that you do some background research before choosing a particular topic. To do this, you can make a list of topics that seem attractive to you. Then, take your time to research the available information on the chosen topic and choose one that is not only interesting, but offers good research and analysis opportunities. Also, be sure to make notes on the most important points when doing background research. These notes will come in handy later.
  • Ask your instructor for advice. If you’ve outlined your most interesting topics and done your background research but still can’t make up your mind, it would be a good idea to get advice from your instructor. Ask your instructor to look at your list to advise you on the most suitable subjects.

Following the tips outlined above, you should be able to find interesting and promising topics. To give you some ideas to think about, let’s look at a list of good rhetorical analysis topics:

Easy Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  1. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” ”
  3. “To kill a mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  4. Symbolism in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”
  5. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
  6. Use of symbolism in the “Harry Potter” series
  7. “Witches Loaves” by O’Henry
  8. Main theme in Chuck Palahniuk’s “Club Fight Club”.
  9. “Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.
  10. The head of Joseph’s “handover speech”.

High School Rhetoric Analysis Essay Topics

  1. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
  2. “Death of a peddler” by Arthur Miller
  3. Main theme in Agatha Christie’s “and then nothing”
  4. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
  5. Use of symbolism in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
  6. “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer
  7. The central idea in “enemy of the people” by Henrik Ibsen
  8. Symbolism in Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”
  9. Sam Berns’ “my philosophy for a happy life”
  10. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

College Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  1. The main theme in “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
  2. “Antigone” by Sophocles
  3. Macbeth’s Rhetorical Analysis
  4. “Birthmarks” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  5. Speech “everyone” by Huey Pierce Long
  6. “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck
  7. Literary device used by William Shakespeare
  8. “Containers” by Arthur Miller
  9. Rhetorical analysis of the film “The Phantom of the Opera”
  10. Analysis of the PoE poem in “The Raven”

2020 rhetorical analysis essay topics

  1. Analysis of Beyoncé’s speech to the class of 2020
  2. “Profiles in Corruption” by Peter Schweizer
  3. Pink’s VMA speech on admissions
  4. “Prices of inequality” by Joseph Stiglitz
  5. The main theme in Michelle Obama’s “become”.
  6. “In the mind of a Master Procrastinator” Ted Talk the Talk by Tim Urban
  7. Rhetoric Analysis of the 2020 commencement speech by Barack Obama
  8. “Cree of Heart” by Romeo Dallier
  9. Feminism in Oprah’s Golden Globes speech
  10. President Donald Trump’s latest speech

How to write a rhetorical analysis: step by step

Step 1: Read and analyze the text
Writing a rhetorical analysis essay starts with reading and analyzing the assigned text. As you start reading, jot down valuable information that will help you streamline the analysis process.

Step 2: Identify the author’s strategy
Here are questions you should consider while reading that you can try to answer later in your analysis:

  • Who are the authors and who is their intended target audience?
  • What is the goal of writing a speech/project?
  • Does the setting have importance or connection to the main message? If so, why did the author choose that particular context?

Considering these questions will make it easier to analyze the writer’s strategy once you start writing. At the very least, these questions give you a template to work with and will help you understand the author’s methods of persuasion.

Step 3: Find the persuasive tactics used by the author
The ingredients for persuasion, as Aristotle called them, can be broken down into three categories: ethos, pathos, and logos.

Example: Thousands of years of history have taught us that wars never change.
Three methods of persuasion

In any advanced placement (AP) English Language Examination (where rhetorical analysis essays are common), the literary prompt for your essay will contain examples of at least one of the three persuasive methods. After using the background info to help guide you, it shouldn’t be too hard to tell which tactic the speakers are using.

If you’re supposed to create your own topic, here are some rhetorical analysis essay topics you can use;

  • The discourse on Atlas was shrugged off by Ayn Rand
  • The persuasive strategy used in the “troop speech at Tilbury” given by Queen Elizabeth I
  • Analysis of the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • Samuel L.’s Rhetorical Strategy. Jackson’s Monologue in Pulp Fiction

Now that you know what to look for, let’s move on to the outline.

Rhetoric Essay Outline

In order to write the best paper, a student needs to have a deep understanding of rhetorical devices and strategies. Furthermore, it is very important that you can identify and analyze its usage in a particular literary work. An additional important factor when analyzing a text is proper structure – a good rhetorical analysis essay should be well-crafted and organized.

Keep in mind that the organization of your rhetorical analysis essay is not the most important thing to consider; The most important thing is to make sure you address the specific demands of your particular writing assignment. Therefore, it is not mandatory to follow a standard essay structure; There are many ways to start your rhetorical analysis right.

Otherwise it is better for you to follow the structure provided by your professor. If they don’t provide the necessary structure for your essay, you can always use one 5-6 paragraph styles. . Here are our suggestions for your outline:

  • Be sure to read, analyze, and take notes before starting your outline.
  • Write the main points of your essay in your outline and add evidence to support them.
  • Create a thesis statement that covers your main points and addresses the author’s writing goals.

If you have main ideas to support your thesis and have evidence to support them in your outline, writing will be easier. You can also use our rhetorical analysis essay Outline Templates to get better understanding to write your paper. Remember that the intro-tovlusion format never changes.


In a rhetorical analysis essay, the way to gain the reader’s trust is to show the reader that you have read and fully understood the assigned text. When writing an introduction, keep it short and informative.

To begin, briefly summarize the sections you will include in your essay in your own words; This will prove to the reader that you understand the main message of the text.

Next, you can briefly mention the persuasive style used by the author, and the effect it had.

Finally, formulate your opinion into a well-crafted thesis statement. It has to address the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘how’ and ‘why’. Your rhetorical analysis thesis statement usually comes at the end of your introductory paragraph.

Remember that your introduction is your opportunity to infuriate the reader about content that you will touch on later in the text.

You may be interested in getting more information about «How to Write an Introduction»

body paragraph

Having given the reader’s perspective, it’s time to do a critical analysis. Most of your time will be focused on creating informative body paragraphs. In the body, describe the author’s methods used to inform, persuade, and entertain the reader.

  • If the writer uses persuasive language, then say that he is using persuasive language.
  • If the author uses sympathetic language, explain and use quotes for proof.

Keep in mind that all writing must be consistent and have a clear structure. It’s wise to have different paragraphs explaining the author’s strategy, rather than jamming it all together.

When identifying the author’s writing strategy, answer the following questions:

  • How does this strategy work?
  • How does the strategy work in the example?
  • Why did the author take a special approach to this audience?
  • How does the strategy make the audience feel, react or respond?

Some other things to watch for in the body of the paragraph are shifts in tone and diction. Don’t forget to always use the right quote in your work. In literature, the MLA format is usually used for citations.

Here’s an article that shows The proper way to quote in MLA


After writing a detailed and well-quoted body paragraph, conclude your essay. As with most other types of essays, summarize what you previously explained. Talk about how the author’s words have changed the opinion of their audience, or if they have had a significant impact on society.

In the final sentence of the conclusion of your rhetorical analysis, you can provide an impactful closing statement that demonstrates the importance of the author’s writing or how his strategy has helped shape history.

To make sure that you complete the outline

Feel free to ask one of our writers for help.


Let’s look at an outline of the rhetorical analysis of the substation on the topic of Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream” to break down each part of this work in detail.

1. Introduction: Proper rhetoric:

  • Author names, appositive phrases about the authors and their genre to establish credibility & authority, and the title of their work (followed by the date in brackets); Verbs that are rhetorically accurate (such as “assert,” “opinion,” “suggest,” “imply,” “claim,” etc.); and a clause containing the main statement (thesis statement) of the work.
Example: Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s most prominent activists and spokesmen and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, in his most iconic speech, “I Have a Dream” (1963) argued that racism must end in the US.
  • An explanation of how the author developed and/or supported the thesis, usually in chronological order.
Example: In his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. developed and supported his ideas by referring to important documents in US history, including: the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the United States Constitution. He also called Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and made reference to historical events such as the abolition of slavery.
  • The author’s statement of purpose of the author, followed by the phrase “in order”.
Example: In his speech, the author called for civil rights to direct attention to the problem and stop racial discrimination.
  • Description of the intended audience and the relationship the author establishes with the audience
Example: The speech was intended for a large audience, essentially the entire nation of America, and the author established a relationship of equality among the entire audience by claiming that we are all “children of God.”

2. Body Paragraph #1:

  • Topic Sentence/Transition: “(author’s last name) begins with/by … (make your claim as to what strategy you see addressing the objective/prompt)”
Example: The king begins with a powerful statement about the abolition of slavery.
  • Provide specific examples to support ideas: Provide explicit textual support woven into your comments to support your claim. Thoroughly discusses all strategies used in the initial section, supported by text.
Example: He said “five scores of years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation” and finished his point with a metaphor, claiming that this event “came as a joyous dawn to end their (slave’s) long night ) detention.
  • Discussion of how the examples support the idea: Relate the strategy back to your main claim/thesis/goal.
Example: Making this statement, Raja employs several different techniques: voice-over, prophetic voice, and dynamic spectacle to demonstrate the urgency of the matter.

3. Body Paragraph #2:

  • Topic Sentence/Transition: “After the author’s (idea) moved to (another idea)” Connect the idea from the last sentence of the previous paragraph to the first sentence of this paragraph to show how the strategies build on one another.
Example: After emphasizing the iconic nature of the abolition of slavery, King makes a counterstatement – ​​”but a hundred years later, the Negro is still not free” to draw attention to the lingering problems.
  • Provide examples to support your claim.
Example: Raja expands on his ideas by providing real-life examples to back up his claims – “One hundred years later, Negro life is still deeply crippled by the manassa segregi and the chains of discrimination.” He stressed the lack of economic and civil rights facing African Americans – “Negroes live on lonely islands of poverty in the middle of an ocean of material well-being” – and urged the faults in this discrimination: “Negroes still languish in corners of American society and found himself exile in his own land.
  • Discussion of how the example supports the idea: Relate the strategy back to your main claim/thesis/goal.
Example: Finally the author uses Pathos to appeal to the audience’s feelings with the statement – ​​”And so we have come here today to dramatize an embarrassing condition.
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4. Final Body Paragraph:

  • Sentence/topic transition: “To close the essay/remark, (the writer)…” or “concludes the argument he or she…” – Connect the ideas from the last sentence of the previous paragraph to the first sentence of this paragraph to show how the strategy builds on one another other.
Example: Concluding the argument, the King further relied on Pathos, declaring that “it would be fatal for the nation to ignore the urgency of the moment” to appeal to the conscience of the people.
  • Provide examples to support your claim.
Example: “The speaker appealed to the consciences of nations and urged them to stand up for change -” Now is the time to rise from the dark and lonely Valley of Segregation to the Sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make that reality a reality for all of God’s children. ”
  • Discuss how the example supports the idea: Relate the strategy back to your main claim/thesis/goal.
Example: The author appeals to the audience’s feelings of compassion and summarizes his point by stating that “there will be no rest or quiet in America until the negro is granted his citizenship rights.” ”

5. Conclusion

  • Calculate your thesis.
Example: “The king’s speech emphasized the importance of ending racial discrimination”
  • Reflect on the main examples and ideas in the body paragraphs, the importance of these strategies, and how they relate to your thesis.
Example: “Throughout his speech, Raja relied on a variety of rhetorical strategies and devices, including ethos, pathos, and logos. He shared facts and examples, relied on logic, and appealed to the emotions of his audience to get his message across. In addition, he used different speaking techniques, such as amalgamation of sound, prophetic sound, and dynamic spectacle, to empower the effect of his speech.”
  • State if it is effective in conveying the claim/thesis/objectives.
Example: “Martin Luther King Jr. was a skilled spokesman who made use of a variety of rhetorical devices to persuade audiences and he was certainly successful in this endeavor.”
  • Closing thoughts – Cover the main purpose of the text being analyzed.
Example: King’s “I have a dream” is one of the most iconic and moving speeches in US history. ”

The following is a template/schematic rhetorical analysis of the outline described above:


  • Precise rhetoric
  • thesis statement

Body Verse(s)

  • Sentences / Topic Transitions
  • Examples that support the main idea
  • Discussion of how the examples given support the idea


  • Restatement of the thesis statement
  • Reflections on ideas and examples are provided in the body
  • Explanation of how the strategy used by the author is effective in conveying the thesis/claim/purpose

Video Guide

Write tips to follow


  • Author’s method of persuasion (examples of ethos, logos, and pathos)
  • Writing style used (formal or informal English; specific terms, logical flow, spelling/punctuation)
  • Original target audience (business people, professors, etc.)
  • Tone, selected by the author (may vary from depressing/casual to humorous/sarcastic)

Distinguish the purpose of this section:
Find out why the author chose the persuasion method, writing style, and tone with the target audience.

  • How does the rhetorical method help the author achieve the main goal of this passage?
  • Why did the author choose this method to persuade the target audience for that particular event?
  • Focus your summary on the literary techniques and persuasive strategies used by the author.

Steps to brush up on your rhetorical analysis

Here are 7 steps you can take to help you with proofreading and editing, which can greatly impact the quality of your writing.

1. Grammar.

It’s always important to check every spelling or Punctuation Mistakes in your writing – avoid abbreviations.

2. Plagiarism

This is a punishable offense in all forms of educational institutions.

  • Be sure to cite anything you reference properly.
  • For courses, it’s possible to use an online plagiarism checker like Copyscape or Grammarly to make sure you haven’t plagiarized anything.
3. Vocabulary

Using a variety of different words will help demonstrate a full understanding of the part being analyzed. While studying, refer to the Thesaurus to expand your vocabulary for better results.

4. Coherence.

It’s always good to have transitions between paragraphs. Don’t jump from statement to statement. Instead, lead the reader through your essay with smooth transitions.

5. Write in the present tense

Be sure to write in the present tense to avoid confusion for your readers; It makes your paper direct and easy to follow.

6. Respond to text

While analyzing the passage, write your paper as if you were responding to the passage. Rhetorical analysis paper is like a text reflection. Analyze the author’s rhetorical style, but keep it natural and offer your thoughts and opinions.

7. Use an appropriate title

Number of first impressions. Try to use a catchy title that stands out from the crowd. Make sure the title is relevant to your work.

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Example of a Rhetorical Analysis Essay:

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