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From Start to Finish: How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

Did you ever get swayed by a speech or touched by a strong article?

This is the magic of rhetoric.

How writers and speakers persuade their audience is not only fascinating but a necessary ability as well. Rhetorical analysis offers us the tools to pick apart those craft moves and get a look at the skill with which the communication was crafted.

Learning to analyze rhetoric in this way grants you an understanding of how arguments are designed, and allows you to become both a more critical reader and an accomplished speaker in your own right. Today, we will talk about how to write a rhetorical analysis from the introduction to the conclusion.

Understanding Rhetorical Analysis

We begin rhetorical analysis by looking at the different things the author or speaker does to convince you of something. How they say it, not just what they are saying. This kind of analysis of strategies impacts the audience’s emotions, beliefs, and actions.

Why is Rhetorical Analysis Important?

It allows us to go deeper into the fibers of communication.

Through the analysis of a speech or written text, we can understand how arguments are built, how evidence is made, and how feelings are appealed. Understanding this makes us better writers and readers and stronger discerners of the messages that we listen to on the regular.

Essential to rhetoric analysis are these three components (Ethos, Pathos, and Logos).

Ethos: Ethos appeals to the credibility and character of the speaker. The most straightforward citations – like an author citing an authority or someone known, especially when an author says they are an expert – count as appeals to ethos.

Pathos appeals to the sense of emotion, trying to make the audience feel love, sadness, or even anger.

Logos is the most persuasive appeal because it uses logic and reason along with facts, statistics, and logical arguments to persuade the audience of an argument.

By picking up on these reads, you can discover the skills to be a great communicator and utilize them in your writing and speaking.

Preparing to Write

Picking the Text

Begin by picking a textbook that is full of rhetorical strategies. They can be a good text for making speeches, opinion articles, and essays. Try to find a book that uses unmistakable reasoning and multiple tactics.

The First Read-Through

When you are reading for understanding, know the purpose and the main idea being shared by the author.

  • What precisely is their objective?

Note your first impressions and emotions about the text. This is useful to identify the ethos, pathos, and logos that appeal to emotion later on.

Take the Time to Annotate the Text

Once you have read the manuscript, take a pen or highlighter to do a more detailed pass. Using Ethos, Pathos, and Logos appeals, mark segments where the author uses ethos, pathos, or logos. Quotes should be memorable, talking points should be convincing, and clickbaity or emotional words should be easily seen. Take notes in the margins, commenting briefly on why these aspects are working well or are memorable.

Analyzing the Text

Pay attention when the author establishes credibility (ethos), applies emotion (pathos), or logical arguments (logos) – or all three! Pull out some quotes from these examples and think about how they work to persuade.

Audience and Purpose

Next, consider who it is for.

  • Is it the public, the community of researchers in this field, or some special group?

This helps you see why certain rhetorical strategies were selected for the text.

In addition, you need to identify the author’s purpose as well.

  • Are they informing you?
  • Are they trying to convince?
  • Are they entertaining?
  • Are they daring the audience to act?

When you know what they are trying to do, it can help you evaluate how well it works.

Style and Tone

Last but not least;

  • How does the author’s style, tone, and support complement their message?
  • How formal or informal is the language?
  • Does the voice sound serious, humorous, passionate, and calm?

In this kind of writing, the style and tone can also make a big difference in how the audience receives the message and acts upon it. Once you have a good grasp, you can churn out engaging and compelling analysis.

Writing the Analysis

Hook: Background on the text under analysis – include a thesis statement that clearly articulates the main rhetorical strategies that you will analyze.

Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should focus on one rhetorical strategy at a time.

Case One: Ethos: Start with an opening sentence that discusses the use of ethos in the text. Also, give examples of how the author develops authority. How do those examples help the argument and the effect on the readers, and how might it change the writer´s perception of the author?

Case Two: Pathos: Analyze how the author uses pathos in the text to move the audience. Identify different emotions through what is said in the text and explain how the author uses these emotions to persuade the audience. Assess how well these types of appeals help strengthen the argument.

Case Three: Logos: Identify logos by creating a matrix of logical steps or data presented by the author in the essay. Detail how each of these logical appeals helps to bolster the argument and equip the author to develop their point of view through evidence and reason.

Conclusion: Summarize your analysis into key points. Reiterate the significance of rhetorical strategies in achieving the effectiveness of the text. Reiterate your thesis and end with a reminder of the effect of being able to engage with a text in such a detailed or cautious manner through the practice of rhetorical analysis.

In the case of a well-crafted analysis, you will show your reader how it convinces the audience of the claim made within the thesis using a variety of rhetorical strategies.

Revising and Editing

Proofreading of Content

Check whether your analysis is clear and understandable. Make sure each paragraph leads into the next, filling each with contrast and well-styled writing, and supporting your point.

Reviewing Your Work

The next thing to do is to carefully do a read-through of your piece, checking for grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors. Writing in a clean style increases trust.

Getting Feedback

Lastly, ask for feedback from peers or mentors. They are going to be able to offer valuable perspectives and will inevitably catch some mistakes you had overlooked. Implementing their feedback will benefit your analysis. After revising and editing thoroughly, you will have a rhetorical analysis that is polished and convincing.