Tips to Write an Excellent Rhetorical Analysis Essay



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Tips to Write an Excellent Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay is not a child’s play. It is a tougher project as compared with other types of writing. You need to come up with reasoning ideas and persuasive skills to get insight into how to write a rhetorical analysis essay. Not only this, you have to develop a more in-depth approach to the meaning, theories, and topics of rhetorical analysis to appear excellent in your next academic assignment.

A Comprehensive Definition of Rhetorical Analysis

A rhetorical analysis consists of an argument that challenges the viewpoint expressed in a written piece of work followed by analysis and evaluation. You can select a piece of fiction or nonfiction literature and fragment it into various segments. Then, you go on arguing how these segments collectively affect an audience as an essay. For example, whether the text informs about something, convinces the audience about something, or entertains them.

It is a type of feedback by a writer on the work/works of another writer. The rhetoric analyst reads between the lines, using rhetoric concepts, and persuading the target audience. He also critically views the original writer’s writing strategies and potential message in the text. Finally, a rhetorical analysis is a product of a response to another writing in a clear, comprehensive, and coherent essay.

Primary Ideas Attached to Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Situation

If a writer needs to hit the nail on the head in persuasive writing, he or she needs to have a grip on understanding rhetorical situations. It is not a particular set of elements working well with all types of topics. But, there are a few elements, given below, you have to use to improve credibility whatever topic you choose:


Audience means a person or a group of persons intended by the author to influence through text. Every text is written for a particular target audience, although some text can intend a global audience.

Before you begin your writing paper process in rhetorical analysis, you need to ponder its intended audience. You can evaluate the audience of a communication/text by following the guidelines given below:

  • Consider whom the selected author is communicating with to deliver a particular message. You can assume this by knowing where a specific book, article, or journal is published or delivered. The readers of the book or other texts are the target audience.
  • Understand the values and background of the intended audience by the author. For example, if an article writer belongs to the black race, and the communication receipt is also black people in the US. You can quickly assess the concepts of gender bias, racial prejudice, and social injustice as the audience’s background and interest.
  • Evaluate the audience demographic details. For example, if you are rhetorically analyzing good persuasive speech topics by a particular speaker, investigate the demography. Get information, whether it was a group of young students listening to the speech or a women conference. It might be a set of listeners from nursing homes.
  • Also, come to know how open the targeted audience is to the writer.


As the audience, the author or speaker can also be more than one person. Sometimes, it might be a whole association performing as an author or speaker. It is the rhetorical situation element communicating ideas to influence the opinion and mindset of a particular audience. For a brilliant rhetorical analysis essay writing in university, you need to assess the author following the tips given below:

  • Get to know the background of the author and his right to communicate a specific communication.
  • Take an insight into the interests, values, intentions, and experience in writing on a similar subject.
  • Also, come to know why the author took pain to select the underlined topic for sharing ideas or thoughts.

Purpose of the Author/Speaker:

The author's purpose is an amalgam of the other two elements of the rhetorical situation defined above. Mainly, an author or a group or author's purpose is either to entertain, inform, influence, motivate, or declare something.

The purpose of the author generally belongs to his motivations behind the communication. And, you can reach his mind for the college essay through the set of tricks given below:

  • What the author is trying to achieve through this communication.
  • What kind of response the author wants to develop in the audience.
  • What motivation has compelled the author to take a stand in the form of the text or speech?
  • What mood and tone of communication you notice.


A medium is a path that conveys the text, speech, or message from the author to the audience. There are different mediums of communication in the current age, such as:

  • Paper;
  • MS Office Documents;
  • Google Docs;
  • Social Media;
  • Books;
  • Television;
  • Radio;
  • Journals;
  • Websites.

An author deliberately selects the medium to deliver his speech or other literature types, as the medium affects the message. It would help if you analyzed the medium for a persuasive essay outline and explanation in rhetorical analysis. Below are given the tips to evaluate why an author chooses a medium.

  • The author is considerate about what is affordable for him or her. As different mediums have different costs to publish or convey a message, every author selects what suits their budget.
  • Secondly, the author picks up a medium to cover the intended audience. For example, if an author’s intended audience is global, social media's choice suits the best for its omnipotence.
  • Thirdly, the author decides upon a medium depending on how they can impact the audience's response. For example, if Donald Trump is speaking on TV, the audience develops a response by listening to his words and watching his body language.
  • Lastly, the choice of the medium also depends upon accessibility. For example, television is not approachable by everyone. Similarly, a new, potential author may not prove himself eligible for an article in a well-known journal. On the other hand, an expert journal writer transfers his ideas through with confidence of publishing permission.


Context means how controversies are attached to a communication based on time, place, and audience. A single communication is receivable in various contexts depending on time, place, and audience’s response. For example, the speeches of Donald Trump receive applauds and appreciation from the audience of the US. But, the audience in other parts of the world may respond differently to these speeches.

Similarly, the famous Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln was received as a motivational speech to overcome the pains of the Civil War for the people who were listening to this. For today’s audience, it is a set of motivational words in a time of uncontrollable, violent crisis. To understand the context more closely, you must understand the claim, support, and warrant separately.


A claim is a central subject, view, thesis statement, or outlook that an author wants to put into the audience's heads. Mostly, it is a controversial claim surrounding several other opinions that the author wants to influence. It describes the main point of communication and persuades the audience to something.


Support means how an author selects to back up his or her claim. For this, the author may choose from;

  • Factual details;
  • Quotations from history or other texts;
  • Evidence from real-life experiences;
  • Examples of personal life;
  • Summarize other writer’s communications;
  • Rephrasing of other ideas’ relevant to the subject;
  • Emotional appeals;
  • Experts’ observations and opinions;
  • Diagrams, graphs, or charts;

It is the part of communication that determines the degree of influence by credibility and comprehensiveness. The writer also adds support answers in the body paragraphs after the introduction and before the conclusion.


The link between the other two components given above is called a warrant. It is the postulation, which affects the conceivability of the claim. Besides, warrants can be defined as philosophies, ideals, interpretations, and experiences, which the author postulates they share with the audience. If there is no connection of warrant between the author's mindset and the audience, the argument may lose plausibility.

For example; in a journal article about diseases through dog bite to a global audience, a writer shares awareness with everybody. If it has been a matter of the author’s street or town, discussing it in a journal with others would not influence them. Because the audience shares no perspective of a disease like this in that case. Hence, warrant means sharing assumptions between the source of an idea and receipt of the idea.

Rhetorical Triangle By Aristotle - Why You Should Use Them

The rhetorical triangle refers to three Greek terms invented by Aristotle to determine the persuasive quality of communication. These terms are ethos, pathos, and logos, which commonly refer to the appeal of a text or message by an author. If you are looking for how to structure an essay for rhetorical analysis, you must include this triangle. Before you use them in the essay outline, get accustomed to their concepts.


Ethos means ethics, referring to the author’s or speaker’s credibility, authority, or moral character. It means whether you can credit the author’s text. Through ethos, a writer wants to produce an environment of trust for audience feedback. Particularly, when there is a strong disagreement between communication and its readers, the writer becomes more ethos-conscious to improve authenticity.

It also lets the audience feel that a writer does not doubt their morality. Communication approves their ethics while attempting to persuade on some point or change their attitude. To influence the audience's opinion through ethos, a writer can also add source information. Besides, many other things contribute to the appeal calling ethos in written literature, such as:

  • Graphic design;
  • Addition of white space;
  • Font style;
  • Narration style;
  • Layout;
  • Mood;
  • Tone;
  • Length of the document;
  • Choice of words in the title.

Similarly, when writing a rhetorical analysis essay about something non-written, you can analyze the author's body language, tone, and style.


Pathos is an appeal to emotion in simple words. It means persuading an audience by stimulating emotional responses in them toward the communication. The author can achieve this purpose by giving the text, speech, story, or communication a personal touch. When there is an emotional appeal in a text, the audience begins to “feel the feeling”. Consequently, they respond more sensitively and emotionally than intellectually or personally. For example, advertisement companies use pathos to stimulate action by playing with emotions. They make people feel proud, sorry, dissatisfied, restless, or wishful about the relevant subject.

Various perfume companies advertise a glamorous girl captivating the opposite gender through the fragrance she wears. The audience is emotionally directed to buy that perfume. This way, the audience gets persuaded by pathos and changes opinion, belief, and choices. Besides the advertisement industry, pathos covers almost all literature fields, including news media, which is considered the most fact-based industry. For a well-written rhetorical analysis essay, you need to spot pathos in the selected text or communication. For this purpose, you can critically analyze the places where the author has attempted to sway the intended audience emotionally.


Logos is another one of the potential persuasion techniques introduced by Aristotle. While ethos becomes the root of an argument, logos is responsible for stretching it. On a creditable text, logos maintain connections of different points by appealing to logic.

Through logos, a writer leaves an audience to figure out communication through a general intellect. They feel satisfied by seeing the writer's same conclusion as their own based on the given argument. You can understand logos through this example:

“Dogs are faithful. German Shepherd is a dog. So, German Shepherd is also faithful.”

The example carries a logical flow between the lines, persuading the audience to believe in a rationally satisfactory fact. For your rhetorical stance on writing or communication, you need to discover logos that appeal to your reason.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Fiction and Non-fiction Topics

After learning the steps and process of rhetorical analysis essay writing, your academic task still needs another direction topics. Having learned about how to write an essay taking a rhetorical stance, you need a topic to begin the task. To help you out with this difficulty, below are given some of the best rhetorical analysis essay topics.

Easiest Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Analyze “Persuasion” by Jane Austen.
  • Take a stance to analyze “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.
  • Take a position to analyze the theme of universality in “All the World’s A Stage” by William Shakespeare.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” by Peter Jackson.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics for High School Level

  • Rhetorically analyze “A Murder is Announced” by Agatha Christie.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The Legend of Good Women” by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Take a stance on the elements of racism in “Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Rhetorically analyze “Moses, Man of the Mountain.” by Zora Neale Hurston.
  • Take a Position to prove the idea of feminism in “Hedda Gabler” By Henrik Ibsen.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics for College Level

  • Rhetorically analyze “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles as the best tragedy in the world.
  • Analyze “A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen as a story of feminism.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The House of Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Rhetorically analyze “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech.
  • Analyze “All Summer in A Day” by Ray Bradbury as a nonlinear story of high influence.
  • Analyze “A Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare as a tragi-comedy.

Non-Fictional Topics for Rhetorical Analysis Essay

  • Rhetorically analyze “Elastic Habits” by Stephen Guise.
  • Rhetorically analyze “On the Space-Theory of Matter” by Riemann.
  • Analyze “Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln as the most motivational speech of history.
  • Rhetorically analyze “Religious Affection” by Jonathan Edwards.
  • Rhetorically analyze “The Third Chimpanzee” by Jared Diamond.
  • Rhetorically analyze “Treatment utilization by patients with personality disorders” by Thomas H. Bender.
Originally published May 15, 2017, updated Jan 18, 2021

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