A rhetorical analysis essay is an important piece of academic writing which helps the students to learn multiple skills. Learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay can assist students in developing their critical thinking and academic writing skills, which can help them in various ways in their professional career.
In this article, we will explore the following:
Let’s get started!
What is a Rhetorical Analysis?
Before you begin learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, it is important that you fully understand what a rhetorical analysis is. The phrase rhetorical analysis is comprised of two words: rhetoric and analysis, which means, an in-depth analysis of a rhetoric piece of literature.
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What is Rhetoric?
Any piece of literature, be it writing, speech, or visual representation, can be categorised to rhetoric in nature when they address any social issue or a problem which is widely known. In a rhetoric piece of writing, the author presents the contents or story in a way, that it conveys an underlying message to the readers.
A rhetoric piece of writing is aimed at appealing to the readers, through different means in order to have a better impact. The three rhetoric means of appeal, also known as Aristotle’s Triads are known as:
Ethos: It refers to making an ethical appeal to the audience. It conveys the thoughts and opinions, to the audience along with their credibility to write, or their background.
Pathos: It refers to making an appeal to the author’s emotions and conveying their ideas and thoughts, with the aim of evoking certain emotions among the audience.
Logos: It refers to using logical reasoning as an appeal to convey or persuade the audience. It involves using facts and evidence to support one’s claims.
The author is not bound in any way to use these three modes of appeal and may combine all three or go beyond their scope, in order to make their rhetoric piece of writing more effective.
The use of rhetoric can be found, in fiction as well as non-fictional forms of writing, whereas speeches and other art forms such as stage drama, opera, and even a painting can many times be a great way to convey a rhetoric message to the reader.
In order to learn how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, you must first grow your knowledge of a different rhetoric piece of literature, so that you can use their key aspects in your essay. It will greatly impact your paper and set you on the right path to achieve the best grades in class.
Key components of a rhetorical analysis essay
One of the most important things to do while learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay is to understand its key components. Just like any other regular essay, a rhetorical analysis essay is also divided into three sections the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion.
However, the way in which the information is presented in these sections, is what sets a rhetorical analysis essay apart from other forms of essays. Let us have a look at the importance of each of these key components of a rhetorical analysis essay.
The introduction is the opening paragraph of a rhetorical analysis essay. It lays the groundwork and presents the information related to the rhetoric piece of literature which has been reviewed in the essay. A poorly written introduction can upset the mood of the reader for the whole essay, no matter how brilliant the following sections are. Therefore it is important to give proper thought and consideration to this section when learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay.
You can start with a statement, which brings the main social issue in light and reminds the reader about it. Then you can continue to describe the piece of literature which has been reviewed in the essay, followed by a good thesis statement, which accurately tells the reader, what to expect from the following essay.
In this section of your essay, you dig deep and break down your main piece of analysis to its bare form and analyse its every component. It is not necessary to present to a rhetorical analysis of the whole piece, in your essay, unless asked specifically by your professor.
In the body section, you can use multiple paragraphs, to address different parts of your piece of review, be it a speech, a book, article or some artwork or event. While reviewing a speech, or any written article, you should analyse the text, and find out what the speaker or author has tried to convey and explore how they have done so, along with its impact on the readers. Whereas, in order to do the same in case of artwork or event, you must first, give a detailed description of it, highlighting the components of the highest importance.
Present your arguments and claims clearly following a ‘flow’ such that it is easy for the reader to follow. Support your arguments and claims, with the help of facts, evidence and examples of other literature. It will give credibility to your essay, as it makes it seem more thorough and well researched. You should also cite and reference the sources wherever you have used them in your essay to avoid plagiarism.
After writing a careful analysis of different parts of the piece of literature you have chosen for your essay, you must now move on to providing a final conclusion to the essay. It is important to keep in mind while learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, is that the conclusion of a rhetorical analysis essay is not an independent paragraph, as the introduction of certain body paragraphs. Instead, the conclusion is the final link which connects all of the points and ideas mentioned in the essay. Therefore in order to write a great essay, the author must have a rough idea of what they are going to write in conclusion, and build up to it with the help of the body paragraphs, by offering little bits and pieces of information which all links to together to support the main thesis of the essay.
Once you have written all your body paragraphs carefully, you can now move onto bringing it all together. But first, you must readdress the thesis statement to remind the readers what you set out to explore in your rhetorical essay and then move to summarise the key ideas presented in the text. You must always remember not to include any new piece of information in the conclusion which has not been addressed in the body section; it can have a negative effect on your skills as a writer.
How to write a rhetorical analysis essay?
Now that you have understood what rhetoric is, and the key components of a rhetorical analysis essay, let us now get to understanding how to write a rhetorical analysis essay. The task of writing a rhetorical analysis essay may seem intimidating in the beginning, especially if you have never done it before. However, once you understand the various steps involved in the process, the task of writing your rhetorical analysis essay can be a lot of fun, and that is where learning begins.
Below are the various steps involved in writing a rhetorical analysis essay:
Step 1: Selecting the article and finding the purpose
The first step involved in learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay is to find a suitable piece of literature and identifying the main aim of your essay. In most cases, teachers assign the topic to the students for their essay, and you only need to identify its aim. However, in many cases, students also have the freedom to select their own topic. In such cases, you must pick an article which you find interesting and are familiar with its context. It will save you a lot of time during research.
After you have your main article of review for the essay, you must read it carefully, and identify some key topic from it which you can explore in your essay, with the help of arguments and claims. Make a strong thesis statement which clearly represents the main aim and scope of the essay.
Step 2: Background research
Once you have your main article and thesis statement, it is now time to dig deeper and find out information which can help you write your essay. It is the stage where you should work on your arguments and claims. No need to be thorough, even if you have a basic idea in your head about what you are going to write about, you should note it down and start researching into it.
During the research, you should look for sources which can help you in presenting your claims more effectively and save them so that you can reference them in your essay.
Step 3: Preparing to write
Once you have all the preliminary research material and sources, you can now move on to forming the basic skeleton of your essay. It is always beneficial while learning how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, to have a basic outline of the text. An outline lets you ponder over the different elements of the essay and arranges them in a suitable flow.
Starting from the introduction and working your way down, to the body paragraphs and conclusion, you should have a clear outline of what you are going to write down in each section, along with the arguments and their supporting evidence.
Step 4: Writing the essay
If you have created a well-made outline, the process of writing the essay will become much simpler for you. Follow the outline and start writing your essay. Present all the information, as best as you can. Don’t try to write your final essay in one go; instead, write the first draft and then refine it later in the editing stages. Don’t forget to cite the sources properly and ensure that each paragraph complements the thesis statement. Once you have written the whole essay, you are now ready to move on to the editing.
Step 5: Proofreading and editing
It is important that you keep the writing and editing stages separate. Once you have given your essay the main contents, you should now read the whole essay several times and highlight the place, which needs improvement, you can then go back and fill the gaps by making changes. The process will save you time and energy while writing the essay.
Once all is done, all you need to do is proofread the essay to get rid of any minor mistakes and errors and submit it!
You have now learnt how to write a rhetorical analysis essay! We hope this article helped you in understanding what a rhetorical essay is and how you can write it!
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