How to write a rhetorical analysis

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Writing a rhetorical analysis is a side of writing training that often poses difficulties in its preparation. When you are faced with this type of academic work, you must first and foremost understand the purpose of the assignment itself. According to Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Laboratory), what is expected of a rhetorical analysis eassy is that the writer is capable of competently arguing what is the message that the author is trying to convey to the public and the way it has been delivered. chosen to do it.

Determine which rhetorical object you want to use for your analysis. According to Sonja Foss, a leading scholar of rhetorical criticism, the object could be a speech, a photograph, a building, a work of visual art, a song, or a poem. Choose the one you consider appropriate; It will be as important as the emotions it arouses in you. On the other hand, this will help you determine the message that the author intended to portray through the rhetorical object.

Analyze your rhetorical object. Research the history and context of your piece. Once you understand when and why it came into existence, it will be much easier for you to make an argument about the message the author was trying to convey through his work.

Decide what argument or research question you want to ask with your rhetorical analysis. To determine the subject of your argument, you will have to identify exactly the message that the author is trying to convey to the audience. Once you have determined the research question you want to answer through your rhetorical analysis, you will have the necessary basis to argue it.

Investigate the communication theories that the author has used to express the message behind his object. Then, apply the rules of that communication theory to the research question that you will use in the theoretical analysis. Consider the following example: During his famous inaugural address, how did John F. Kennedy use Kenneth Burke’s dramatic pentad to convey his overall message about the need for change in America?

It confronts the message with the theory of communication and determines if its author complied with the norms of said theory. With this information, form the reliable evidence to answer your research question and support the argumentation of your rhetorical analysis. As an example of how to establish hard evidence, here is a continuation of the previous John F. Kennedy example: After the confrontation of Kennedy’s inaugural address with Burke’s pentad, it can be determined that Kennedy used the “agent” element of the pentad to introduce himself through his speech as the new leader of the United States.

Write your rhetorical analysis using the data you have collected about your rhetorical object. Be sure to make a full argument that provides an appropriate amount of supporting evidence. Follow the paper’s guidelines regarding style, format, and the number of references required.

Review your rhetorical analysis to make sure everything is correct before turning in your paper. Use the required style, APA or MLA, to format both the references included in the text and the bibliography. For style issues, consult the appropriate manual.


If you find it difficult to choose a rhetorical object, think about your own interests. For example, if you like history, you could analyze a famous speech. If you like music, you may prefer to do the job with one of your favorite songs.

Familiarize yourself with the communication theory or theories you are using for your rhetorical analysis. The more comfortable you are with it, the easier it will be for you to use it to answer your research question and defend your argument.

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