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Practical Instructions For Composing A Rhetorical Analysis Essay

The first thing that you need to understand when composing a rhetorical analysis essay is exactly what one is! I am sure that your lecturer has already been through this with you a squillion times or more, but in case you just happened to be snoozing at the back of class, here is my definition for you:

What is it?

This essentially involves the close reading of a text to determine the relationship between the said text, the author and its audience and then turning it all into a paper.

Now that we have cleared that up, here is my step to step guide to composing your masterpiece. Identify the following:

  • Speaker
  • Audience
  • Occasion
  • Tone
  • Subject

It is crucial that you do this BEFORE doing anything else, as this will help shape and mould the rest of it for you.

Next you have to explore:

  • Ethos
  • Logos
  • Pathos

Yes, no-one said that writing this particular type of document was going to be easy! However, once you have written a few you should find it relatively easy moving forward. The key here is ensuring that you have enough time to write it. While you can maybe easily work your way through a descriptive piece in just a matter of hours. A rhetorical analysis essay; even a fairly brief one is going to take several days minimum to complete.

Once you have wrapped your head around the Ethos, logos an pathos you then need to undertake a forensic examination of the style. By this I mean:

  • Diction
  • Syntax
  • Imagery
  • Tone

You are going to want to look at things such as:

  • Analogies made in the text
  • If a certain theme or idea is repeated
  • Language used and choice of words

You are then going to need to wrap this all up in an piece that contains all of the hallmarks of a classic document. In order to do this you will need:

  • A strong introduction
  • An incredibly tight conclusion that pulls together and marries all of the separate strands.
  • The patience of a Saint!

Writing a rhetorical essay is by far one of the most difficult assignments that you will ever be tasked with. I will admit that I would rather walk over burning hot coals than write one. However, getting not just to the end of it but also a perfect grade is immensely satisfying!

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