How to write a rhetorical analysis essay

 rhetorical analysis essay
How to write a rhetorical analysis essay

What is a rhetorical analysis essay?

It is a type of writing where the writer has his own point of view that he/she has to prove by use of efficacious and convincing methods to motivate, inform or persuade readers. Students who do English AP exams always come across this form of academic writing.

Actually many students across the world find it very difficult to write a good rhetorical analysis essay. What most don’t understand is that you can write this type of essay on any kind of subject. However, it should have the following:-

  • Persuasive reasoning.
  • Convincing argument.
  • Point clarification.
  • Explanation.
  • Summary.

Even though you can hire someone to write all your rhetorical analysis papers or order online from custom writing services, it is very important to know how to write. The reason is that online writers will not be able to sit the exam for you. In this article, I will guide you on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay and let you read a sample written by Speedy writers. However, before we can go into details let first understand rhetorical essay outline.

 Rhetorical analysis essay outline

A basic rhetorical analysis outline should have the following key and important parts.


In order to make a reader get attracted to your paper and read it completely, you have to put more effort in your introduction part. An introduction is the first part the reader will come across and if it is not interesting, no one will continue reading.

In the introduction part of a rhetorical analysis essay, you are supposed to do the following:-

  • Introduce the author and state your purpose. Discuss the background of the author and his/her occupation. Do not forget to include other writings he/she done. 
  • Introduce the essay as a rhetorical analysis paper. Go ahead and describe the subject in the essay.
  • Briefly describe the author’s main claim or claims.
  • Identify rhetorically analysis essay intended audience.
  • State author’s main goal in the essay?

Before going to the first body paragraph state thesis statement. A thesis statement is the final part of a rhetoric analysis essay and consists of three main parts: topic, argument, and reasoning.

A rhetorical thesis statement should serve the following purpose:

  • Orienting the readers and allowing them to have a preview of what is contained in the rhetorical paper.
  • Preventing the writer from going out of the topic.
  • Detailing paper content and key points you require to convince the reader.
  • Provoking a reaction from the readers and cause a discussion to take place.

Body paragraph

Now that you have given the reader point of view it’s now time to do thorough and detailed critical analysis. In the body section, your focus will be informing the reader and focusing on the method’s author uses in entertaining, informing and convincing the readers. For example

  • If the language used by the author is convincing or persuading then state that he/she used a convincing language.
  • In case the language used by the author is sympathetic, make sure you proof using quotes.

Make sure different paragraphs are clear and consistent in structure. They should explain the author’s strategy instead of compiling every author’s strategy in one paragraph.

Answering the following questions can help you in determining the writing strategy used by the author:

  • What is the circumstance depicted by the creator of a unique piece?
  • Who is the essay author or speech speaker?
  • What is the essential objective of the analyzed piece of content, or essay or open discourse depending on the writer’s intentions?
  • Who is the writer’s target gathering of people or the audience? E.g. in terms of gender, locality, age, interests, etc.
  • How does the main content message sound like?
  • Do the general form and content relate?
  • Do the article or discourse thought effectively total the writer’s intent and key objectives.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

You may be wondering what are ethos pathos logos?

These are three modes of persuading and convincing methods used by authors upon their audiences. Ethos means to persuade the reader of the writer’s integrity. Pathos means convincing an audience alluring to their feelings. Logos means persuading an audience by allowing them to reason.

It is very important to keep in mind and analyze how the author utilizes the use of pathos, ethos, and logos to influence the person reading their work.


Like other types of writing, rhetorical analysis essay also need to be concluded. To  conclude a rhetoric essay do the following:

  • Highlight all the argument’s weakness and strengths.
  • Use the weakness and strengths to give the final verdict to the audience.

A good rhetorical analysis essay conclusion should also rewrite the thesis statement by rephrasing it. In case the topic is wide and it needs more research it’s important to end it in a call to action for more research.

How to write a rhetorical essay

Most students find it hard to write a rhetoric essay more than writing a term paper or a research paper. In order to pass English AP paper, you must understand the outline of a rhetoric essay and be able to include logos, ethos, pathos, and other important concepts.

Apart from having a good outline, that is not enough for a perfect rhetoric analysis essay. A good writer should be very professional and have skills for analyzing. Using convincing words, the writer should cover the topic and influence the reader. Below are writing tips that can help you in writing a rhetorical analysis essay.

Step 1: Grab audience attention

Did you know it is possible to grab the attention of your audience from the first line of a rhetoric essay? One and most effective method is the use of a hook. Good hooks for rhetorical analysis are capable of reflecting the author’s topic.

It is important to note that your hook should be similar to the tone used and paper readers. It is up to the author to pick a good hook. Below are examples of good hooks for a rhetoric essay.

Good hooks for rhetorical analysis
good hooks for a rhetoric essay
  1. Literary quote.
  2. Facts or interesting statistics
  3. Anecdote.
  4. Use of contradicting information.
  5. Do facts comparison.
  6. Tell a personal story.
  7. Metaphors.
  8. Include a famous quote.
  9. Use a rhetoric question.

Step 3: Take your position

This is a very crucial part of any rhetoric essay. It is the part where you have to take your position depending on the theme your writing about. Your argument should be very clear by the use of correct words while writing.

For example, using the right methods you can prove to your readers that you are correct when analyzing a poem, speech or novel. I recommend avoidance of personal pronouns when you are writing a thesis statement. Instead, you should present your statement in an unbiased way.

Step 3.Envision the rhetoric analysis

To find solutions to problems that exist, you have to include educational research. This part comes after stating the thesis statement then you can move to actual rhetoric topic analysis. Methods and strategies like ethos, pathos, logos can be included in supporting writer ideas.

Step 4: Writing rhetorical essay conclusion

The conclusion of every essay is very important. Below steps to learn how to conclude a rhetorical analysis essay.

  • Briefly analyze what the essay achieves.
  • Indicate how the rhetoric essay accomplished its goal.
  • State how the work has influenced the readers.

In other words, a rhetoric essay conclusion should reiterate or re-state the thesis statement, focus on the main idea and recommend future research on the same topic.

Examples of rhetorical analysis essay topics

There are different types of rhetorical essay topics. They can be based on speech, commercial prints, advertising, etc. Below are some of the popular topics for rhetoric essays:

  1. “Edgar Allen Poe’s poem ‘Raven.’” Poem analysis.
  2. Analyzing a speech that influenced you most.
  3. Last speech for Martin Luther King’s analysis.
  4. Rhetoric analysis of William Wallace’s speech.
  5. Nobel Prize winner speech analysis.

Rhetorical analysis essay example

Student’s Name

Professor’s Name



A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speech ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’

Delivered on 3rd April 1968 at the Mason Temple, Memphis, Tennessee, ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’, refers to a popular and the last speech by the most famous American civil rights activists named Martin Luther King Jr. martin’s speeches were directed towards ending racial segregation and achieving social justice among all the citizens of the United States irrespective of their racial or religious backgrounds. This speech is the last that Luther delivered to the Memphis fraternity before he was cruelly assassinated the following day. Arguably, the speech is more of a recap that gives directions to the citizens on the way to follow to acquire the long-searched freedom for the ‘Black’ generations in U.S. basing on the artistic use of words, phrases, and various textual structures and linguistic devices, this Luther’s speech becomes persuasive to the audience (both listeners and readers) as it satisfactorily appeals the ethos, logos, and pathos.

Being a renowned spokesperson and an advocate of peace, martin starts his speech with a tender, appreciative, and a rather courteous opening remarks that suddenly brings together the minds and spirits of the audience. He says, “Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy and his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It’s always good to have your closest friend and associate to say something good about you.” (King 1)Such an introduction appeals to the ethos of the audience as it portrays the speaker as a nonviolent person whose aim is to draw a valid attention to the need of people to unite and peacefully articulate their grievances to the various arms of the Government or the general society. Additionally, he appeals to the ethos of the audience by giving credibility to the essence of his speech. As observed, he clearly pinpoints the significance of his speech, in which he seeks to unite the people of Memphis. To begin with, he creates awareness to the audience that something sinister is happening around Memphis, and generally around the world. “Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world.” (King 2).such diction, the orator captures the attention of the audience as they become more interested to know what is really happening.

The speech appeals to the pathos through use of various linguistic features employed by the speaker. Martins uses a variety of stylistic devices that evokes the emotions of the listeners, thereby persuading them to take an action to achieve what he talks about. For example, he uses an analogy to convey the similarities between the mistreatment in Egypt and the one present in the United States. In his speech, he asserts, “You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves.” (King 5).Through the analogy, he directly implies that the same slavery the pharaoh subjected Israelis into is similar to the one the U.S government is using to enslave the people of black decency. The comparison enables the audience the see the sense of unity and overcome the oppressive government in the same way as the Egyptian slaves would do and win over the pharaoh. In other words, martin uses analogy in the speech to persuade and convince the civil rights communities on the significance of staying united to achieve their goals. It is also a challenge that evokes the need for harmony among the civil rights society in the United States.

Through constant use of flashback as a linguistic technique, Luther reminds the audience about his previous successes in fights against racial segregation in Alabama and Birmingham. By referring to his past achievements, king restores the faith of the audience and instills confidence in their capability to stage and subsequently win a peaceful protest as he did before. Moreover, the speech is characterized by use of repetition as rhetoric device that enables Martin to emphasize on the critical aspects of his content. For instances the phrase “somewhere it is written” recurs at least three times in the speech. The phrase is meant to remind people about their fundamental rights. Juxtaposition is yet another rhetoric device used in the speech to persuade the civil rights communities and the general audience on the importance of peaceful demonstrations for the fundamental freedoms of all American people. In his speech, Martin compares United States and other countries such as china and Russia. He puts it clearly that the two nations are different from U.S in the sense that their government is characterized by totalitarianism. He urges the authority to abide by their obligation by putting across the following statement: “Be true to what you said on paper.” If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions” (King 3). The statement is meant to remind the authority, through side-by-side comparison about its constitutional mandate to recognize and safeguard the rights of the people because U.S is a democratic country, unlike Russian and Chinese regimes which were dictatorial.

Lastly, the speech uses allusion, a linguistic style that enables Martin to make indirect references to the constitution of the United States. Such Constitutional allusion does not only appeal to ethos, but also to pathos of the audience as it gives relevant statistics and evidence for the need of the American society to enjoy equal freedom. At the near end of the speech, Martin says, “Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for the right” (King 6). The allusion further adds the antanaclasis that embellishes the rhythmic style of the speech. The multiple implicit references the speech makes to the constitution of the U.S serve as an effective rhetoric device that appeals to logos by persistently reminding the audience about the Bill of Rights, subsequently sensitizing them on the need to protest for emancipation from racial discrimination. By brilliantly alluding to most crucial document in the country’s history, Martin Luther provides factual justification about the nonviolence protests he is about to stage, and successfully persuades other civil rights activists to join him.


Works Cited

Martin, Luther, King, Jr. ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’. 1968. 1-7

Link to Word document

A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speech

Rhetorical analysis essay example pdf  

Here is the link for Rhetorical analysis essay example pdf  format

Rhetorical analysis essay example pdf   A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speech

Frequently asked questions

How long should a rhetorical analysis essay be

All forms of academic writing essays have three main parts i.e. introduction, body, and conclusion. A rhetorical analysis essay has an introduction with a good hook. Then the body section can include all rhetorical methods like logos, pathos, and ethos. The conclusion should be a separate paragraph reinstating the thesis statement.

How to cite in a rhetorical analysis

In order to cite a rhetorical analysis essay properly you have to understand basic MLA citing rules. These are

  1. All titles and subtitles need to be italicized.
  2. Add double space work on the citing page.
  3. The first, last and all main words in titles need to be capitalized.
  4. Use titles for books and articles that do not have the author.
  5. Include a date for all online citation sources.

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