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Have you been asked to submit a rhetorical analysis paper as part of your coursework? Don’t know how to proceed? Read on for some useful writing tips.

Write a Scintillating Rhetorical Analysis — Here’s How

In your life as a student, you will be asked to submit different types of papers, with varying requirements and formats. One of these is the rhetorical analysis essay, in which you will be required to analyze how a writer or a speaker uses words to influence an audience. This type of writing breaks down the work of non-fiction into parts, before examining how each component work together towards a common end. You should explore the goals of the rhetorician, as well as the tools or techniques used and how effective they are. In this article, we examine how to complete this type of project.

What Is a Rhetorical Analysis Paper?

If you have been tasked with writing a rhetorical essay, you should remember that the goal is not to say whether you agree or disagree with the argument. Rather, your focus ought to be on how the rhetorician makes his or her argument, and whether the approach employed is effective or not.

To understand what a rhetorical analysis is, we need to start by looking at what it is not. This type of assignment is not a summary of a scholarly article or literary work. You may have successfully analyzed the plot of a novel before, but trying to summarize a work is not the goal of this specific project. Instead, look at the rhetorical analysis as a project asking you to apply your critical reading skills to dissect a text, before you can understand the whole. You will be expected to understand how the author writes, instead of looking at what has been written. To do this, the focus of your project should be on the strategies used by the author to attain his or her goals. Remember, different writers in differing disciplines use varying styles, so it is perfectly normal to analyze a scientific article differently from how you would approach a humanities author. Since the authors have different goals in mind, they will likely employ different approaches.

Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Paper | Useful Tips

Now that we have examined the definition of rhetorical analysis papers, we can look into how to approach the task. The first step, which is arguably the most important, is reading the literary work to be analyzed. Make sure to reread until you have properly understood. As you go through the text, try to identify the thesis or the main idea of the author. You can then start analyzing the rhetorical features of the material.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the author’s thesis statement?
  • What subject did the author choose and why?
  • What is the purpose of the text?
  • Who does the text target?
  • How are the ideas organized?
  • How is diction used?

The key to answering these questions is going back to the text, taking careful notes as you read. You can then create your thesis and outline and begin the writing process. Remember to edit and proofread your work for grammar, coherence, typos, and spelling mistakes.