How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

You already feel the goosebumps. And your excitement is not the reason for that. You are frustrated about the upcoming assignment - a rhetorical analysis essay.

It sounds heavy, doesn’t it? Tons of work is waiting for the moment when you will grab yourself together and will finally take on this daunting task. You take the complicated nature of this work for granted and procrastinate with its performance.

You’ve already started looking through the articles to write a rhetorical analysis on different websites, but none of them helped. The authors either deliver the information in a too complicated fashion or do not add any clarity at all.

That’s the reason we are here for you. We’ll break down the information into digestible and easy-to-understand pieces so you could grasp what you are supposed to do when proceeding with this task without breaking a sweat. 

What Is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay in Simple Words?

The understanding of a huge thing starts with grasping the core ideas. So, let's start with the most fundamental one: identifying what it stands for.

Let us run ahead of ourselves and dispel the myth that this essay should dwell on your attitude to the author and what they say. If you write a paper in this framework, you’ll definitely fail.

A good rhetorical analysis essay dives into the decomposition of the objective and structure of the text, and techniques the writer uses to influence the audience. 

Factors to Consider Before You Get Ahead

As you see, things are not that puzzling. And we bet that your understanding of this paper will be clearer if you stick with us for several more minutes.

Before you get tips for rhetorical analysis writing, let’s clarify what to look for in the original text to compile a truly thorough review:

  • author - Who is the person who delivers the message? What is their background? What is their position in the field?
  • setting - What are the timeframes of text? What was the historical environment (social, political, demographic climate) of that period?
  • topic - What is the idea of the text? Are there any additional messages? In what way does the author present the topic?
  • purpose - What is the intention of the author? What objective do they want to reach - entertain, inform, motivate, put to shame, etc.?
  • audience - Who are the readers of the text? What’s their occupation, status, age, nationality, etc.? Does the text address the needs of the audience?
  • tone - What’s the style of the writer? How does the author sound? What emotions does the tone awaken?
  • structure - In what way does the author break down the text? What do they dwell on in the introduction, body, and at the end of the story?
  • devices & techniques - How does the author attract attention? What devices do they use? What impression do they make on the readers?

If you are uncertain what else you should talk about in your paper, you are always free to check a rhetorical analysis example to have a better idea.

Appeals as a Critical Element of Analysis 

The rhetorical analysis essay format gets clearer and clearer, and we are happy that our effort to explain complicated things in a simple language is not wasted. However, this section might challenge you to a certain degree because we’ll be talking about the rhetorical notions that are essential for flawless analysis.

A long time ago, Aristotle announced that there are three basic elements that are responsible for the persuasiveness of speech or text: pathos, logos, ethos. A modern analysis of a written piece is impossible without considering these elements, so let’s dig deeper and understand what they represent.


If you can explicitly define the emotions you have after reading the abstract, then the author has successfully implemented a pathetic appeal. 

In other words, pathos is responsible for emotions the audience has after getting connected with the author. A virtuous writer can set the audience in the right mood, awaken sympathy, anger, shame, happiness, sadness, and a wide range of emotions.

If you look through a bright example of rhetorical analysis, you’ll see that pathos is given a lot of attention during the analysis.


Logos is responsible for the logical side of the text and for convincing the audience through facts and solid data.

When considering logos during the rhetorical analysis, it’s worth noticing that you should lend your ear to the evidence the author provides and whether it sounds convincing enough in terms of logic and science.


Has the author established authority in the field by following the principles they preach? It would be strange to be listening to the presentation of a priest on cybersecurity, don’t you think so? But when Mark Zuckerberg gives a speech on the instruments they use to protect your data on Facebook and Instagram, you will have more trust in him rather than in a person who is absolutely out of the tech world.

How to Do a Rhetorical Analysis Essay - Let's Get Prepared First

You should have gotten a basic understanding of what this essay is about by now, so let’s go further and learn how to write a rhetorical analysis.

Every paper starts with the preparation process, which also has certain stages. We won’t be making you wait any longer, so let’s just jump into the steps of the prewriting process.

Target the Text

Are you allowed to select the text by yourself? That’s awesome because this will help you cope with the task better. Even though you might be limited by a certain author, period, or text style, you still have a chance to pick the one that resonates with you. It might look like a trifle to you, but selecting the written speech that you truly enjoy will raise the level of satisfaction you’ll get from the writing process.

As you start the search, make sure you follow the requirements of your teacher. Your interest in the subject is critical, but if your task doesn’t meet the criteria, you risk failing the assignment.

Make Inquiries into the Subject

So, when you’ve selected the text, it’s time to equip yourself with some background knowledge. Please look for the information about:

  • author;
  • period;
  • style;
  • historical background; 
  • reviews of scholars.

This data will assist you during the essay creation process. This is the foundation that gives you the context of the text, why it was written, and why in this certain style.

Structure Your Findings

Before you get down to writing a rhetorical analysis essay outline, we insist on organizing the information you gathered during the research. Some pieces of data will turn out to be irrelevant, while others will become powerful arguments for your essay.

You can make a chart with the facts and then mark the most prominent ones. If you would like to get a more advanced and structured visualization, use a mindmap. Break down the information into branches with as many nodes as you think are relevant for your upcoming paper.

Develop the Core Thesis

Your written piece should have the central idea that will define what points you will be covering in your paper. You should decide if the author succeeded or failed in delivering the message and what effect the text made on the audience.

The thesis is usually one sentence long and is added to the introduction of the essay. Then, it is paraphrased in the final section. So, it would be nice to know what your idea is before you start outlining your paper.

Read the Text Once Again (or Even Not Once)

Look through the text you selected and use a marker to highlight the parts that prove your statement. Read thoughtfully and attentively. Consider whether the author successfully implements all the appeals and whether it meets the goal.

Now You Are Ready to Create an Outline for Rhetorical Analysis

The final step of the preparation process is compiling an outline. It will help you get a glimpse of what your essay will look like and see beforehand if it sounds persuasive enough. 

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay outline? It won’t be attached to your paper, so you can use any college outline format. This is a significant aid for you and will help you craft a well-structured paper.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Paper Step By Step

The best strategy for crafting a winning essay is to stick to the classic paper structure, which includes the intro, middle, and wrapping parts. 

How to Start a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

The opening part should be brisk yet informative. The essay should be opened with the announcement of the text and author. Then, give a quick summary to make sure the teacher knows what the text is about, even when they are unfamiliar with it.

If you believe it makes sense to give background knowledge like some essay-related facts from the author’s biography, the period they lived in, the style or genre of the text, or some other facts that are critical for understanding the analyzed written piece, then you should definitely add it to this section.

Finally, define the purpose of your paper and introduce your thesis.

How to Build the Body of the Essay

Here comes the most complicated and intricate part - the body of the essay. You should justify your thesis with relevant arguments and examples from the analyzed work.

Each paragraph should have an opening sentence, which slowly guides the reader into the argument. Then you can devote several sentences to digging into the argument much deeper. Wrap up the passage with the example from the text.

You can build the body of your essay in different ways, depending on the aspect you are decomposing. But it would be smart of you to dedicate one paragraph to one idea only.

How to Round Off the Paper

You can sigh with relief because the most challenging part of the essay is over. Now, you’ve got to tie everything together and show how your core idea has been elaborated through your paper.

This section can also be the place for showing how the analyzed work impacted society and why it was worth your analytical effort.

Finally! Polish Your Paper Till It Shines with Superiority

It’s never enough to put your ideas on a screen piece of paper and wrap the whole process at this stage. When you are done with writing, it’s time to turn the editorial skills on and devote some more time to your essay.

We do not recommend you to check the essay right away when you are done with writing. It’s better to take a break. Enjoy a cup of tea, go for a walk, talk to your friend, or do anything that would make you switch the activity. Come back to your paper in an hour or, if you have enough time ahead, in a day.

Read it several times to spot any spelling, grammar, or logical errors. Use apps that would help you enhance the accuracy and will ensure the flawless grammar, lexical, and spelling aspects of your work.

If you didn’t set the formatting settings at the beginning, invest some time in creating the appealing layout of your essay. Ask your professor how to title a rhetorical analysis, what font to use, or what spacing is preferable. Do not forget to check the citation formatting style to make sure all your quotes are used properly.

Do Not Believe You Can Tackle This Task by Yourself?

Sometimes we hesitate about our skills and do not have faith in ourselves. Or there might be a situation when you are forced to think that way because you do not have time for completing this formidable assignment. You are about to feel desperate, but a great idea crosses your mind.

In this case, you want someone to take care of your essay and do the job for you. Let us take away the academic headache and provide you with an excellent assignment writing service. We’ve been on the market for essay writing services for a decade and will take on your order with utmost responsibility. You will get a unique paper packed with analytical information just on time and at a reasonable price.