Argumentative essay Topic: rhetorical analysis

Essay #1 A Rhetorical Analysis


1200 words

Computer printed, 12pt. Times New Roman Font, 1 Inch Margins, Double Spaced, Staple Pages Together


Title your essay. Create your title after you have finished writing your paper. Crystalize your main point.


The Rhetorical Analysis explores a writer’s goals, the techniques (or tools) used, examples of those techniques, and the effectiveness of those techniques. When writing a rhetorical analysis, you are NOT saying whether or not you agree with the writer’s argument. Instead, you are discussing how the rhetorician makes that argument and whether or not the approach used is successful.


In your essay, consider the 3 Types of Evidence: Factual, Expert Testimony, Statistics. Were these used well?


Consider Aristotle’s three Artistic Proofs (also called “appeals”): Pathos, Ethos, Logos.


First Step

Build your analysis by prewriting.

In writing an effective rhetorical analysis, you should discuss the goal or purpose of the piece; the appeals, evidence, and techniques used and why; examples of those appeals, evidence, and techniques; and your explanation of why they did or did not work. A good place to start is to answer each of these considerations in a sentence or two on a scratch piece of paper. Do not worry about how it sounds—just answer the questions.


Thesis, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

After brainstorming and doing the actual analysis, you are ready to write a thesis. Remember to choose the three (or four) techniques for which you can make the strongest case. Rhetoricians employ many techniques; focus on the ones that are the most prevalent or interesting and that you can describe persuasively.

Finally, write your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

An introduction should lead cleanly into your argument. If your argument involves an author’s stance on the death penalty, you might begin by giving factual data and/or the history of the death penalty. Remember that your argument begins with the first words of your paper. Your introduction should provide background that will make the reader see your argument’s relevance.


Each body paragraph should have its own topic sentence. Make sure every idea or sentence in a paragraph relates to its topic sentence; you do not want to jump between topics. It gives your paper a sense of cohesion to place your body paragraphs in the same order in which they are presented in your introduction. Consider how you will organize the paragraphs. Will you discuss each technique—every instance of ethos, then every instance of pathos, and finally every instance of logos—then end with a discussion of the overall effectiveness? Or will you review the essay in terms of the least effective technique to the most effective? Or will you use a chronological order, discussing each technique as it occurs sequentially?


For each paragraph, give several examples and explain how those examples illustrate the technique being discussed. At the end of each body paragraph, make sure you connect your topic sentence back to your thesis. This creates cohesion, solidifies your argument, and provides a transition to your next topic.

Your conclusion should briefly restate your main argument. It should then apply your argument on a higher level. Why does your argument matter? What does it mean in the real world?


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