General Question

Wine's avatar

How to write a rhetorical analysis essay?

Asked by Wine (636points) September 16th, 2012

I don’t understand how to effectively organize my body. My Professor stated that our essays should be written in the same order as the article that we’re analyzing. However, I feel as if it would be difficult if not impossible to organize it while including appeals (ethos, logos, pathos) and the style he uses(diction, syntax, details, imagery, tone, etc.) For example, if one of the paragraphs in the article contains a majority of these, wouldn’t it be too overwhelming for me to keep in it a paragraph?
Also, what would be the best way to organize my intro paragraph?

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11 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure quite how to tackle your question. It seems to go in a lot of different directions. If you haven’t looked at a number of these kinds of essays, you might look at this one to get some ideas.

There’s a difference between following the order of the article and using the style of the article. I believe that you are supposed to be describing and interpreting the rhetorical techniques used as well as their effect. So you are analyzing the style, not copying it.

I would suggest you write the body of the essay, analyzing the techniques you have identified, and then think of a way of describing the thrust of your analysis. That becomes your introduction. Of course the first sentence of the introduction says what essay you are analyzing and the second summarizes the argument of the article. The third introduces the rhetorical techniques employed in the article that make it work.

Then you are into your analysis of the techniques. Then you conclude by saying what techniques worked and why they worked.

the100thmonkey's avatar

I don’t see how you can not understand what your teacher is telling you:

State your position in the introduction to your essay and analyse the article sequentially from the perspective of the thesis you stated.

For example, a thesis statement might look something like this:

“The language used to describe the development work undertaken prior to the London Olympics in the article was deliberately intended to marginalise those with viewpoints that took the opinions of the then local – and subsequently displaced – residents into account. This essay will critique the rhetorical methods employed by the author and offer an alternative interpretation of the story.”

The rest of the essay flows from there.

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submariner's avatar

What does “written in the same order” mean? Does the instructor mean that you should take up each of the points that the author makes in the same order that the author makes them? If so, then you could analyze the author’s appeals as s/he uses them to make each point. I suppose you could do that with the author’s style too while you’re at it, but unless the author’s style varies significantly from one point to the next, it would probably make more sense to analyze the author’s overall style in a separate paragraph or section.

So your essay might look like this:

I. Intro: Briefly state author’s thesis and main points. Your thesis will be about whether the author’s argument is cogent and rhetorically effective. Say which appeal the author relies on the most and say something about the author’s style.

II. Analyze author’s main points in order. Discuss appeals and supporting points.
A. 1st main point: what it is, and how the author uses ethos, pathos, and logos to make it.
B. 2nd main point…
C. 3rd etc.

III. Discuss style.

IV. Evaluation/conclusion. Assess the cogency and rhetorical effectiveness of the work you are analyzing.

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MargaritaA's avatar

Normally, such an essay evaluates the effectiveness of a writer’s argument. It’s an essay about an essay. (Grammatically, by the way, it should be called a RHETORIC analysis essay. Most teachers phrase the term incorrectly.)

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