Understanding and being able to analyze rhetorical situations can help contribute to strong, audience-focused, and organized writing. The PowerPoint presentation in the Media box above is suitable for any classroom and any writing task. The resource below explains in more detail how to analyze rhetorical situations.
Writing instructors and many other professionals who study language use the phrase “rhetorical situation.” This term refers to any set of circumstances that involves at least one person using some sort of communication to modify the perspective of at least one other person. But many people are unfamiliar with the word “rhetoric.” For many people, “rhetoric” may imply speech that is simply persuasive. For others, “rhetoric” may imply something more negative like “trickery” or even “lying.” So to appreciate the benefits of understanding what rhetorical situations are, we must first have a more complete understanding of what rhetoric itself is.
In brief, “rhetoric” is any communication used to modify the perspectives of others. But this is a very broad definition that calls for more explanation.
The OWL’s “Introduction to Rhetoric” vidcast explains more what rhetoric is and how rhetoric relates to writing. This vidcast defines rhetoric as “primarily an awareness of the language choices we make.” It gives a brief history of the origins of rhetoric in ancient Greece. And it briefly discusses the benefits of how understanding rhetoric can help people write more convincingly. The vidcast provides an excellent primer to some basic ideas of rhetoric.
A more in-depth primer to rhetoric can be found in the online video “In Defense of Rhetoric: No Longer Just for Liars.” This video dispels some widely held misconceptions about rhetoric and emphasizes that, “An education of rhetoric enables communicators in any facet of any field to create and assess messages effectively.” This video should be particularly helpful to anyone who is unaware of how crucial rhetoric is to effective communication.
“In Defense of Rhetoric: No Longer Just for Liars” is a 14-minunte video created by graduate students in the MA in Professional Communication program at Clemson University, and you are free to copy, distribute, and transmit the video with the understanding: 1) that you will attribute the work to its authors; 2) that you will not use the work for commercial purposes; and 3) that you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Listening to the above podcast and watching the above video should help anyone using this resource to better understand the basics of rhetoric and rhetorical situations.
A Review of Rhetoric: From “Persuasion” to “Identification”
Just as the vidcast and video above imply, rhetoric can refer to just the persuasive qualities of language. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle strongly influenced how people have traditionally viewed rhetoric. Aristotle defined rhetoric as “an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion” (Aristotle Rhetoric I.1.2, Kennedy 37). Since then, Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric has been reduced in many situations to mean simply “persuasion.” At its best, this simplification of rhetoric has led to a long tradition of people associating rhetoric with politicians, lawyers, or other occupations noted for persuasive speaking. At its worst, the simplification of rhetoric has led people to assume that rhetoric is merely something that manipulative people use to get what they want (usually regardless of moral or ethical concerns).
However, over the last century or so, the academic definition and use of “rhetoric” has evolved to include any situation in which people consciously communicate with each other. In brief, individual people tend to perceive and understand just about everything differently from one another (this difference varies to a lesser or greater degree depending on the situation, of course). This expanded perception has led a number of more contemporary rhetorical philosophers to suggest that rhetoric deals with more than just persuasion. Instead of just persuasion, rhetoric is the set of methods people use to identify with each other—to encourage each other to understand things from one another’s perspectives (see Burke 25). From interpersonal relationships to international peace treaties, the capacity to understand or modify another’s perspective is one of the most vital abilities that humans have. Hence, understanding rhetoric in terms of “identification” helps us better communicate and evaluate all such situations.
Aristotle. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. 2nd ed. Trans. George A. Kennedy. New York: Oxford UP, 2007.
Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969.
Johnson-Sheehan, Richard and Charles Paine. Writing Today. New York: Pearson Education, 2010.
In the rhetorical analysis essay, you’ll have to write about the writing. You would think it is something complicated, but our article is ready to help. This type of writing assignment requires you to disrupt phrases and words of the author in order to find out the real sense. In such a way, you’ll distinguish the unique writing style of the author. It will be possible to define strategies which he used to interact with the reader. Only with the help of his own style combined, he can get a reaction. Persuasive methods also matter in creating an impression.
If you have to write a rhetorical analysis essay, probably you will analyze the speeches of politicians, artists or other influential figures. If you have to analyze the text, find out its strategies, and give an explanation:
- How do all of the parts of the persuasive phrases work together?
- Do they have the right effect on target audience?
Make Your Paper A+!
How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Preparation Stage
If you want to succeed with your rhetorical analysis essay on the exam, the efficient preparation is needed. AP exam always has strict time limits. That’s why a well-conducted preparation can ensure high test score. Don’t waste your time on just reading. Take the notes! You have not much time for reading. It’s important to allocate time for analyzing before writing. If you take notes from the very beginning of your reading, it can significantly simplify the presence of analysis. It’s better for you to keep in mind such questions as:
- Who was the author of the text?
- What did he intend to say?
- Who was the reader of chosen analyzed piece?
- What was the particular purpose of the text?
- What was the expected result plus forecast?
Keep all these questions in your mind and try to give the answers. All author’s strategies and persuasive phrases will be in a full view.
If you don’t know where to get a great rhetorical analysis essay example, you can find support on this website.
SOAPSTone: What Does It Stand for in Rhetorical Analysis Example Essay?
Define your SOAPSTone. This abbreviation includes six critical elements:
- The speaker identifies author’s initials. When there are any credentials that point to the writer’s authority on the subject, you must take it into account as well. Mind that the narrator and writer might be different, so you may refer to both of them.
- The occasion is the type of the content along with its context. A student can notice a significant difference between a research paper developed for the scientific conference and a memo composed to an expert in the studied field. An essay may be written on different occasions.
- The target audience consists of your readers. The information you provide and techniques used depend on whom you wish to impress. The information may be given to other students to understand some topic. Information given to field professionals should include more facts. In other words, audience and occasion are interrelated. To present a rhetorical analysis paper to the right reader, the writer has to focus on scientists, researchers, or field experts as in the example above.
- The original purpose is all about the main point of the paper. What do you want readers to know? For what reason have you conducted a research on particular topic? Selling a product/service is the possible purpose of your article.
- The subject is simply the topic of your essay, article, or research paper.
Strategies you implement are usually defined as the tone of your information. Here is the summary of tone types:
- Diction + Tropes
- Syntax + Schemes
- Details + Lack of Details
Explaining Ethos, Logos, and Pathos on the Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example
Pathos, logos, and ethos (a.k.a. modes of persuasion) have different senses based on the beginnings of a human mind: sensual, mental and moral parts of the personality.
Logos usually appeals to logic. It communicates with the rational part of the mind. The author uses rational thinking methods to reach out to the audience and to persuade the reader using rational reasons.
“Centuries of history has taught people that there are peaceful ways to achieve mutual understanding.”
The pathos communicates through emotions. In this part of writing, the author talks with the readers’ emotions. He uses the special way of expressing feelings.
“The committee will accept your ideas as they are all based on the credible evidence from the official company’s report.”
The ethos sentences call to human’s ethics.
“Chiefs from Japan recommend this version of receipt while cooking fish!”
In every English AP exam, the text would necessarily contain at least one persuasive method. You’ll have to figure it out and analyze its effect.
10 Most Effective Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics of All Times
Need a great topic before start working on your rhetorical analysis essay example?
- Thank People for Smoking
- What about the role of three witches in “Macbeth?”
- Analysis of the Presidential speech by Obama. What mood did it have?
- Analyze information presented in Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln
- William Wallace Believes in His Men
- Did Martin Luther King Believe in ‘His Dream?”
- Tattoos, piercing, and rock clothing symbolize freedom and human right to choose
- Persuade students in the importance of school uniforms
- Provide an analysis of the moving speech you have personally experienced
- Analyze “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe
Some of these rhetorical analysis examples may generate specifically precise vocabularies to convey meaning.
Quick Help with Any Topic
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline
When you finish reading and analyzing, it’s time for making an outline of the analysis. Use lecture notes, find out all strategies. If we talk about the essay structure, it’s better to follow common rules and to include 5 or 6 paragraphs in your text. It is a quite reliable writing technique. Use it to satisfy the application commission/jury. Make sure that the paragraphs are approximately equal.
How to Write an Introduction to a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Body Paragraphs of the Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Explain the thesis and persuasive statements of the author. Devote each paragraph to a particular strategy. Your successful analysis and explanation of the thesis should always answer next questions:
- What is the strategy?
- Does the strategy actually work?
- Are there any working examples of the strategy?
- What was this particular strategy used for?
- Did this strategy have an effect on the audience?
- What feeling does this strategy provoke?
Take into account also diction and tone and don’t forget about the length of sentences.
Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion
Main Rhetorical Analysis Tips
You’ve finished writing your text, but it’s too early to relax. You still have to read some useful information on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay. If you have at least 5 minutes before the exam is over, you can use them in order to make your essay as perfect as possible. Here comes the detailed checklist going through which any writer will have a great opportunity to raise his essay’s quality!
Do not overload your rhetorical essay with unnecessary information. The introductory paragraph and conclusion should be the shortest parts. The best size would be around 500-750 words (if the teacher did not mention word count in the requirements).
Use all diversity of your vocabulary. It is a good way to get some additional points from your professor. It will show you as a well-skilled student who can write in different ways and can meet all requirements.
Don’t consider this point dull. It may seem too obvious, but nobody, including course professor, likes to read a text with grammar and punctuation errors. Check your text for any problems with sentence structure. Alternate long and short sentences with smart balance. Try to avoid all kinds of abbreviations.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example:
- Use Present Tense Mostly
It will be better to use Present Tense in your rhetorical essay. It is an unspoken rule for academic assignments. Just make sure that you build your arguments in the present tense, and you’ll avoid any confusions. Besides, it makes the reader of the writing piece feel like all happens at the exact moment.
Choose the right writing style and the correct transition words. It is important to understand that the smoother the text seems when it is read, the clearer the statements and the content will be. Use only correct punctuations when it is needed. Build strong and clear transitions as your text must flow like a river. Be consistent: don’t jump from one point to another. Stick to the general logic of every persuasive argument.
- Using Up-to-Date Techniques
Try to select the most recent sources as well as writing techniques. It is important to dedicate some time to learn different strategies used by the modern writers and scholars. Don’t make your analysis essay too strict and boring. Keep to the point, but try to enrich the text with some unexpected ideas.
- Gaining Experience from the Great Examples
Start searching for the great examples of rhetorical analysis essays from the very beginning. Find one on the topic similar to your main point. Follow the given outline or even rewrite the whole text using your original approach.
- Strong Supporting Words to Apply
Any example of rhetorical analysis includes strong arguments made of powerful descriptive adverbs and adjectives. Write down the following adjectives to describe the analyzed article or speech:
It is the last but not the least point. When you write the rhetorical analysis essay, remember that its main aim is to explain the impact of every device that was used by the author. Don’t list the arguments and devices. Analyze and explain their effectiveness.
- Always Proofread and Edit
Revision is one of the most important parts of writing an academic essay. There are many ways to make your final draft clear and free of mistakes in English. Various software may help to fix errors. Ask your parents or mates to help you with your assignment. You can also order editing from the English-speaking writers online.
We understand that it may seem not so easy. This sort of essay writing is a confusing and complicated option. Students have to take some practice to complete A+ writing piece. But if you have no time to practice and want to submit successful writing piece, it’s not a problem anymore. Nerdymates, the most reliable essay writing service on the web, provides an opportunity to get guaranteed great essay. They have a team of professional writers with a huge experience. They deal with all existing persuasive arguments, strategies, and literature/research methods. That’s why their help can’t be overestimated. Make a request on the official website of this service, talk to a member of Nerdymates’ team or assigned writer, and be sure that everything would be under control!