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Chapter 4: Structuring, Paragraphing, and Styling

4.3 Topic Sentences

Amanda Lloyd

Function and Elements of a Topic Sentence

A   topic sentence  is usually the first sentence of a body paragraph. The purpose of a topic sentence is to identify the topic of your paragraph and indicate the function of that paragraph in some way.

In order to create an effective topic sentence, you should do the following:

  • Use a transitional device to effortlessly segue from the idea discussed in the previous paragraph.

When choosing a transitional device, you should consider whether your new paragraph will build onto the topic of your previous paragraph, begin to develop a new key idea or sub-claim, or present a counterargument or concession.

See section 4.6 for information regarding when to begin a new paragraph and section 4.7 for help with transitional words and phrases.

  • Clearly identify the key idea or sub-claim that you intend to expand upon in your new paragraph.

Even if you are building onto the idea of the previous paragraph, you will still need to identify the sub-claim in your topic sentence. When constructing a topic sentence, you may feel as though you are stating the obvious or being repetitive, but your readers will need this information to guide them to a thorough understanding of your ideas.

  • Make a connection to the claim you make in your thesis statement.

It might help to think of your topic sentence as a mini thesis statement. In your body paragraph, you should be expanding upon the claim you make in your thesis. For this reason, you should link your topic sentence to your thesis statement. Doing so tells your readers, “This is the point I mentioned in my thesis that I now intend to support and either prove or explain further.”

To connect to your thesis, you should consider the function of the body paragraph, which will usually depend upon the type of essay you are writing; for example, your topic sentence should suggest whether your goal is to inform or persuade your readers (your topic sentence should indicate whether or not you have an opinion or perspective on the topic).

4.3 Topic Sentences by Amanda Lloyd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.


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What Is a Rhetorical Analysis and How to Write a Great One

Helly Douglas

Helly Douglas

Cover image for article

Do you have to write a rhetorical analysis essay? Fear not! We’re here to explain exactly what rhetorical analysis means, how you should structure your essay, and give you some essential “dos and don’ts.”

What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

How do you write a rhetorical analysis, what are the three rhetorical strategies, what are the five rhetorical situations, how to plan a rhetorical analysis essay, creating a rhetorical analysis essay, examples of great rhetorical analysis essays, final thoughts.

A rhetorical analysis essay studies how writers and speakers have used words to influence their audience. Think less about the words the author has used and more about the techniques they employ, their goals, and the effect this has on the audience.

Image showing definitions

In your analysis essay, you break a piece of text (including cartoons, adverts, and speeches) into sections and explain how each part works to persuade, inform, or entertain. You’ll explore the effectiveness of the techniques used, how the argument has been constructed, and give examples from the text.

A strong rhetorical analysis evaluates a text rather than just describes the techniques used. You don’t include whether you personally agree or disagree with the argument.

Structure a rhetorical analysis in the same way as most other types of academic essays . You’ll have an introduction to present your thesis, a main body where you analyze the text, which then leads to a conclusion.

Think about how the writer (also known as a rhetor) considers the situation that frames their communication:

  • Topic: the overall purpose of the rhetoric
  • Audience: this includes primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences
  • Purpose: there are often more than one to consider
  • Context and culture: the wider situation within which the rhetoric is placed

Back in the 4th century BC, Aristotle was talking about how language can be used as a means of persuasion. He described three principal forms —Ethos, Logos, and Pathos—often referred to as the Rhetorical Triangle . These persuasive techniques are still used today.

Image showing rhetorical strategies

Rhetorical Strategy 1: Ethos

Are you more likely to buy a car from an established company that’s been an important part of your community for 50 years, or someone new who just started their business?

Reputation matters. Ethos explores how the character, disposition, and fundamental values of the author create appeal, along with their expertise and knowledge in the subject area.

Aristotle breaks ethos down into three further categories:

  • Phronesis: skills and practical wisdom
  • Arete: virtue
  • Eunoia: goodwill towards the audience

Ethos-driven speeches and text rely on the reputation of the author. In your analysis, you can look at how the writer establishes ethos through both direct and indirect means.

Rhetorical Strategy 2: Pathos

Pathos-driven rhetoric hooks into our emotions. You’ll often see it used in advertisements, particularly by charities wanting you to donate money towards an appeal.

Common use of pathos includes:

  • Vivid description so the reader can imagine themselves in the situation
  • Personal stories to create feelings of empathy
  • Emotional vocabulary that evokes a response

By using pathos to make the audience feel a particular emotion, the author can persuade them that the argument they’re making is compelling.

Rhetorical Strategy 3: Logos

Logos uses logic or reason. It’s commonly used in academic writing when arguments are created using evidence and reasoning rather than an emotional response. It’s constructed in a step-by-step approach that builds methodically to create a powerful effect upon the reader.

Rhetoric can use any one of these three techniques, but effective arguments often appeal to all three elements.

The rhetorical situation explains the circumstances behind and around a piece of rhetoric. It helps you think about why a text exists, its purpose, and how it’s carried out.

Image showing 5 rhetorical situations

The rhetorical situations are:

  • 1) Purpose: Why is this being written? (It could be trying to inform, persuade, instruct, or entertain.)
  • 2) Audience: Which groups or individuals will read and take action (or have done so in the past)?
  • 3) Genre: What type of writing is this?
  • 4) Stance: What is the tone of the text? What position are they taking?
  • 5) Media/Visuals: What means of communication are used?

Understanding and analyzing the rhetorical situation is essential for building a strong essay. Also think about any rhetoric restraints on the text, such as beliefs, attitudes, and traditions that could affect the author's decisions.

Before leaping into your essay, it’s worth taking time to explore the text at a deeper level and considering the rhetorical situations we looked at before. Throw away your assumptions and use these simple questions to help you unpick how and why the text is having an effect on the audience.

Image showing what to consider when planning a rhetorical essay

1: What is the Rhetorical Situation?

  • Why is there a need or opportunity for persuasion?
  • How do words and references help you identify the time and location?
  • What are the rhetoric restraints?
  • What historical occasions would lead to this text being created?

2: Who is the Author?

  • How do they position themselves as an expert worth listening to?
  • What is their ethos?
  • Do they have a reputation that gives them authority?
  • What is their intention?
  • What values or customs do they have?

3: Who is it Written For?

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • How is this appealing to this particular audience?
  • Who are the possible secondary and tertiary audiences?

4: What is the Central Idea?

  • Can you summarize the key point of this rhetoric?
  • What arguments are used?
  • How has it developed a line of reasoning?

5: How is it Structured?

  • What structure is used?
  • How is the content arranged within the structure?

6: What Form is Used?

  • Does this follow a specific literary genre?
  • What type of style and tone is used, and why is this?
  • Does the form used complement the content?
  • What effect could this form have on the audience?

7: Is the Rhetoric Effective?

  • Does the content fulfil the author’s intentions?
  • Does the message effectively fit the audience, location, and time period?

Once you’ve fully explored the text, you’ll have a better understanding of the impact it’s having on the audience and feel more confident about writing your essay outline.

A great essay starts with an interesting topic. Choose carefully so you’re personally invested in the subject and familiar with it rather than just following trending topics. There are lots of great ideas on this blog post by My Perfect Words if you need some inspiration. Take some time to do background research to ensure your topic offers good analysis opportunities.

Image showing considerations for a rhetorical analysis topic

Remember to check the information given to you by your professor so you follow their preferred style guidelines. This outline example gives you a general idea of a format to follow, but there will likely be specific requests about layout and content in your course handbook. It’s always worth asking your institution if you’re unsure.

Make notes for each section of your essay before you write. This makes it easy for you to write a well-structured text that flows naturally to a conclusion. You will develop each note into a paragraph. Look at this example by College Essay for useful ideas about the structure.

Image showing how to structure an essay

1: Introduction

This is a short, informative section that shows you understand the purpose of the text. It tempts the reader to find out more by mentioning what will come in the main body of your essay.

  • Name the author of the text and the title of their work followed by the date in parentheses
  • Use a verb to describe what the author does, e.g. “implies,” “asserts,” or “claims”
  • Briefly summarize the text in your own words
  • Mention the persuasive techniques used by the rhetor and its effect

Create a thesis statement to come at the end of your introduction.

After your introduction, move on to your critical analysis. This is the principal part of your essay.

  • Explain the methods used by the author to inform, entertain, and/or persuade the audience using Aristotle's rhetorical triangle
  • Use quotations to prove the statements you make
  • Explain why the writer used this approach and how successful it is
  • Consider how it makes the audience feel and react

Make each strategy a new paragraph rather than cramming them together, and always use proper citations. Check back to your course handbook if you’re unsure which citation style is preferred.

3: Conclusion

Your conclusion should summarize the points you’ve made in the main body of your essay. While you will draw the points together, this is not the place to introduce new information you’ve not previously mentioned.

Use your last sentence to share a powerful concluding statement that talks about the impact the text has on the audience(s) and wider society. How have its strategies helped to shape history?

Before You Submit

Poor spelling and grammatical errors ruin a great essay. Use ProWritingAid to check through your finished essay before you submit. It will pick up all the minor errors you’ve missed and help you give your essay a final polish. Look at this useful ProWritingAid webinar for further ideas to help you significantly improve your essays. Sign up for a free trial today and start editing your essays!

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You’ll find countless examples of rhetorical analysis online, but they range widely in quality. Your institution may have example essays they can share with you to show you exactly what they’re looking for.

The following links should give you a good starting point if you’re looking for ideas:

Pearson Canada has a range of good examples. Look at how embedded quotations are used to prove the points being made. The end questions help you unpick how successful each essay is.

Excelsior College has an excellent sample essay complete with useful comments highlighting the techniques used.

Brighton Online has a selection of interesting essays to look at. In this specific example, consider how wider reading has deepened the exploration of the text.

Image showing tips when reading a sample essay

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay can seem daunting, but spending significant time deeply analyzing the text before you write will make it far more achievable and result in a better-quality essay overall.

It can take some time to write a good essay. Aim to complete it well before the deadline so you don’t feel rushed. Use ProWritingAid’s comprehensive checks to find any errors and make changes to improve readability. Then you’ll be ready to submit your finished essay, knowing it’s as good as you can possibly make it.

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Helly Douglas is a UK writer and teacher, specialising in education, children, and parenting. She loves making the complex seem simple through blogs, articles, and curriculum content. You can check out her work at hellydouglas.com or connect on Twitter @hellydouglas. When she’s not writing, you will find her in a classroom, being a mum or battling against the wilderness of her garden—the garden is winning!

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay–Examples & Template

topic sentence for a rhetorical analysis essay

What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

A rhetorical analysis essay is, as the name suggests, an analysis of someone else’s writing (or speech, or advert, or even cartoon) and how they use not only words but also rhetorical techniques to influence their audience in a certain way. A rhetorical analysis is less interested in what the author is saying and more in how they present it, what effect this has on their readers, whether they achieve their goals, and what approach they use to get there. 

Its structure is similar to that of most essays: An Introduction presents your thesis, a Body analyzes the text you have chosen, breaks it down into sections and explains how arguments have been constructed and how each part persuades, informs, or entertains the reader, and a Conclusion section sums up your evaluation. 

Note that your personal opinion on the matter is not relevant for your analysis and that you don’t state anywhere in your essay whether you agree or disagree with the stance the author takes.

In the following, we will define the key rhetorical concepts you need to write a good rhetorical analysis and give you some practical tips on where to start.

Key Rhetorical Concepts

Your goal when writing a rhetorical analysis is to think about and then carefully describe how the author has designed their text so that it has the intended effect on their audience. To do that, you need to consider a number of key rhetorical strategies: Rhetorical appeals (“Ethos”, “Logos”, and “Pathos”), context, as well as claims, supports, and warrants.

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos were introduced by Aristotle, way back in the 4th century BC, as the main ways in which language can be used to persuade an audience. They still represent the basis of any rhetorical analysis and are often referred to as the “rhetorical triangle”. 

These and other rhetorical techniques can all be combined to create the intended effect, and your job as the one analyzing a text is to break the writer’s arguments down and identify the concepts they are based on.

Rhetorical Appeals

Rhetorical appeal #1: ethos.

Ethos refers to the reputation or authority of the writer regarding the topic of their essay or speech and to how they use this to appeal to their audience. Just like we are more likely to buy a product from a brand or vendor we have confidence in than one we don’t know or have reason to distrust, Ethos-driven texts or speeches rely on the reputation of the author to persuade the reader or listener. When you analyze an essay, you should therefore look at how the writer establishes Ethos through rhetorical devices.

Does the author present themselves as an authority on their subject? If so, how? 

Do they highlight how impeccable their own behavior is to make a moral argument? 

Do they present themselves as an expert by listing their qualifications or experience to convince the reader of their opinion on something?

Rhetorical appeal #2: Pathos

The purpose of Pathos-driven rhetoric is to appeal to the reader’s emotions. A common example of pathos as a rhetorical means is adverts by charities that try to make you donate money to a “good cause”. To evoke the intended emotions in the reader, an author may use passionate language, tell personal stories, and employ vivid imagery so that the reader can imagine themselves in a certain situation and feel empathy with or anger towards others.

Rhetorical appeal #3: Logos

Logos, the “logical” appeal, uses reason to persuade. Reason and logic, supported by data, evidence, clearly defined methodology, and well-constructed arguments, are what most academic writing is based on. Emotions, those of the researcher/writer as well as those of the reader, should stay out of such academic texts, as should anyone’s reputation, beliefs, or personal opinions. 

Text and Context

To analyze a piece of writing, a speech, an advertisement, or even a satirical drawing, you need to look beyond the piece of communication and take the context in which it was created and/or published into account. 

Who is the person who wrote the text/drew the cartoon/designed the ad..? What audience are they trying to reach? Where was the piece published and what was happening there around that time? 

A political speech, for example, can be powerful even when read decades later, but the historical context surrounding it is an important aspect of the effect it was intended to have. 

Claims, Supports, and Warrants

To make any kind of argument, a writer needs to put forward specific claims, support them with data or evidence or even a moral or emotional appeal, and connect the dots logically so that the reader can follow along and agree with the points made.

The connections between statements, so-called “warrants”, follow logical reasoning but are not always clearly stated—the author simply assumes the reader understands the underlying logic, whether they present it “explicitly” or “implicitly”. Implicit warrants are commonly used in advertisements where seemingly happy people use certain products, wear certain clothes, accessories, or perfumes, or live certain lifestyles – with the connotation that, first, the product/perfume/lifestyle is what makes that person happy and, second, the reader wants to be as happy as the person in the ad. Some warrants are never clearly stated, and your job when writing a rhetorical analysis essay is therefore to identify them and bring them to light, to evaluate their validity, their effect on the reader, and the use of such means by the writer/creator. 

bust of plato the philosopher, rhetorical analysis essay

What are the Five Rhetorical Situations?

A “rhetorical situation” refers to the circumstance behind a text or other piece of communication that arises from a given context. It explains why a rhetorical piece was created, what its purpose is, and how it was constructed to achieve its aims.

Rhetorical situations can be classified into the following five categories:

Asking such questions when you analyze a text will help you identify all the aspects that play a role in the effect it has on its audience, and will allow you to evaluate whether it achieved its aims or where it may have failed to do so.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Analyzing someone else’s work can seem like a big task, but as with every assignment or writing endeavor, you can break it down into smaller, well-defined steps that give you a practical structure to follow. 

To give you an example of how the different parts of your text may look when it’s finished, we will provide you with some excerpts from this rhetorical analysis essay example (which even includes helpful comments) published on the Online Writing Lab website of Excelsior University in Albany, NY. The text that this essay analyzes is this article on why one should or shouldn’t buy an Ipad. If you want more examples so that you can build your own rhetorical analysis template, have a look at this essay on Nabokov’s Lolita and the one provided here about the “Shitty First Drafts” chapter of Anne Lamott’s writing instruction book “Bird by Bird”.

Analyzing the Text

When writing a rhetorical analysis, you don’t choose the concepts or key points you think are relevant or want to address. Rather, you carefully read the text several times asking yourself questions like those listed in the last section on rhetorical situations to identify how the text “works” and how it was written to achieve that effect.

Start with focusing on the author : What do you think was their purpose for writing the text? Do they make one principal claim and then elaborate on that? Or do they discuss different topics? 

Then look at what audience they are talking to: Do they want to make a group of people take some action? Vote for someone? Donate money to a good cause? Who are these people? Is the text reaching this specific audience? Why or why not?

What tone is the author using to address their audience? Are they trying to evoke sympathy? Stir up anger? Are they writing from a personal perspective? Are they painting themselves as an authority on the topic? Are they using academic or informal language?

How does the author support their claims ? What kind of evidence are they presenting? Are they providing explicit or implicit warrants? Are these warrants valid or problematic? Is the provided evidence convincing?  

Asking yourself such questions will help you identify what rhetorical devices a text uses and how well they are put together to achieve a certain aim. Remember, your own opinion and whether you agree with the author are not the point of a rhetorical analysis essay – your task is simply to take the text apart and evaluate it.

If you are still confused about how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, just follow the steps outlined below to write the different parts of your rhetorical analysis: As every other essay, it consists of an Introduction , a Body (the actual analysis), and a Conclusion .

Rhetorical Analysis Introduction

The Introduction section briefly presents the topic of the essay you are analyzing, the author, their main claims, a short summary of the work by you, and your thesis statement . 

Tell the reader what the text you are going to analyze represents (e.g., historically) or why it is relevant (e.g., because it has become some kind of reference for how something is done). Describe what the author claims, asserts, or implies and what techniques they use to make their argument and persuade their audience. Finish off with your thesis statement that prepares the reader for what you are going to present in the next section – do you think that the author’s assumptions/claims/arguments were presented in a logical/appealing/powerful way and reached their audience as intended?

Have a look at an excerpt from the sample essay linked above to see what a rhetorical analysis introduction can look like. See how it introduces the author and article , the context in which it originally appeared , the main claims the author makes , and how this first paragraph ends in a clear thesis statement that the essay will then elaborate on in the following Body section:

Cory Doctorow ’s article on BoingBoing is an older review of the iPad , one of Apple’s most famous products. At the time of this article, however, the iPad was simply the latest Apple product to hit the market and was not yet so popular. Doctorow’s entire career has been entrenched in and around technology. He got his start as a CD-ROM programmer and is now a successful blogger and author. He is currently the co-editor of the BoingBoing blog on which this article was posted. One of his main points in this article comes from Doctorow’s passionate advocacy of free digital media sharing. He argues that the iPad is just another way for established technology companies to control our technological freedom and creativity . In “ Why I Won’t Buy an iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either) ” published on Boing Boing in April of 2010, Cory Doctorow successfully uses his experience with technology, facts about the company Apple, and appeals to consumer needs to convince potential iPad buyers that Apple and its products, specifically the iPad, limit the digital rights of those who use them by controlling and mainstreaming the content that can be used and created on the device . 

Doing the Rhetorical Analysis

The main part of your analysis is the Body , where you dissect the text in detail. Explain what methods the author uses to inform, entertain, and/or persuade the audience. Use Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle and the other key concepts we introduced above. Use quotations from the essay to demonstrate what you mean. Work out why the writer used a certain approach and evaluate (and again, demonstrate using the text itself) how successful they were. Evaluate the effect of each rhetorical technique you identify on the audience and judge whether the effect is in line with the author’s intentions.

To make it easy for the reader to follow your thought process, divide this part of your essay into paragraphs that each focus on one strategy or one concept , and make sure they are all necessary and contribute to the development of your argument(s).

One paragraph of this section of your essay could, for example, look like this:

One example of Doctorow’s position is his comparison of Apple’s iStore to Wal-Mart. This is an appeal to the consumer’s logic—or an appeal to logos. Doctorow wants the reader to take his comparison and consider how an all-powerful corporation like the iStore will affect them. An iPad will only allow for apps and programs purchased through the iStore to be run on it; therefore, a customer must not only purchase an iPad but also any programs he or she wishes to use. Customers cannot create their own programs or modify the hardware in any way. 

As you can see, the author of this sample essay identifies and then explains to the reader how Doctorow uses the concept of Logos to appeal to his readers – not just by pointing out that he does it but by dissecting how it is done.

Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion

The conclusion section of your analysis should restate your main arguments and emphasize once more whether you think the author achieved their goal. Note that this is not the place to introduce new information—only rely on the points you have discussed in the body of your essay. End with a statement that sums up the impact the text has on its audience and maybe society as a whole:

Overall, Doctorow makes a good argument about why there are potentially many better things to drop a great deal of money on instead of the iPad. He gives some valuable information and facts that consumers should take into consideration before going out to purchase the new device. He clearly uses rhetorical tools to help make his case, and, overall, he is effective as a writer, even if, ultimately, he was ineffective in convincing the world not to buy an iPad . 

Frequently Asked Questions about Rhetorical Analysis Essays 

What is a rhetorical analysis essay.

A rhetorical analysis dissects a text or another piece of communication to work out and explain how it impacts its audience, how successfully it achieves its aims, and what rhetorical devices it uses to do that. 

While argumentative essays usually take a stance on a certain topic and argue for it, a rhetorical analysis identifies how someone else constructs their arguments and supports their claims.

What is the correct rhetorical analysis essay format?

Like most other essays, a rhetorical analysis contains an Introduction that presents the thesis statement, a Body that analyzes the piece of communication, explains how arguments have been constructed, and illustrates how each part persuades, informs, or entertains the reader, and a Conclusion section that summarizes the results of the analysis. 

What is the “rhetorical triangle”?

The rhetorical triangle was introduced by Aristotle as the main ways in which language can be used to persuade an audience: Logos appeals to the audience’s reason, Ethos to the writer’s status or authority, and Pathos to the reader’s emotions. Logos, Ethos, and Pathos can all be combined to create the intended effect, and your job as the one analyzing a text is to break the writer’s arguments down and identify what specific concepts each is based on.

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How to write a rhetorical analysis

Rhetorical analysis illustration

What is a rhetorical analysis?

What are the key concepts of a rhetorical analysis, rhetorical situation, claims, supports, and warrants.

  • Step 1: Plan and prepare
  • Step 2: Write your introduction
  • Step 3: Write the body
  • Step 4: Write your conclusion

Frequently Asked Questions about rhetorical analysis

Related articles.

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and aims to study writers’ or speakers' techniques to inform, persuade, or motivate their audience. Thus, a rhetorical analysis aims to explore the goals and motivations of an author, the techniques they’ve used to reach their audience, and how successful these techniques were.

This will generally involve analyzing a specific text and considering the following aspects to connect the rhetorical situation to the text:

  • Does the author successfully support the thesis or claims made in the text? Here, you’ll analyze whether the author holds to their argument consistently throughout the text or whether they wander off-topic at some point.
  • Does the author use evidence effectively considering the text’s intended audience? Here, you’ll consider the evidence used by the author to support their claims and whether the evidence resonates with the intended audience.
  • What rhetorical strategies the author uses to achieve their goals. Here, you’ll consider the word choices by the author and whether these word choices align with their agenda for the text.
  • The tone of the piece. Here, you’ll consider the tone used by the author in writing the piece by looking at specific words and aspects that set the tone.
  • Whether the author is objective or trying to convince the audience of a particular viewpoint. When it comes to objectivity, you’ll consider whether the author is objective or holds a particular viewpoint they want to convince the audience of. If they are, you’ll also consider whether their persuasion interferes with how the text is read and understood.
  • Does the author correctly identify the intended audience? It’s important to consider whether the author correctly writes the text for the intended audience and what assumptions the author makes about the audience.
  • Does the text make sense? Here, you’ll consider whether the author effectively reasons, based on the evidence, to arrive at the text’s conclusion.
  • Does the author try to appeal to the audience’s emotions? You’ll need to consider whether the author uses any words, ideas, or techniques to appeal to the audience’s emotions.
  • Can the author be believed? Finally, you’ll consider whether the audience will accept the arguments and ideas of the author and why.

Summing up, unlike summaries that focus on what an author said, a rhetorical analysis focuses on how it’s said, and it doesn’t rely on an analysis of whether the author was right or wrong but rather how they made their case to arrive at their conclusions.

Although rhetorical analysis is most used by academics as part of scholarly work, it can be used to analyze any text including speeches, novels, television shows or films, advertisements, or cartoons.

Now that we’ve seen what rhetorical analysis is, let’s consider some of its key concepts .

Any rhetorical analysis starts with the rhetorical situation which identifies the relationships between the different elements of the text. These elements include the audience, author or writer, the author’s purpose, the delivery method or medium, and the content:

  • Audience: The audience is simply the readers of a specific piece of text or content or printed material. For speeches or other mediums like film and video, the audience would be the listeners or viewers. Depending on the specific piece of text or the author’s perception, the audience might be real, imagined, or invoked. With a real audience, the author writes to the people actually reading or listening to the content while, for an imaginary audience, the author writes to an audience they imagine would read the content. Similarly, for an invoked audience, the author writes explicitly to a specific audience.
  • Author or writer: The author or writer, also commonly referred to as the rhetor in the context of rhetorical analysis, is the person or the group of persons who authored the text or content.
  • The author’s purpose: The author’s purpose is the author’s reason for communicating to the audience. In other words, the author’s purpose encompasses what the author expects or intends to achieve with the text or content.
  • Alphabetic text includes essays, editorials, articles, speeches, and other written pieces.
  • Imaging includes website and magazine advertisements, TV commercials, and the like.
  • Audio includes speeches, website advertisements, radio or tv commercials, or podcasts.
  • Context: The context of the text or content considers the time, place, and circumstances surrounding the delivery of the text to its audience. With respect to context, it might often also be helpful to analyze the text in a different context to determine its impact on a different audience and in different circumstances.

An author will use claims, supports, and warrants to build the case around their argument, irrespective of whether the argument is logical and clearly defined or needs to be inferred by the audience:

  • Claim: The claim is the main idea or opinion of an argument that the author must prove to the intended audience. In other words, the claim is the fact or facts the author wants to convince the audience of. Claims are usually explicitly stated but can, depending on the specific piece of content or text, be implied from the content. Although these claims could be anything and an argument may be based on a single or several claims, the key is that these claims should be debatable.
  • Support: The supports are used by the author to back up the claims they make in their argument. These supports can include anything from fact-based, objective evidence to subjective emotional appeals and personal experiences used by the author to convince the audience of a specific claim. Either way, the stronger and more reliable the supports, the more likely the audience will be to accept the claim.
  • Warrant: The warrants are the logic and assumptions that connect the supports to the claims. In other words, they’re the assumptions that make the initial claim possible. The warrant is often unstated, and the author assumes that the audience will be able to understand the connection between the claims and supports. In turn, this is based on the author’s assumption that they share a set of values and beliefs with the audience that will make them understand the connection mentioned above. Conversely, if the audience doesn’t share these beliefs and values with the author, the argument will not be that effective.

Appeals are used by authors to convince their audience and, as such, are an integral part of the rhetoric and are often referred to as the rhetorical triangle. As a result, an author may combine all three appeals to convince their audience:

  • Ethos: Ethos represents the authority or credibility of the author. To be successful, the author needs to convince the audience of their authority or credibility through the language and delivery techniques they use. This will, for example, be the case where an author writing on a technical subject positions themselves as an expert or authority by referring to their qualifications or experience.
  • Logos: Logos refers to the reasoned argument the author uses to persuade their audience. In other words, it refers to the reasons or evidence the author proffers in substantiation of their claims and can include facts, statistics, and other forms of evidence. For this reason, logos is also the dominant approach in academic writing where authors present and build up arguments using reasoning and evidence.
  • Pathos: Through pathos, also referred to as the pathetic appeal, the author attempts to evoke the audience’s emotions through the use of, for instance, passionate language, vivid imagery, anger, sympathy, or any other emotional response.

To write a rhetorical analysis, you need to follow the steps below:

With a rhetorical analysis, you don’t choose concepts in advance and apply them to a specific text or piece of content. Rather, you’ll have to analyze the text to identify the separate components and plan and prepare your analysis accordingly.

Here, it might be helpful to use the SOAPSTone technique to identify the components of the work. SOAPSTone is a common acronym in analysis and represents the:

  • Speaker . Here, you’ll identify the author or the narrator delivering the content to the audience.
  • Occasion . With the occasion, you’ll identify when and where the story takes place and what the surrounding context is.
  • Audience . Here, you’ll identify who the audience or intended audience is.
  • Purpose . With the purpose, you’ll need to identify the reason behind the text or what the author wants to achieve with their writing.
  • Subject . You’ll also need to identify the subject matter or topic of the text.
  • Tone . The tone identifies the author’s feelings towards the subject matter or topic.

Apart from gathering the information and analyzing the components mentioned above, you’ll also need to examine the appeals the author uses in writing the text and attempting to persuade the audience of their argument. Moreover, you’ll need to identify elements like word choice, word order, repetition, analogies, and imagery the writer uses to get a reaction from the audience.

Once you’ve gathered the information and examined the appeals and strategies used by the author as mentioned above, you’ll need to answer some questions relating to the information you’ve collected from the text. The answers to these questions will help you determine the reasons for the choices the author made and how well these choices support the overall argument.

Here, some of the questions you’ll ask include:

  • What was the author’s intention?
  • Who was the intended audience?
  • What is the author’s argument?
  • What strategies does the author use to build their argument and why do they use those strategies?
  • What appeals the author uses to convince and persuade the audience?
  • What effect the text has on the audience?

Keep in mind that these are just some of the questions you’ll ask, and depending on the specific text, there might be others.

Once you’ve done your preparation, you can start writing the rhetorical analysis. It will start off with an introduction which is a clear and concise paragraph that shows you understand the purpose of the text and gives more information about the author and the relevance of the text.

The introduction also summarizes the text and the main ideas you’ll discuss in your analysis. Most importantly, however, is your thesis statement . This statement should be one sentence at the end of the introduction that summarizes your argument and tempts your audience to read on and find out more about it.

After your introduction, you can proceed with the body of your analysis. Here, you’ll write at least three paragraphs that explain the strategies and techniques used by the author to convince and persuade the audience, the reasons why the writer used this approach, and why it’s either successful or unsuccessful.

You can structure the body of your analysis in several ways. For example, you can deal with every strategy the author uses in a new paragraph, but you can also structure the body around the specific appeals the author used or chronologically.

No matter how you structure the body and your paragraphs, it’s important to remember that you support each one of your arguments with facts, data, examples, or quotes and that, at the end of every paragraph, you tie the topic back to your original thesis.

Finally, you’ll write the conclusion of your rhetorical analysis. Here, you’ll repeat your thesis statement and summarize the points you’ve made in the body of your analysis. Ultimately, the goal of the conclusion is to pull the points of your analysis together so you should be careful to not raise any new issues in your conclusion.

After you’ve finished your conclusion, you’ll end your analysis with a powerful concluding statement of why your argument matters and an invitation to conduct more research if needed.

A rhetorical analysis aims to explore the goals and motivations of an author, the techniques they’ve used to reach their audience, and how successful these techniques were. Although rhetorical analysis is most used by academics as part of scholarly work, it can be used to analyze any text including speeches, novels, television shows or films, advertisements, or cartoons.

The steps to write a rhetorical analysis include:

Your rhetorical analysis introduction is a clear and concise paragraph that shows you understand the purpose of the text and gives more information about the author and the relevance of the text. The introduction also summarizes the text and the main ideas you’ll discuss in your analysis.

Ethos represents the authority or credibility of the author. To be successful, the author needs to convince the audience of their authority or credibility through the language and delivery techniques they use. This will, for example, be the case where an author writing on a technical subject positions themselves as an expert or authority by referring to their qualifications or experience.

Appeals are used by authors to convince their audience and, as such, are an integral part of the rhetoric and are often referred to as the rhetorical triangle. The 3 types of appeals are ethos, logos, and pathos.

topic sentence for a rhetorical analysis essay

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

3-minute read

  • 22nd August 2023

A rhetorical analysis essay is a type of academic writing that analyzes how authors use language, persuasion techniques , and other rhetorical strategies to communicate with their audience. In this post, we’ll review how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, including:

  • Understanding the assignment guidelines
  • Introducing your essay topic
  • Examining the rhetorical strategies
  • Summarizing your main points

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to rhetorical analysis.

What Is a Rhetorical Strategy?

A rhetorical strategy is a deliberate approach or technique a writer uses to convey a message and/or persuade the audience. A rhetorical strategy typically involves using language, sentence structure, and tone/style to influence the audience to think a certain way or understand a specific point of view. Rhetorical strategies are especially common in advertisements, speeches, and political writing, but you can also find them in many other types of literature.

1.   Understanding the Assignment Guidelines

Before you begin your rhetorical analysis essay, make sure you understand the assignment and guidelines. Typically, when writing a rhetorical analysis, you should approach the text objectively, focusing on the techniques the author uses rather than expressing your own opinions about the topic or summarizing the content. Thus, it’s essential to discuss the rhetorical methods used and then back up your analysis with evidence and quotations from the text.

2.   Introducing Your Essay Topic

Introduce your essay by providing some context about the text you’re analyzing. Give a brief overview of the author, intended audience, and purpose of the writing. You should also clearly state your thesis , which is your main point or argument about how and why the author uses rhetorical strategies. Try to avoid going into detail on any points or diving into specific examples – the introduction should be concise, and you’ll be providing a much more in-depth analysis later in the text.

3.   Examining the Rhetorical Strategies

In the body paragraphs, analyze the rhetorical strategies the author uses. Here are some common rhetorical strategies to include in your discussion:

●  Ethos : Establishing trust between the writer and the audience by appealing to credibility and ethics

●  Pathos : Appealing to the audience’s emotions and values

●  Logos : Employing logic, reason, and evidence to appeal to the reader

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●  Diction : Deliberately choosing specific language and vocabulary

●  Syntax : Structuring and arranging sentences in certain ways

●  Tone : Conveying attitude or mood in certain ways

●  Literary Devices : Using metaphors, similes, analogies , repetition, etc.

Keep in mind that for a rhetorical analysis essay, you’re not usually required to find examples of all of the above rhetorical strategies. But for each one you do analyze, consider how it contributes to the author’s purpose, how it influences the audience, and what emotions or thoughts it could evoke in the reader.

4.   Summarizing Your Main Points

In your conclusion , sum up the main points of your analysis and restate your thesis. Without introducing any new points (such as topics or ideas you haven’t already covered in the main body of your essay), summarize the overall impact that the author’s rhetorical strategies likely had on their intended audience.

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Rhetorical Analysis Sample Essay

Harriet Clark

Ms. Rebecca Winter

13 Feb. 2015

Not Quite a Clean Sweep: Rhetorical Strategies in

Grose's "Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier”

A woman’s work is never done: many American women grow up with this saying and feel it to be true. 1 One such woman, author Jessica Grose, wrote “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier,” published in 2013 in the New Republic, 2 and she argues that while the men recently started taking on more of the childcare and cooking, cleaning still falls unfairly on women. 3 Grose begins building her credibility with personal facts and reputable sources, citing convincing facts and statistics, and successfully employing emotional appeals; however, toward the end of the article, her attempts to appeal to readers’ emotions weaken her credibility and ultimately, her argument. 4

In her article, Grose first sets the stage by describing a specific scenario of house-cleaning with her husband after being shut in during Hurricane Sandy, and then she outlines the uneven distribution of cleaning work in her marriage and draws a comparison to the larger feminist issue of who does the cleaning in a relationship. Grose continues by discussing some of the reasons that men do not contribute to cleaning: the praise for a clean house goes to the woman; advertising and media praise men’s cooking and childcare, but not cleaning; and lastly, it is just not fun. Possible solutions to the problem, Grose suggests, include making a chart of who does which chores, dividing up tasks based on skill and ability, accepting a dirtier home, and making cleaning more fun with gadgets. 5

Throughout her piece, Grose uses many strong sources that strengthen her credibility and appeal to ethos, as well as build her argument. 6 These sources include, “sociologists Judith Treas and Tsui-o Tai,” “a 2008 study from the University of New Hampshire,” and “P&G North America Fabric Care Brand Manager, Matthew Krehbiel” (qtd. in Grose). 7 Citing these sources boosts Grose’s credibility by showing that she has done her homework and has provided facts and statistics, as well as expert opinions to support her claim. She also uses personal examples from her own home life to introduce and support the issue, which shows that she has a personal stake in and first-hand experience with the problem. 8

Adding to her ethos appeals, Grose uses strong appeals to logos, with many facts and statistics and logical progressions of ideas. 9 She points out facts about her marriage and the distribution of household chores: “My husband and I both work. We split midnight baby feedings ...but ... he will admit that he’s never cleaned the bathroom, that I do the dishes nine times out of ten, and that he barely knows how the washer and dryer work in the apartment we’ve lived in for over eight months.” 10 These facts introduce and support the idea that Grose does more household chores than her husband. Grose continues with many statistics:

[A]bout 55 percent of American mothers employed full time do some housework on an average day, while only 18 percent of employed fathers do. ... [W]orking women with children are still doing a week and a half more of “second shift” work each year than their male partners. ... Even in the famously gender-neutral Sweden, women do 45 minutes more housework a day than their male partners. 11

These statistics are a few of many that logically support her claim that it is a substantial and real problem that men do not do their fair share of the chores. The details and numbers build an appeal to logos and impress upon the reader that this is a problem worth discussing. 12

Along with strong logos appeals, Grose effectively makes appeals to pathos in the beginning and middle sections. 13 Her introduction is full of emotionally-charged words and phrases that create a sympathetic image; Grose notes that she “was eight months pregnant” and her husband found it difficult to “fight with a massively pregnant person.” 14 The image she evokes of the challenges and vulnerabilities of being so pregnant, as well as the high emotions a woman feels at that time effectively introduce the argument and its seriousness. Her goal is to make the reader feel sympathy for her. Adding to this idea are words and phrases such as, “insisted,” “argued,” “not fun,” “sucks” “headachey,” “be judged,” “be shunned” (Grose). All of these words evoke negative emotions about cleaning, which makes the reader sympathize with women who feel “judged” and shunned”—very negative feelings. Another feeling Grose reinforces with her word choice is the concept of fairness: “fair share,” “a week and a half more of ‘second shift’ work,” “more housework,” “more gendered and less frequent.” These words help establish the unfairness that exists when women do all of the cleaning, and they are an appeal to pathos, or the readers’ feelings of frustration and anger with injustice. 15

However, the end of the article lacks the same level of effectiveness in the appeals to ethos. 16 For example, Grose notes that when men do housework, they are considered to be “’enacting “small instances of gender heroism,” or ‘SIGH’s’—which, barf.” 17 The usage of the word “barf” is jarring to the reader; unprofessional and immature, it is a shift from the researched, intelligent voice she has established and the reader is less likely to take the author seriously. This damages the strength of her credibility and her argument. 18

Additionally, her last statement in the article refers to her husband in a way that weakens the argument. 19 While returning to the introduction’s hook in the conclusion is a frequently-used strategy, Grose chooses to return to her discussion of her husband in a humorous way: Grose discusses solutions, and says there is “a huge, untapped market ... for toilet-scrubbing iPods. I bet my husband would buy one.” 20 Returning to her own marriage and husband is an appeal to ethos or personal credibility, and while that works well in the introduction, in the conclusion, it lacks the strength and seriousness that the topic deserves and was given earlier in the article. 21

Though Grose begins the essay by effectively persuading her readers of the unfair distribution of home-maintenance cleaning labor, she loses her power in the end, where she most needs to drive home her argument. Readers can see the problem exists in both her marriage and throughout the world; however, her shift to humor and sarcasm makes the reader not take the problem as seriously in the end. 22 Grose could have more seriously driven home the point that a woman’s work could be done: by a man. 23

Works Cited

Grose, Jessica. “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier.” New Republic. The New Republic, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.

  • Article author's claim or purpose
  • Summary of the article's main point in the second paragraph (could also be in the introduction)
  • Third paragraph begins with a transition and topic sentence that reflects the first topic in the thesis
  • Quotes illustrate how the author uses appeals to ethos
  • Analysis explains how the quotes show the effective use of ethos as noted in the thesis
  • Transition and topic sentence about the second point from the thesis
  • Quote that illustrates appeals to logos
  • Analysis explains how the quotes show the effective use of logos, as noted in the thesis
  • Transition and topic sentence about the third point from the thesis
  • Quotes that illustrate appeals to pathos
  • Analysis explains how the quotes show the effective use of pathos, as noted in the thesis
  • Transition and topic sentence about fourth point from the thesis
  • Quote illustrates how the author uses appeal to ethos
  • Analysis explains how quote supports thesis
  • Transition and topic sentence about fourth point from thesis
  • Conclusion returns to the ideas in the thesis and further develops them
  • Last sentence returns to the hook in the introduction

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Lindsay Ann Learning English Teacher Blog

Rhetorical Analysis Sentence Starters: Easy and Effective!


November 2, 2020 //  by  Lindsay Ann //   3 Comments

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Are you assigning a rhetorical analysis essay ? Why not try having students use rhetorical analysis sentence starters? 

But, you might say, then students aren’t using their own words. 

When someone says this, I think of that tear-jerky ending scene from Finding Forrester when William Forrester comes out of seclusion to defend his friend, Jamal Wallace, who is being accused of plagiarizing Forrester’s words. “I helped him to find his own words by starting with some of mine,” he says. 

This is exactly what sentence starters for rhetorical analysis can do. 

We give students some of our own words to move them toward more sophisticated analysis. 


This is also an easy way to differentiate for students who may struggle with writing a rhetorical analysis essay. These stems will nudge students to talk about ethos, pathos, and logos , as well as SOAPStone and rhetorical devices.

25 Rhetorical Analysis Sentence Starters

It’s important to teach students to use these stems, but as a springboard to further analysis. 

This means that students should not simply complete the sentence, filling in the blanks (…) and moving on. They must unpack the move the author is making in order to connect it to their focus for rhetorical analysis.

After the starter sentence, it will be necessary for students to dig into “why” the author made that particular choice and “how” it shows purpose, tone, message, etc. For this, students will need to use basic text analysis skills as they unpack words and sections of the text to discuss on a deeper level.

  • The writer/author/speaker describes … in order to highlight…
  • The writer/author/speaker inspires a sense of … by …
  • The writer/author/speaker reminds the audience of … because …
  • The purpose of the writer/author/speaker is demonstrated through the organizational pattern of …
  • The repetition of … allows the reader to infer …
  • Unpacking this word a bit further allows the reader to understand …
  • Pursuing a deeper understanding of this topic, the writer/author/speaker reasons …
  • The writer/author/speaker allows the reader to connect … and … through use of … device. 
  • The writer/author/speaker’s credibility is clear when …
  • The use of … contributes to the writer/author/speaker’s tone because…
  • It is important to notice that the writer/author/speaker’s tone shifts when … because …
  • … and … are loaded words used by the writer/author/speaker because they make the audience feel … 
  • The writer/author/speaker’s use of collective pronouns implies…
  • Because the writer/author/speaker alludes to … , the listener realizes …
  • Organizationally, the opening and closing of this text are important and connected to each other in the way that they…
  • The imagery/description of the … creates …
  • It is clear that the writer/author/speaker knows his or her audience, because s/he appeals to its sense of …
  • The author’s … reasoning allows the audience to …
  • … appeals to the audience by …
  • … shifts the audience’s perspective by …
  • The argument is developed by the writer/author/speaker’s use of …
  • The occasion / context shapes the speaker’s message. We see this in …
  • The writer/author/speaker inspires a sense of … through use of …
  • The overall message becomes clear when … 
  • To unpack this device even further …


Action Verbs for Rhetorical Analysis

topic sentence for a rhetorical analysis essay

In addition to the rhetorical analysis sentence starters above, I would suggest dreaming up your own for students to use (or having students come up with them). Every sentence starter needs an action verb. Here’s a list to get you started! 

  • Takes a Stand
  • Demonstrates
  • Establishes
  • Alludes to 
  • Contributes to
  • Joins Together


Thank you so much for allowing me to share some of my favorite rhetorical analysis sentence starters with you! I love hearing from my readers. If you have a question or a thought to share, please leave a comment and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able.

Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading . I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.  Click on the link above or the image below to get started!


About Lindsay Ann

Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 19 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.

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topic sentence for a rhetorical analysis essay

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April 8, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Lindsay, thank you so much for these tools to support students writing rhetorical analyses. These are really exceptional and student friendly supports.

[…] for writing thesis statements, teaching show don’t tell and connotation in literature, and rhetorical analysis… I […]

[…] For rhetorical appeals–logos, ethos, and pathos–students need to consider closely how they can touch the heads and hearts of their readers.   […]

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example - Free Samples

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide With Examples

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics – 120+ Unique Ideas

Crafting an Effective Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline - Free Samples!

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos - Structure, Usage & Examples

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay for academics can be really demanding for students. This type of paper requires high-level analyzing abilities and professional writing skills to be drafted effectively.

As this essay persuades the audience, it is essential to know how to take a strong stance and develop a thesis. 

This article will find some examples that will help you with your rhetorical analysis essay writing effortlessly. 

Arrow Down

  • 1. Good Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example
  • 2. Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example AP Lang 2023
  • 3. Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples for Students 
  • 4. Writing a Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay with Example 
  • 5. Rhetorical Analysis Essay Writing Tips

Good Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

The step-by-step writing process of a rhetorical analysis essay is far more complicated than ordinary academic essays. This essay type critically analyzes the rhetorical means used to persuade the audience and their efficiency. 

The example provided below is the best rhetorical analysis essay example:

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Sample

In this essay type, the author uses rhetorical approaches such as ethos, pathos, and logos .  These approaches are then studied and analyzed deeply by the essay writers to weigh their effectiveness in delivering the message.

Let’s take a look at the following example to get a better idea;

The outline and structure of a rhetorical analysis essay are important. 

According to the essay outline, the essay is divided into three sections: 

  • Introduction
  • Ethos 
  • Logos 

A rhetorical analysis essay outline is the same as the traditional one. The different parts of the rhetorical analysis essay are written in the following way:

Rhetorical Analysis Introduction Example

The introductory paragraph of a rhetorical analysis essay is written for the following purpose:

  • To provide basic background information about the chosen author and the text.
  • Identify the target audience of the essay. 

An introduction for a rhetorical essay is drafted by:

  • Stating an opening sentence known as the hook statement. This catchy sentence is prepared to grab the audience’s attention to the paper. 
  • After the opening sentence, the background information of the author and the original text are provided. 

For example, a rhetorical analysis essay written by Lee Jennings on“The Right Stuff” by David Suzuki. Lee started the essay by providing the introduction in the following way:

Analysis of the Example: 

  • Suzuki stresses the importance of high school education. He prepares his readers for a proposal to make that education as valuable as possible.
  • A rhetorical analysis can show how successful Suzuki was in using logos, pathos, and ethos. He had a strong ethos because of his reputation. 
  • He also used pathos to appeal to parents and educators. However, his use of logos could have been more successful.
  • Here Jennings stated the background information about the text and highlighted the rhetorical techniques used and their effectiveness. 

Thesis Statement Example for Rhetorical Analysis Essay 

A thesis statement of a rhetorical analysis essay is the writer’s stance on the original text. It is the argument that a writer holds and proves it using the evidence from the original text. 

A thesis statement for a rhetorical essay is written by analyzing the following elements of the original text:

  • Diction - It refers to the author’s choice of words and the tone
  • Imagery - The visual descriptive language that the author used in the content. 
  • Simile - The comparison of things and ideas

In Jennings's analysis of “The Right Stuff,” the thesis statement was:

Example For Rhetorical Analysis Thesis Statement

Rhetorical Analysis Body Paragraph Example 

In the body paragraphs of your rhetorical analysis essay, you dissect the author's work, analyze their use of rhetorical techniques, and provide evidence to support your analysis. 

Let's look at an example that analyzes the use of ethos in David Suzuki's essay:

Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion Example

All the body paragraphs lead the audience towards the conclusion.

For example, the conclusion of “The Right Stuff” is written in the following way by Jennings:

In the conclusion section, Jennings summarized the major points and restated the thesis statement to prove them. 

Rhetorical Essay Example For The Right Stuff by David Suzuki

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example AP Lang 2023

Writing a rhetorical analysis for the AP Language and Composition course can be challenging. So drafting it correctly is important to earn good grades. 

To make your essay effective and winning, follow the tips provided by professionals below:

Step #1: Understand the Prompt

Understanding the prompt is the first thing to produce an influential rhetorical paper. It is mandatory for this academic writing to read and understand the prompt to know what the task demands from you. 

Step #2: Stick to the Format

The content for the rhetorical analysis should be appropriately organized and structured. For this purpose, a proper outline is drafted. 

The rhetorical analysis essay outline divides all the information into different sections, such as the introduction, body, and conclusion.  The introduction should explicitly state the background information and the thesis statement. 

All the body paragraphs should start with a topic sentence to convey a claim to the readers. Provide a thorough analysis of these claims in the paragraph to support your topic sentence. 

Step #3: Use Rhetorical Elements to Form an Argument 

Analyze the following things in the text to form an argument for your essay:

  • Language (tone and words)
  • Organizational structure
  • Rhetorical Appeals ( ethos, pathos, and logos) 

Once you have analyzed the rhetorical appeals and other devices like imagery and diction, you can form a strong thesis statement. The thesis statement will be the foundation on which your essay will be standing. 

AP Language Rhetorical Essay Sample

AP Rhetorical Analysis Essay Template

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example AP Lang

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Examples for Students 

Here are a few more examples to help the students write a rhetorical analysis essay:

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example Outline

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example College

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example APA Format

Compare and Contrast Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Comparative Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

How to Start Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example High School

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example APA Sample

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example Of a Song

Florence Kelley Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example MLA

Writing a Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay with Example 

The visual rhetorical analysis essay determines how pictures and images communicate messages and persuade the audience. 

Usually, visual rhetorical analysis papers are written for advertisements. This is because they use strong images to convince the audience to behave in a certain way. 

To draft a perfect visual rhetorical analysis essay, follow the tips below:

  • Analyze the advertisement deeply and note every minor detail. 
  • Notice objects and colors used in the image to gather every detail.
  • Determine the importance of the colors and objects and analyze why the advertiser chose the particular picture. 
  • See what you feel about the image.
  • Consider the objective of the image. Identify the message that the image is portraying. 
  • Identify the targeted audience and how they respond to the picture. 

An example is provided below to give students a better idea of the concept. 

Simplicity Breeds Clarity Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Writing Tips

Follow the tips provided below to make your rhetorical writing compelling. 

  • Choose an engaging topic for your essay. The rhetorical analysis essay topic should be engaging to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Thoroughly read the original text.
  • Identify the SOAPSTone. From the text, determine the speaker, occasions, audience, purpose, subject, and tone.
  • Develop a thesis statement to state your claim over the text.
  • Draft a rhetorical analysis essay outline.
  • Write an engaging essay introduction by giving a hook statement and background information. At the end of the introductory paragraph, state the thesis statement.
  • The body paragraphs of the rhetorical essay should have a topic sentence. Also, in the paragraph, a thorough analysis should be presented.
  • For writing a satisfactory rhetorical essay conclusion, restate the thesis statement and summarize the main points.
  • Proofread your essay to check for mistakes in the content. Make your edits before submitting the draft.

Following the tips and the essay's correct writing procedure will guarantee success in your academics. 

We have given you plenty of examples of a rhetorical analysis essay. But if you are still struggling to draft a great rhetorical analysis essay, it is suggested to take a professional’s help.

MyPerfectWords.com can assist you with all your academic assignments. The top essay writer service that we provide is reliable. If you are confused about your writing assignments and have difficulty meeting the deadline, get help from the  legal essay writing service .

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Rhetorical Analysis Definition and Examples

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rhetorical analysis essay


What is a rhetorical analysis essay a quick overview.

A rhetorical analysis essay is an academic essay writing form. In this essay, the audience evaluates how an author or speaker uses various rhetorical techniques to convey their message and persuade the audience. The primary goal of a rhetorical analysis essay is to analyze how effectively the speaker can leave an impact on the audience.

In a rhetorical analysis essay, you have to dissect a piece of text. It can be a speech, a book, an article, or any other form of communication. You break down the content using rhetorical devices like ethos, pathos, and logos. These devices assess how the choice of words, tone, structure, and persuasive strategies contribute to the overall message.

Rhetorical Strategies: Exploring the Key Concepts

Rhetorical strategies are techniques used to persuade or manipulate an audience through language and communication. Some key concepts include:

Ethos appeals to the credibility and trustworthiness of the speaker or source.

It appeals to the emotions and feelings of the audience to evoke sympathy or excitement.

It emphasizes the logic and reason of the argument through evidence, facts, and sound reasoning.

This refers to the opportune moment of an argument, taking into account the context and readiness of the audience.

5. Metaphor

This concept uses figurative language to make a comparison, mostly to clarify or enhance understanding of an argument.

6. Repetition

Sometimes, authors use repeating words or phrases to emphasize a point or to create a rhythmic effect.

7. Rhetorical Questions

Authors ask questions that are not meant to be answered but to provoke thought or engage the audience.

8. Anaphora

Repeating a word or phrase at the beginning of successive sentences or clauses for emphasis.

9. Parallelism

Structuring sentences or phrases with similar grammatical structures to create balance and rhythm.

Using language to convey the opposite of its literal meaning. This is mostly used to demonstrate humor or criticism.

11. Hyperbole

This refers to exaggerating a point for better effect. This is often used to emphasize a point or create a vivid image.

12. Analogy

Drawing comparisons between two different things to explain or illustrate a concept.

13. Antithesis

These are contrasting ideas or words within a sentence that highlight their differences.

14. Allusion

Authors sometimes make references to literature, history, or pop culture to add depth and meaning.

15. Syllogism

This is a logical argument consisting of a major, a minor premise, and a conclusion.

These are the key concepts that are often used in persuasive essay topics writing. Our experts can guide you and tell you how and where to use these aspects.

How to Write an Exceptional Rhetorical Analysis Essay: The Real Deal!

Here are the key steps to help you craft an exceptional rhetorical analysis essay:

1. Selecting the Text

Choose a text (speech, article, advertisement, etc.) you want to analyze. It should be rich in rhetoric and provide ample material for analysis.

2. Understanding Rhetoric

Familiarise yourself with the basics of rhetoric. This comprises three key elements –

  • Ethos that appeals the credibility
  • Pathos, which appeals to emotional appeal
  • Logos appealing logical appeal.

These elements form the foundation of your analysis.

3. Reading and Annotating

Carefully read the chosen text multiple times. Annotate the text as you go along, highlighting rhetorical devices, persuasive techniques, and any significant appeals to ethos, pathos, or logos.

4. Identifying Rhetorical Devices

Identify and list the rhetorical devices used in the text. Common devices include metaphors, similes, hyperbole, alliteration, repetition, and parallelism. Note how these devices contribute to the author's argument or message.

5. Understanding Audience

Consider the target audience for the text. Analyze how the author tailors their rhetoric to connect with and persuade this specific audience.

6. Determining the Author's Purpose

Determine the primary purpose of the text. Is the author trying to persuade, inform, entertain, or inspire? Analyze how the author's rhetorical choices align with their purpose.

7. Evaluating Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Examine how the author uses ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience. Identify instances where these appeals are strong or weak and explain their impact.

8. Structural Analysis

Analyze the text's structure. Look at how the author organizes their argument, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

9. Writing the Introduction

Craft a strong introduction for your essay. Provide essential background information about the text and author. Clearly state the text's purpose and your thesis statement.

10. Body Paragraphs

Dedicate each body paragraph to a specific rhetorical element or device you've identified. Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence, provide evidence from the text, and analyze how that evidence contributes to the author's argument and engages the audience.

11. Transitions

Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs and ideas. Use transition words and phrases to guide the reader through your analysis.

12. Conclusion

Summarise the key points and restate your thesis in the conclusion.

But you cannot submit just yet. You have to proofread the essay thoroughly and make edits wherever required. However, if you don’t have the means or time to do that, ask us. We have the best tools and professionals to help you make the final touches before the submission.

Fun & Interesting Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • The Rhetoric of Stand-Up Comedy: Analysing Comedic Techniques.
  • The Persuasive Power of Internet Memes.
  • Political Speeches: When Politicians Try to Be Funny.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Late-Night Talk Show Hosts.
  • The Art of Satire: Analysing Satirical News Shows.
  • Celebrity Endorsements: Laughing All the Way to the Bank.
  • Infomercials: The Rhetorical Tricks Behind the Cheesiness.
  • The Rhetoric of Commercials: From Super Bowl Ads to Local Spots.
  • Analyzing the Use of Humour in Advertising.
  • The Language of Social Media Influencers: #InfluencerRhetoric.
  • Parody in Popular Culture: From "Weird Al" to SNL.
  • Analyzing the Rhetorical Devices in Comedic Literature.
  • The Humour of Shakespeare: Analysing His Use of Rhetoric.
  • The Stand-Up Comedy of George Carlin: A Rhetorical Analysis.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Internet Trolls.
  • The Rhetorical Power of Cartoons and Animated Shows.
  • The Art of Irony in Literature and Film.
  • The Rhetoric of Self-Deprecating Humor: A Study in Modesty.
  • Analyzing the Satirical Elements in "The Onion" Articles.
  • The Persuasion of Political Cartoons: Beyond the Laughter.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Social Media Roasts.
  • The Use of Sarcasm in Modern Conversation.
  • Analyzing the Rhetorical Devices in Late-Night Monologues.
  • The Art of Wordplay in Stand-Up Comedy.
  • The Rhetoric of Comedic Podcasts: From Scripted to Improv.
  • Analyzing the Rhetorical Devices in "The Daily Show."
  • The Humor in Advertising Mascots: From Geico's Gecko to the Energizer Bunny.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Viral Internet Challenges.
  • The Use of Hyperbole in Humorous Speeches.
  • Analyzing the Rhetorical Devices in Classic Sitcoms.

Cool Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Poetry

  • Analyze the use of metaphors in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken."
  • Examine the symbolism of the caged bird in Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
  • Explore the theme of love and loss in Shakespeare's sonnets.
  • Analyze the use of irony in Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm Nobody! Who are you?"
  • Examine the role of imagery in Langston Hughes's "Harlem (Dream Deferred)."
  • Discuss the use of personification in William Blake's "The Tyger."
  • Analyze the structure and rhyme scheme in John Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale."
  • Examine the theme of nature in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself."
  • Discuss the use of alliteration in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."
  • Analyze the use of repetition in Allen Ginsberg's "Howl."
  • Examine the symbolism of the rose in William Wordsworth's "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey."
  • Discuss the use of enjambment in Sylvia Plath's "Daddy."
  • Analyze the theme of identity in Langston Hughes's "Theme for English B."
  • Examine the use of sensory imagery in T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
  • Discuss the role of tone in Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
  • Analyze the use of juxtaposition in William Blake's "The Lamb" and "The Tyger."
  • Examine the theme of death in Emily Dickinson's poetry.
  • Discuss the use of allegory in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
  • Analyze the symbolism of the sea in Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."
  • Examine the use of onomatopoeia in E.E. Cummings's "Buffalo Bill's."
  • Discuss the role of satire in Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock."
  • Analyze the use of paradox in John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud."
  • Examine the theme of time in Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress."
  • Discuss the use of irony in W.B. Yeats's "The Second Coming."
  • Analyze the structure and rhyme scheme in William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud."
  • Examine the theme of war in Wilfred Owen's poetry.
  • Discuss the use of allusion in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land."
  • Analyze the symbolism of the mirror in Sylvia Plath's "Mirror."
  • Examine the use of repetition and refrain in Langston Hughes's "A Dream Deferred."
  • Discuss the role of perspective and point of view in Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess."

Amazing Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Movies

  • Analyze the symbolism in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
  • Discuss the cinematography techniques in Christopher Nolan's "Inception."
  • Discuss the role of music and sound in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey."
  • Analyze the use of color in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
  • Examine the character development in Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver."
  • Discuss the impact of editing and pacing in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho."
  • Analyze the use of metaphor and allegory in "The Matrix" series.
  • Examine the cultural commentary in Jordan Peele's "Get Out."
  • Discuss the narrative structure in Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon."
  • Analyze the use of montage in Sergei Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin."
  • Examine the portrayal of gender roles in Ridley Scott's "Alien."
  • Discuss the social commentary in Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite."
  • Analyze the use of visual effects in James Cameron's "Avatar."
  • Examine the role of foreshadowing in David Fincher's "Fight Club."
  • Discuss the symbolism of the white dress in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan."
  • Analyze the political themes in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing."
  • Examine the use of lighting and shadows in Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane."
  • Discuss the character archetypes in George Lucas's "Star Wars" franchise.
  • Analyze the portrayal of mental illness in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind."
  • Examine the use of satire in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove."
  • Discuss the representation of technology in Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."
  • Analyze the use of flashbacks in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill."
  • Examine the role of costume design in Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette."
  • Discuss the ethical dilemmas in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight."
  • Analyze the symbolism of the feather in Robert Zemeckis's "Forrest Gump."
  • Examine the portrayal of race and identity in Barry Jenkins's "Moonlight."
  • Discuss the use of non-linear storytelling in Guy Ritchie's "Snatch."
  • Analyze the visual motifs in Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands."
  • Examine the role of silence in Yorgos Lanthimos's "The Lobster."
  • Discuss the representation of addiction in Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream."

Top Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Popular Speeches

  • Analyze the use of metaphor and repetition in "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Examine the rhetorical strategies in "A More Perfect Union" by Barack Obama
  • Analyze the language Lincoln used to commemorate fallen soldiers in his "The Gettysburg Address"
  • Examine Malcolm X's persuasive techniques in "The Ballot or the Bullet"
  • Analyze the rhetoric used by Betty Friedan to spark the second-wave feminist movement in "The Feminine Mystique"
  • Examine the "Speech to the Troops at Tilbury" by Queen Elizabeth I
  • Analyze the persuasive strategies used by Ronald Reagan in his "Tear Down This Wall” speech
  • Examine the use of ethos, pathos, and logos in "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai
  • Analyze the emotional impact of "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch
  • "Ain't I a Woman?" by Sojourner Truth: Examine the powerful rhetorical devices used in this women's rights speech.
  • "Remarks on the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." by Robert F. Kennedy: Analyse the emotional appeal and call for unity in this speech.
  • Examine the use of personal anecdotes in "The Power of Vulnerability" by Brené Brown
  • Analyse Churchill's call in his iconic "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech
  • Examine the rhetorical devices used in Jobs' "The Stanford Commencement Address"
  • "A Whisper of AIDS" by Mary Fisher
  • Roosevelt's persuasive language in "The Four Freedoms"
  • Analyse "The Man in the Arena" by Theodore Roosevelt
  • Examine the use of ethos and pathos in the "Remarks on the Signing of the Voting Rights Act" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Analyse "The Crisis" speech by Winston Churchill
  • Examine the rhetorical devices used in "The Perils of Indifference" by Elie Wiesel
  • Analyse Reagan's persuasive arguments in "A Time for Choosing"
  • Examine the satirical elements and social critique in "The Paradox of Our Time" by George Carlin
  • Analyse "The Danger of a Single Story" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Examine the rhetorical impact of "The Stanford Rape Victim's Impact Statement" by Chanel Miller
  • Analyzing the "Remarks to the Senate" by Margaret Chase Smith
  • Examine Churchill's rhetoric in "Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat"
  • Analyze the rhetorical style of "The Sermon on the Mount" by Jesus Christ
  • Examine Henry David Thoreau's call in "A Plea for Captain John Brown"
  • Analyse Douglass's powerful critique in "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
  • Examine the persuasive techniques in "The Youth Climate Strike" by Greta Thunberg

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Non–Fiction

  • The Power of Persuasion: Analysing Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' Speech.
  • The Impact of Narrative Techniques in Memoirs: A Study of 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls.
  • Fact vs. Fiction: Investigating the Line Between Journalism and Creative Non-Fiction.
  • The Art of the Personal Essay: Examining E.B. White's 'Once More to the Lake.'
  • Environmental Awareness Through Non-Fiction: Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring.'
  • The Use of Anecdotes in Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers' to Make a Persuasive Argument.
  • Cultural Critique in Non-Fiction: George Orwell's '1984' and Its Relevance Today.
  • Exploring the Power of Storytelling in Non-Fiction: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'The Danger of a Single Story.'
  • The Role of Statistics and Data Visualization in Non-Fiction Writing.
  • Evaluating the Ethical Dilemmas in Investigative Journalism: 'All the President's Men' by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
  • Rhetorical Devices in Susan Sontag's 'On Photography' and Their Influence on the Reader.
  • The Art of the Profile: Analysing the Style of Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.'
  • The Role of Personal Experience in Non-Fiction Writing: Joan Didion's 'The Year of Magical Thinking.'
  • The Impact of Emotional Appeals in Non-Fiction: 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.
  • Science Communication in Non-Fiction: Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' as a Model.
  • The Art of Argumentation in Christopher Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great.'
  • Analyzing the Role of Humor in David Sedaris' Essays.
  • The Evolution of the Self-Help Genre: From Dale Carnegie to Brené Brown.
  • Exploring the Use of Personal Reflection in Non-Fiction: Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'Between the World and Me.'
  • The Intersection of Science and Literature: Mary Roach's 'Stiff.'
  • The Influence of Historical Context on Non-Fiction Writing: Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States.'
  • Environmental Advocacy Through Non-Fiction: Bill McKibben's 'The End of Nature.'
  • The Art of Investigative Reporting: 'The Devil in the White City' by Erik Larson.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Presidential Speeches: A Focus on Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
  • The Role of Personal Identity in Non-Fiction: Roxane Gay's 'Hunger.'
  • Gender and Feminism in Non-Fiction: A Study of Roxane Gay's 'Bad Feminist.'
  • The Influence of Historical Documents on Contemporary Non-Fiction Writing.
  • The Impact of Travel Writing: Paul Theroux's 'The Great Railway Bazaar.'
  • Analyzing the Use of Symbolism in Non-Fiction: 'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer.
  • The Role of Autobiography in Non-Fiction: Maya Angelou's 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.'

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Fiction

  • The Symbolism of the 'Green Light' in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby.'
  • The Role of Foreshadowing in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart.'
  • Character Development in J.D. Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye.'
  • The Use of Irony in Mark Twain's 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.'
  • Exploring the Theme of Identity in J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' Series.
  • Narrative Structure in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude.'
  • Analyzing the Impact of Setting in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies.'
  • The Motif of Darkness in Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness.'
  • The Symbolism of the Mockingbird in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'
  • The Role of Allegory in George Orwell's 'Animal Farm.'
  • Character Transformation in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice.'
  • The Use of Stream of Consciousness in Virginia Woolf's 'Mrs. Dalloway.'
  • Exploring the Theme of Alienation in Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis.'
  • The Symbolism of the 'Red Room' in Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre.'"
  • Analyzing the Impact of Dialogue in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible.'
  • The Use of Magical Realism in Isabel Allende's 'The House of the Spirits.'
  • Character Archetypes in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings.'
  • The Role of Time in Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse-Five.'
  • Exploring the Theme of Love and Sacrifice in Nicholas Sparks' Novels.
  • The Symbolism of the Conch Shell in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies.'
  • The Use of Motif and Imagery in Toni Morrison's 'Beloved.'
  • Character Motivation in Fyodor Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment.'
  • The Role of Irony in Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray.'
  • The Symbolism of the 'White Whale' in Herman Melville's 'Moby-Dick.'
  • Narrative Perspective in Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale.'
  • The Use of Foil Characters in Shakespearean Tragedies.
  • Exploring the Theme of War in Erich Maria Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front.'
  • Character Conflict and Growth in John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men.'
  • The Symbolism of the 'Raven' in Edgar Allan Poe's Poem.
  • The Role of Imagery in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby.'

Latest Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Social Media Influencers: Strategies, Impact, and Ethics.
  • The Use of Visual Rhetoric in Political Campaign Advertisements in the Digital Age.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Climate Change Advocacy Speeches by Greta Thunberg.
  • The Role of Memes in Shaping Online Discourse: A Rhetorical Examination.
  • The Rhetorical Techniques of Podcast Hosts in Engaging and Persuading Audiences.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Environmental Activism in Contemporary Documentaries.
  • The Influence of Rhetorical Appeals in Modern Political Debates and Discourse.
  • The Rhetoric of Fake News: Analysing Manipulative Techniques and Their Impact.
  • Exploring Rhetorical Strategies in Contemporary Stand-up Comedy.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of TED Talks: Persuasion and Storytelling in Public Speaking.
  • The Rhetorical Framing of Social Justice Movements in the Media.
  • Analyzing the Persuasive Techniques in Modern Advertising: From Super Bowl Commercials to Digital Campaigns.
  • The Rhetorical Strategies Used by Activists in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • The Role of Visual Rhetoric in Environmental Awareness Campaigns.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Celebrity Speeches and Their Influence on Social Issues.
  • The Rhetoric of Health and Wellness Influencers: Ethical Considerations.
  • Analysing Rhetorical Devices in Contemporary Pop Songs and Music Videos.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Branding and Brand Storytelling in the Fashion Industry.
  • The Rhetoric of Online Product Reviews: Persuasion and Consumer Behavior.
  • Analyzing the Rhetoric of Political Satire Shows in the Current Political Climate.
  • The Use of Rhetorical Appeals in Debates Surrounding Technology Ethics.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Environmental Policy Speeches by World Leaders.
  • The Rhetorical Techniques Used in Contemporary Self-Help Literature.
  • Analysing Rhetorical Strategies in Online Gaming Communities and Esports.
  • The Rhetoric of Crisis Communication: Examining Responses to Global Events.
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Anti-vaccine Movement Arguments and Their Impact.
  • The Rhetoric of Conspiracy Theories: Persuasion and Disinformation.
  • Analyzing the Rhetorical Appeals of Influential Science Communicators.
  • Rhetorical Strategies in Contemporary Food and Nutrition Debates.
  • The Role of Rhetoric in Shaping Public Opinion on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Why Is Rhetorical Analysis Important?

Rhetorical analysis is important because it helps us in:

1. Critical Thinking

When you analyze rhetoric, it encourages critical reflection thinking. You have to examine the various strategies used to persuade, inform, or entertain. This boosts your critical thinking abilities.

2. Effective Communication

Studying effective rhetoric can improve your own communication skills. It helps you convey ideas more persuasively. You can easily break the ice and be a better communicator in other verticals of life.

3. Media Literacy

It helps individuals discern the quality and intentions of various messages in media, politics, and advertising.

4. Cultural Awareness

Rhetorical analysis reveals cultural values and biases embedded in messages. This is crucial in fostering cultural awareness.

5. Decision Making

Understanding persuasive techniques aids in making informed decisions. Students can easily recognize data and evidence that seems manipulative or biased. Thus, they can filter those out and make informed decisions.

If you still have some queries about how rhetorical analysis essays are important to us, we are just a call away.

How to Analyse Rhetorical Strategies in An Essay or Speech?

Follow this step-by-step guide to analyze rhetorical strategies in an essay or speech –

  • Read the Essay
  • Identify the Rhetorical Strategies
  • Analyse Word Choice
  • Examine Sentence Structure and Syntax
  • Identify Persuasive Techniques
  • Evaluate Organisation
  • Consider Audience
  • Assess Effectiveness
  • Provide Evidence and Examples
  • Write Your Analysis

We can help you in all these processes and guide you to correctly analyze any rhetorical essays.

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200 rhetorical analysis topics for students in 2023.

rhetorical analysis topics

The first thing to note when writing anything on rhetorical analysis is that the essay requires you having a wide and in-depth knowledge about the specific topic you’ll be basing your essay on. A good mastery of rhetorical essay topics entails the ability to write effectively.

Sometimes, the challenge looks like not knowing where to begin. But, understanding that a rhetorical analysis essay requires the writer to deeply and accurately analyze a piece of work and make a plausible argument with supporting evidence about it will give you an edge when crafting and choosing a topic.

However, rhetorical analysis topics are majorly predominant in topics associated with the arts but are also not limited to it. Topics can be based on literature, movies, billboards, popular culture, ads, speeches, and even ordinary human conversations.

Aside from understanding what rhetorical topics are, having ample information about any selected topic is crucial as it helps to develop sound rhetorical analysis ideas. Here are some topics you can base your rhetorical analysis essay topics on.

Rhetorical Essay Topics to Choose From

In any rhetorical essay, what the writer does is highlight a problem, carry out extensive analysis on the listed problem to make a strong-base argument on the subject matter.

A rhetorical essay isn’t complete without sound backup evidence to the highlighted problem. Carrying out an essay writing of this form requires you to have done thorough research on whatever you will be writing on.

Knowing how to choose smart topics for rhetorical analysis isn’t enough to write the essay, there must be the existence of extensively done research as this enables the writing to come fully alive. Rhetorical analysis topics list can look like.

  • Do social media encourage low productivity in young adults?
  • Rhetorical Analysis of Shonda Rhimes’s How to Get Away with Murder
  • Obama’s first presidential speech
  • A textual analysis of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life
  • Analysis of Dove ’s beauty Ads over the last 5 years
  • A Feminist look at Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own
  • Importance of complex themes in American TV shows and Movies
  • Analysis of the Instagram aesthetics and what it entails
  • The role of symbolism in Literature and art piece
  • The work of representation in Popular Culture
  • TV shows: That’s what I Like and Here’s Why you should too
  • The implication of Horror movies on middle and preschoolers
  • Do Smartphones encourage low productivity in Young Adults or not?
  • The impact of Diversity representation in Hollywood
  • A cultural exploration of Beyoncé’s Lemonade
  • Madam CJ Walker, Diversity beauty-representation
  • Explicit sexual exploration: the Hip Hop culture
  • Purity culture an offspring of Rape culture
  • Social exploration of the movie adaptation of Les Misérables
  • Does Social media obscure reality or not?
  • Rhetorical analysis: Mom blogs and the role they play within the society
  • The Hidden Reality of Foodbanks in the American system
  • Welfare mom, bad mom?
  • Analyze the political implications of George Orwell’s Animal Farm
  • The unsettling effect of Dan Fogelman’s This Life
  • Homeschooling, the bane of many high school students.
  • The impacts of gaming on preschoolers
  • How PBS for Kids has changed the Parenting game
  • The Role of the Erotica: The poems by E. E Cummings
  • The absurdity of the Afterlife

More Topics on Rhetorical Analysis

There are varieties of different kinds of rhetorical analysis topics that it is unlikely that one can run out of ways to craft rhetorical analysis topics for any essay at all.

Since the majority of these rhetoric topics are mostly within the arts, there’s a wide range of sources and inspiration to draw your essay topic from. This is because art is an interesting field that keeps on giving.

These topics can be relevant for high school and for college students. Here are a handful of rhetorical analysis example topics to consider for rhetorical analysis.

  • A comparative analysis of non-fictional novels and fictional novels
  • Analysis: Obama’s Farewell speech
  • Rhetorical analysis of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
  • The Failure of Charity, Classism, Victorian era, the folly of Individualism: Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist .
  • Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson : an Anthropological exploration
  • The realism of 11th century Scotland and how it’s portrayed in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • The Surrealism of the 20th-century art and Literary explorations with that era
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and how it’s an indictment to the “American Dream”
  • Rhetorical Analysis of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Another Country
  • Why Movie adaptations can never measure up to Books
  • The social and economic implications of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
  • The story of Leonardo da Vinci and the Monalisa painting
  • Painting, Artistry and how Paul Cézanne’s art interrogates the subject of late-blooming
  • What the use of mostly women for domestic Ads suggests
  • How new Hollywood producers and showrunners address the issue of inclusivity and diversity in TV.
  • What the use of the omniscient narrator in books suggests
  • The Monalisa painting: Why is it Talked about so much?
  • The rhetorical device in D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  • This is why best-seller books are called best-sellers
  • Why kids avoid watching the news at all cost
  • How the presence of social media impacts mental illness negatively
  • The Role of Tv and Popular in promoting Misogyny and Misogynoir
  • A call to Love: the recurring theme within James Baldwin’s works
  • How reality Tv shows obscure actual reality
  • How racism permeates Langston Hughes I, Too
  • What is the distinction between Symbolism and Imagery
  • The recurring effect of Misogyny in Malala Yousafzai’s real-life experiences
  • Why documentaries on Minimalism should be encouraged
  • Minimalism: a direct response to Late Capitalism
  • The wide distinction between Liberalism and NeoLiberalism

Rhetorical Situation Essay Topics for 2023

Before embarking on choosing any essay topic in a rhetorical situation, you must first understand the role of rhetoric in writing. Good rhetorical analysis essay topics aim to compel action through oral, written, visual, and sound forms. Rhetorical analysis compels the reader or the present audience to reassess their perspectives based on what you are saying or have written.

A good rhetorical analysis essay topic primarily seeks to capture the base attention of the reader or audience. One of the most common situations where rhetorics come in handy is in the political field.

However, rhetorical situation essays are impassioned, affective and are intended to capture the emotion of the reader or the audience; luring emotion is its basic and most tactical style for a call to action.

  • How the legislation on Birth Control pills has resulted in the untimely death of Women in rural areas
  • The rise of inflation and its resulting consequences in low-income homes
  • Was capitalism not okay enough? How the pandemic has displaced even more households
  • How does Popular Culture contribute to the continuous subjugation of women
  • Rape, teen pregnancy and the delegitimization of birth control pills: How they all conjure to control women’s bodies
  • Television is helping us understand the complexities of human lives
  • How the epidemic of drug abuse and its prevalence affects the lives of young Americans in the Deep South
  • Gun Control: Why we should pay attention to guns rather than women’s bodies
  • How lack of access and poverty is affecting homeschooling for young Americans
  • Paying low-income workers below minimum wage is a late capitalist concept
  • Gentrification: how it’s displacing people from their communities and homes
  • Capitalism is the main reason why millennials can’t afford to buy a house
  • The capitalist undertones of the “black to office” maximum
  • The Vernacular of Fatphobia in American Popular Culture
  • This is why America isn’t Post-racial
  • Myth: The Post-racial American Society
  • Why the rhetoric “The Future of Remote Work is Lonely” is a Myth
  • The Fatphobia of the American Wellness Culture
  • How Homeschooling is Demoralizing Teachers
  • Navigating various identities: the reality of the immigrant household
  • The Big lessons from Covid era: the diminishing returns of Hyper-productivity
  • What it means to be displaced within a Pandemic
  • Rhetorical Analysis of the Work Culture
  • The Unrealized myth of Self-care culture
  • The US Women as Social safety nets
  • Analysis of how Email became Work
  • What the Pandemic has taught workers about Unionism
  • The insidious nature of work culture and how it contributes to Burnouts
  • How Publishing is promoting Diversity and Inclusivity
  • Want it means to live within a pandemic as a low-income worker

30 Rhetorical Analysis Example Topics

The challenge that students often face when asked to write a rhetorical essay is the problem of how to craft a topic that best conveys their thoughts as well as that which they can grasp easily and have adequate available and accessible information on.

There are so many researchable ideas to write on; the hitch is often crafting your topic into something capable of inciting attention and encouraging conversations.

This is because, in rhetorics and persuasive writing, the rhetorical analysis topics for essay are also of crucial importance as much as the content. Here are some easy rhetorical analysis topics.

  • Why is Disneyland referred to as the Happiest Place on the Planet Earth
  • Why free Sanitary items is essential in every public space
  • The impact of Hip Hop in growing the Feminist Consciousness
  • Ted Talk: How it gives and encourages voices
  • Why Some blogs become Influential within a short period
  • The Myth of Consistency is Key
  • How Access is Key
  • How Shame culture emerged from Respectability Culture
  • Calling Survivors of Abuse Victims is Derogatory
  • How Speaking up exposes Survivors to more Harm
  • Analysis of Cancel Culture and Social Media Justice
  • The Importance of Commercials on Tv
  • How Commercials promote Falsehood
  • The impacts of Colorism and the Issue of Color Complex
  • A Room of One’s Own : The coming of Virginia Woolf before her time
  • A Rhetorical Analysis of Reality Tv
  • This is how Commercials can be more Relatable
  • How Relatability Tv impacts us
  • The importance of Inclusivity, Diversity, and Representation in Popular Culture
  • The Therapeutic effect of Representation
  • The Therapeutic effect of Yoga and Meditation
  • Why Low-income Workers should be exempted from Tax
  • The Ripple Effect of the Internet on Young Adults
  • Where the realistic depiction of Tv begins and ends
  • An Existential analytical approach to the works of Sylvia Path
  • The Rhetorical strategy in Frederick Douglas’ Memoir
  • Rhetoric as style in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream
  • Why the Bob Dylan Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 was deserving
  • Award Culture is slowly Killing Creativity
  • A Historical approach to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

Ideas on Rhetoric Research Paper Topics

Every writing within academia hinges on the effective use of rhetorical situation essay topics; this is because the basis of everything done within academia is to impact ideas through the use of language and this language is usually persuasive in nature even while it seeks to educate.

For university students, it’s most likely very rare that you can run away from rhetoric research paper topics during your school year, in fact, it’s a prerequisite while in school.

It comes in the form of assignments, research, and term papers. If you are looking for topics, there are a variety of good topics to write a rhetorical analysis on. Below is a list of rhetorical analysis assignment ideas.

  • An Analysis of the Rhetorical Device implored in Beowulf
  • A Case study of Contemporary Popular Culture
  • The political and social implications of 90’s Hip Hop
  • A Comparative Analysis of Tv shows and Movies
  • The Futility of the American Dream as explored in F.S Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • The Symbolic exploration of “The Green Light” in The Great Gatsby
  • The Impact of Technological Innovation on American Student’s attention span
  • The Misogyny of the American Entertainment Industry
  • Structural Racism: The Mother of Gentrification
  • The Growing Concern of the Broken American Childcare System
  • The Triumph and the Bold Rhetorics employed in Diversity Tv
  • Restructuring: Why Diversity, Inclusivity, and Representation should be Championed
  • Purity Culture: A social construct that seeks to control women’s body
  • The representation distinction in the movie adaptation of Push and the book
  • A Comparative Analysis of Digital Literature and Traditional Literature
  • Innovation: The growing effects of Technological advancement
  • Late Capitalism: Self-care culture as a tool
  • The need for Inclusivity in the discussion of Beauty Culture
  • American Gun Culture and how it perpetuates greater harm
  • Domestic Violence, Abuse: The Battered Woman Syndrome
  • Affirmative Action: A Tool for Subjugation and Intellectual Relegation of the Minority Communities
  • Race Relations: The future of the American System
  • The Intrinsic effect of the exploration and promotion of interracial marriage on American popular Culture
  • Obesity: The distinction between Fatphobia and a need for Medical Attention
  • The Evolution of Identity Politics within the American System
  • Diversity Higher: Why America Needs a quick Racial intervention
  • A Comparative Study of 90s Hip Hop Culture and early 2010s Hip Hop
  • Rape Culture, Victim Blaming: The need to listen to Survivors
  • The Explicit Way American Hip Hop Explores Abuse and Misogyny
  • The Institutional Bias of the American System

Rhetorical Argument Essay Topics

When writing an argumentative essay, rhetoric is employed as the tool to not just convey thoughts and opinions but also to capture the interest of the audience or reader(s).

In any rhetorical argument essay, the writer must employ ethos, pathos, and logos as this enables the writer to navigate the topic better. For every form of rhetorical argumentative essay, there has to be a thoroughly carried out research, an understanding of the audience, a solid thesis statement, and the use of a writing style that captures attention.

The basis of an argumentative essay is that it must contain persuasive elements, without that, the argument isn’t complete. Here are some rhetorical argument essay topics to look into while writing your essay.

  • Can Drug Abuse be Contained by Legalizing and Regulating certain Drugs?
  • High-end and Fast fashion, how does it contribute to the Unhealthy lifestyle in our environment
  • Does a Democratic system have any significant drawbacks?
  • Why working moms and nursing moms should be given more workplace privilege
  • Why Maternal paid leave should be legalized
  • Is Cyberbullying capable of affecting mental health?
  • Should Diversity Higher, Affirmative Action and Inclusivity be made mandatory?
  • Does Feminism obscure the need for women to lash out at their fellow women?
  • Is Religion really the Opium of the Masses as Suggested by Karl Max?
  • Are there significant drawbacks to marrying off of a Dating App?
  • How Social Media Fame negatively impacts one’s real-life experiences
  • Is the presence of Artificial Intelligence going to lead to human extinction?
  • How hyperactivity on Social media plays out in impacting loneliness
  • Is there a possibility of Electronic money wiping out paper money?
  • Can human society experience growth without the presence of technology?
  • Is the consistent attachment to cell phones contributing to depression and anxiety?
  • Do public cameras infringe on individual privacy?
  • Is sustainable living capable of helping us reverse Climate Change?
  • Limiting Children’s screen time, does it contribute to their academic growth?
  • Should people be encouraged to use Marijuana now its health benefits have been dictated?
  • Are Academic Stress and excessive academic workload a form of psychological torture?
  • Has homeschooling improved the nature and operation of the school system?
  • Does beauty pageantry influence the concept and idea of beauty in society?
  • Is it Ethical to demand maternity leave for fathers?
  • Is Killing a Murderer a Punishable offense?
  • Should High school children be introduced to sex education in school?
  • How does the knowledge of sex education impact high schoolers?
  • Lecturer-Student friendship: is it an ethical practice?
  • Are students supposed to bring school work back home?
  • Impromptu test within the University system: Cancelled or Promoted?
  • Does access to so much information lead to Misinformation?
  • Does homeschooling contribute to students’ anti-socialism?
  • Should College Education be made completely free?
  • Will free education make or mar the performance of the academic institution?
  • Is GPA a sound determinant of intelligence?

Visual Rhetoric Essay Topics

There are different means through which rhetoric can be employed as a communication feature. Rhetorics occur in oral form, in written format as well as in the visual display. Visual rhetoric essay topics detail effective communication that is attained through the use and analysis of visual images, this is what differentiates it from other forms of rhetorical essays.

Communication through visual presentation has been noted to be effective and visual rhetoric makes communication and understanding very easy. It occurs in movies, painting, commercials, and other forms of art exploration.

For college students, especially those majoring in media studies and visual arts, assignments usually fall under visual rhetoric essays and visual text analysis. Here are some of the topics to look at within this subject matter.

  • Analyze the impact of TV Commercials and Ads on consumers
  • A case study of a prominent Hollywood production and the visual arts involved
  • Rhetorical analysis of the emotional appeals employed in web ads
  • Dissecting the ad of a TV Commercial and its implications
  • The emotional appeal within the movie The Help and permeates the entire Movie
  • A critical exploration of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa Painting
  • The use of Lighting and Effect in Movies and what they Signify
  • The Cinematography of a Movie: A Language of its own
  • How Visual Commercials influence us more than Written Commercials
  • An exploration of the use of visuals in marketing
  • Analysis of Yellow Journalism
  • What is the most effective visual ad you’ve seen and how did it influence you towards a product?
  • How Visual ads increase people’s purchasing power
  • An in-depth analysis of effective visual campaigns
  • How TV influences our understanding of and our relation to society

Having a Hard Time Thinking of Rhertorical Analysis Topics?

Writing a rhetorical essay can be quite tasking as it requires that you embark on extensive research, digging through myriad materials in order to have a substantial essay. What is required to achieve a sound essay can really be a lot of work especially if you’re already engulfed with other activities. Nevertheless, there is the presence of fast expert writers online that offer essay writing help to you in any situation. Our essay writing service isn’t just high quality but is also very cheap. You do not just get the value of a great job, but also the promise of high grades and a stress-free and reliable service.

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics: 20 Best Examples to Use

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by  Antony W

September 13, 2022

rhetorical analysis essay topics list

Between the thousands of over-analyzed rhetorical analysis essay topics and innumerable more that are too complicated to write about, it is usually a challenge to pick a good one. 

Ideally, you want a topic that is so common enough that it needs little introduction, yet unique so that your essay is fresh and outstanding.

Some innovative fellows manage to come up with fresh twists on old topics, but this isn't always possible.

We will explore some of the best rhetorical analysis topics to use in your essay, as well as how to choose one when presented with a list of possible ideas.

Qualities of a Good Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topic

A rhetorical analysis essay is a critical evaluation of how a communicator puts their point across and what linguistic devices they employ to do that.

You will be looking at how they manipulate words to achieve the desired effect.

Therefore, the most basic quality is that the work you choose to analyze must be highly compelling and influential as proof of its effectiveness.

This is partly why most students and experts alike choose to stick to world-famous classics. However, that doesn't mean there aren't great works to make interesting topics elsewhere.

Here are the things to watch out for when selecting work for a rhetorical analysis essay.

The topic you choose needs to be fresh if it is to excite any interest.

 Your instructor has probably seen hundreds of essays, if not thousands. 

If you want to impress them, either have a fresh angle or pick one that is not already picked to the bone by other students.

You have probably heard this before: a topic that is not too specific, neither too broad.

You want it to be just right for your essay. 

One that is too wide will need extensive research before you can have enough background to write authoritatively.

One that is too focused will not give you enough material to work with.

3. Personal Interest

Choose a topic that you can relate to or that intrigues you. It might be a favorite writer, a respected orator, a movie you particularly enjoyed, or an all-time top song.

That way, you are assured of enjoying the writing process all the way through and your authenticity will shine through the writing.

You can also choose a topic that is part of your job, a hobby, or that you are well-versed in. It will give you a head start and save time on research.

4. Appeal to Your Audience

Remember that you are writing for an audience and that you expect a good grade out of it.

Think about what kind of topics your instructor would like or at least not object to.

If you will be presenting it in class, go for a topic that your classmates will enjoy.

5. Strong and Clear Arguments

A bland topic will have almost no material for you to write about.

A plain text, speech, video, or other communication will be too dry for you to properly write about.

It will be much better for you if you use one with strong arguments, flowery language, and obvious mastery of literary skills.

This rules out academic and scholarly works because they tend to use dry language without bias.

Bias is what will give you fuel, and the arguments for or against them will form a big part of your essay.

6. Relevance to Contemporary Issues

Review a work that is still relevant to today's issues and controversial topics because those will always draw interest.

7. Well Known Or Common

Choose a topic or work that is famous enough that you don't have to introduce it to your audience in the essay.

If you go for one that is obscure or too new, you will have to give a full breakdown to get the reader on the same page with you.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Writing Help 

Help for Assessments offers lots of useful material to students at all levels, but we don’t stop there.  We will write your rhetorical analysis essay for you and handle any other academic assignment or project you have.

All you need to do is leave us an order, and our outstanding experts will get on it at once.

How to Choose Rhetorical Analysis Topics  

Choosing topics for a rhetorical analysis essay is not very different compared to choosing other essay topics.

You will start with a general topic, narrow it down to an appropriate one that fulfills the above qualities, and select a work covering that topic on which to write the essay.

Please note that fictional works don’t do very well when it comes to rhetorical analysis, so it’s best to avoid them from the get-go.

The same applies to comedic and funny works unless they are meant to address serious and relevant issues in society.

1. Define your objectives

Remember that the objectives for writing a rhetorical analysis essay are different from those of other essays.

You are not trying to prove or disprove the work or even build upon it in any way.

Your main goal is to show that you understand how the communicator uses various tools and techniques to compel or influence the reader.

You might also be looking to prove to your instructor that you can think critically, read between the lines, and perhaps unearth hidden messages.

Defining these objectives is your first step.

2. Brainstorm Topic Ideas

Explore various avenues to get possible ideas for your topic.

These days, you can gather ideas pretty quickly online, especially through platforms such as this one.

You can also watch videos, listen to speeches or podcasts, or even just ask friends, family, and strangers on online forums. Gather all the ideas you get and write them down.

3. Select One or Two that Meet the Criteria

It will be easy to eliminate some of the ideas you have gathered: they are too common, irrelevant, obscure, or challenging.

With the remaining ones, assess them against the given criteria.

You will often come across one or two that appeal strongly to you, so give them special consideration.

4. Look Into Available Research

Whether you have narrowed down to the one you are looking for or not, this stage is essential.

You will want to check on what data is currently available to support your chosen topic.

This is also where you will be checking to see if that topic is too wide, too narrow, or too common.

If you come across any problem here, a change of approach or topic will be easier than having to do it later.

5. Find Works that Interest You Within Your Discipline

For college assignments, you will mostly be reviewing books, articles, and journals.

However, you might also be given speeches, videos, movies, songs, and even pieces of art to analyze.

Other instructors will give you the freedom to choose.

Whichever the case, now is the time to pick out the right work and make sure that it is expressive and rich enough to review.

With this plan, you will find it much easier to select great topics for your rhetorical essay.

Sometimes you may have to mix up the steps a bit, but it’s still a great plan.

We have used it to come up with lots of great sample topics that we are now going to share with you.

20+ Example Topics for Your Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Brainstorm ideas.

  • A new writer, orator, or famous leader you find impactful.
  • A speech or article from a president, CEO, Nobel prize winner, or other respected people.
  • A world-famous movie.
  • A book that influenced your life greatly.
  • Contrasting different writers on a topic, e.g, feminism or ethics.
  • How a certain theme is explored in literature or contemporary media e.g. role of a man as a father figure, hope, ambition, etc.
  • One of the lesser-known classics such as Little Big Man by Thomas Berger.
  • A less-known poem from a famous poet.
  • An influential political work.
  • A scene or part from a dramatic movie, video, or even news on mainstream media.
  • A favorite blogger, vlogger, or Instagram star.
  • The inaugural address of a president.
  • A sermon from a favorite preacher.
  • A monologue from a famous play, e.g. Shakespear.
  • Acceptance speech during an award, e.g. Pink’s acceptance speech in the 2017 VMA awards.

Sample Topics

  • Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech The Great Dictator.
  • Obama’s “ A More Perfect Union.”
  • Obama’s inaugural address in 2009.
  • Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech.
  • The movie Thank You for Smoking.
  • Superbowl ads (choose one effective one) or any other timeless ad.
  • Plato’s Republic.
  • Mona Lisa’s smile (if you are very good at art and can fill 4 pages with it.)
  • Silent Voices in Three Poems.
  • Charles Spurgeon sermons.
  • Clifford’s The Ethics of Belief.
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
  • A poem by Edgar Allan Poe, Raven. 
  • Analyze the theme of loyalty in Barn Burning by William Faulkner.
  • Discuss solitude in literature.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

Cathy A.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics & Ideas for Students

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Published on: Jul 23, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

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Rhetorical essay is a challenging task for some students, and it requires proper planning and time. In this type of essay, topic selection is the main thing, and many writers confuse it when choosing a topic for the essay. This blog will help you in selecting a topic for a rhetorical essay.

In a rhetorical analysis essay, the writer defines a problem, deeply analyzes it, makes a specific argument related to the topic, and supports it with strong evidence. It is a form of academic essay writing about a piece of literature, art, or a speech.

Writing a good rhetorical essay needs enough information that you analyze it quickly. This type of essay teaches you many skills and improves your thinking. The writer thinks critically and performs an objective analysis.

For essay writers, this essay becomes the most challenging task, and it requires that the writer evaluate the purpose of the original content. Writing a rhetorical analysis essay requires the ability to analyze the language.

Numerous analytical papers differ by the object of analysis like you can analyze the movie, book, phenomenon, etc. The papers’ structure will be the same, but the only difference is the context you provide.

This type of essay writing requires an understanding of the subject matter and intended audience. The rhetorical essay is not a narrative or a reflective piece of essay writing, but the writer’s opinion still matters.

If you are writing a rhetorical essay choosing the right topic is the first thing that makes your writing phase easier. It becomes a daunting task if you don’t know how to choose the right topic for a rhetorical essay.

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Rhetorical analysis essay topic selection becomes a difficult task for some writers. If you are looking for rhetorical analysis essay topics for your  college essay , then you are in the right place. Here are the best topics for a rhetorical analysis essay that you can use for your academic assignment. Choose from them and write an effective essay.

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Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics 2022

  • Obama’s Final Farewell Speech
  • Speech from President Trump
  • Analyze Edgar Allen Poe’s poem ‘Raven.’
  • The recipe for a happy life
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • A nation among nations
  • The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz
  • England in 1819” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
  • A popular song
  • William Shakespeare. King Lear.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics on Movies

  • Analyze a famous historical movie
  • The insider
  • Write an analysis of Romeo and Juliet
  • Sam Worthington in Avatar
  • The Great Gatsby
  • A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Octavia Spencer in the Help

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics for College Students

  • One Direction’s “Story of My Life”
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech
  • “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls
  • Inaugural address by President Joseph R. Biden
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
  • Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” from 1497
  • Analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.
  • “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.
  • Animal Farm

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics about Speeches

  • Speech from Finding Forrester
  • Charlie Chaplin The Great Dictator
  • How does Mahatma Gandhi persuade the listener to Quit India, 1942?
  • Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the Youth Takeover of the United Nations
  • Queen Elizabeth’s intentions in Spanish Armada speech, 1588.
  • Chief Joseph “Surrender Speech”
  • Gettysburg Monologue in Remember the Titans
  • Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”
  • Analysis of the farewell address of a famous president
  • “Every Man a King” by Huey Pierce Long.

Easy Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.
  • Web of fries
  • Enough movie
  • A favorite poem was written by William Shakespeare.
  • Silent Voices In Three Poems
  • "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" Analysis
  • Importance of theme of hope in literature
  • An impactful new writer
  • "Huckleberry Finn" Rhetorical Analysis
  • The importance symbolism plays in novels

Funny Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Do you love your family members or not?
  • Bananas are delicious fruit for children.
  • Are vegetables rich in the winter or summer season?
  • The fact does not support the rhetorical questions.
  • Do you like your friends or not?
  • How do the monkeys live in the zoo?
  • "Yes, Please" By Amy Poehler
  • "Witches Loaves" By O'Henry
  • Commonly used rhetorical devices
  • Do bees bring honey or not?
  • Flowers are the eyes of nature

Visual Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Yellow journalism
  • Culture and arts
  • Art through history
  • Analyze a piece of work from the Parks library
  • Show the use of sound, music, and narration in presentations
  • Is advertising making people materialistic
  • Art comparison over decades
  • “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • The rhetoric of blogs and online writing.
  • The Painted Veil

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics about Advertisements

  • California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk?
  • Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth.
  • Macdonald: “I'm lovin' it”
  • Apple: Think Different.
  • M&M: Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands
  • Pepsi: That's What I Like
  • Panasonic: Ideas for Life
  • Harley Davidson: All for Freedom. Freedom for All
  • L’Oréal: Because You’re Worth It
  • Nike: There Is No Finish Line.

How to Choose a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topic?

A rhetorical analysis essay might be a problem for students, especially if they choose a tough topic for the essay. Pick a good topic for an essay, and solve several writing problems.

Every writer wants to make their writing piece interesting and encourage the reader to read the entire essay. It all depends on the essay topic; if the topic is good, it automatically grabs the target audience’s attention.

The topic is the first thing that grabs the reader’s attention. The topic of the essay should be strong and effective.

Choosing the right topic for an essay becomes a difficult job for some writers. Here are the few tips that every writer should follow when selecting the topic for a rhetorical essay.

Firstly define your objective before choosing the topic. Choose the topic that interests you and make sure that the topic has scope for research or writing. Write on something that you have no idea about or no wider scope; it makes your writing process tough.

Never write about something that is not interesting and boring. If you make your writing phase easier, choose a good interesting topic, and start researching it.

Brainstorming helps the writer in the topic selection phase. Never choose a topic that is too narrow, and you have no resources. Brainstorm the ideas and note down on the paper, choose the one you find interesting, and have enough information.

But one thing to keep in mind if you have so much information, it will take weeks to learn what you need to compose your analysis.

Choose the topic carefully after brainstorming and create a well-crafted essay.

When choosing the topic for an essay, one thing to keep in mind is that you have little knowledge about it. Write about something unfamiliar to you will not make your essay a successful one.

Gather data for the essay from the relevant sources, and you know about the topic. Otherwise, it becomes a strenuous task for you.

If your teacher gives you a choice to choose the topic, then reflect your interest in the topic.

Research is another way of picking the right topic for essays. Make a list of topics that you find interesting in the brainstorming phase. When you finally choose the topic for the essay, start the research process.

Do some background research and gather relevant information about the topic. If you collect enough information that you want, then make this topic final for your essay.

Choose the topic by knowing your opposing viewpoints, and you must have an argument. If you gather information, then collect from sources with different audiences for truly opposing viewpoints.

Never choose a topic that you do not know about anything; otherwise, you will spend months learning the opposing viewpoints’ background details.

Choose a topic that shows the present viewpoints and beliefs in the essay through analysis.

After some research, you will be still unable to choose a topic for an essay, then consult your teacher for guidance. The list you prepare in the brainstorming phase shows them to your teacher and asks them for help. They guide you better in the essay topic section phase and reduce your stress.

Uncommon topics are hard to write and become difficult for the reader to understand. If you choose a topic that is not so common, then you will never get relevant data. Uncommon topics are not a good way of choosing a topic; it makes your writing phase tough.

Tips for Writing the Best Rhetorical Essay

Writers always follow tips and create a successful essay. Here are some tips that give your essay a professional touch, and you can get grades from your teacher.

  • The essay topic should be catchy and attention-grabbing, so the reader reads the whole essay.
  • The opening paragraph of the essay should be catchy and interesting.
  • Use correct transitions in the body paragraphs.
  • Summarize the main points in the conclusion section.
  • Use simple sentences and try to avoid obscure words or sentences.
  • Gather information from relevant sources such as research papers, articles, books, journals, and government/organization websites.
  • Make your essay authentic and not add fake information.

Writing a rhetorical paper is not a difficult task if you follow proper guidelines. The topic of the essay also plays a vital role in a good essay.

If you get better grades and need professional help from  CollegeEssay.org . Try our AI essay generator and get an essay in no time.

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  • How to write a literary analysis essay | A step-by-step guide

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on January 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis , nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.

Before beginning a literary analysis essay, it’s essential to carefully read the text and c ome up with a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, follow the standard structure of an academic essay :

  • An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
  • A main body, divided into paragraphs , that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
  • A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.

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Table of contents

Step 1: reading the text and identifying literary devices, step 2: coming up with a thesis, step 3: writing a title and introduction, step 4: writing the body of the essay, step 5: writing a conclusion, other interesting articles.

The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.

Your goal in literary analysis is not simply to explain the events described in the text, but to analyze the writing itself and discuss how the text works on a deeper level. Primarily, you’re looking out for literary devices —textual elements that writers use to convey meaning and create effects. If you’re comparing and contrasting multiple texts, you can also look for connections between different texts.

To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.

Language choices

Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?

What word choices stand out as interesting or unusual? Are words used figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition? Figurative language includes things like metaphor (e.g. “her eyes were oceans”) and simile (e.g. “her eyes were like oceans”).

Also keep an eye out for imagery in the text—recurring images that create a certain atmosphere or symbolize something important. Remember that language is used in literary texts to say more than it means on the surface.

Narrative voice

Ask yourself:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • How are they telling it?

Is it a first-person narrator (“I”) who is personally involved in the story, or a third-person narrator who tells us about the characters from a distance?

Consider the narrator’s perspective . Is the narrator omniscient (where they know everything about all the characters and events), or do they only have partial knowledge? Are they an unreliable narrator who we are not supposed to take at face value? Authors often hint that their narrator might be giving us a distorted or dishonest version of events.

The tone of the text is also worth considering. Is the story intended to be comic, tragic, or something else? Are usually serious topics treated as funny, or vice versa ? Is the story realistic or fantastical (or somewhere in between)?

Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.

  • Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
  • Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
  • Plays are divided into scenes and acts.

Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.

There are also less formal structural elements to take into account. Does the story unfold in chronological order, or does it jump back and forth in time? Does it begin in medias res —in the middle of the action? Does the plot advance towards a clearly defined climax?

With poetry, consider how the rhyme and meter shape your understanding of the text and your impression of the tone. Try reading the poem aloud to get a sense of this.

In a play, you might consider how relationships between characters are built up through different scenes, and how the setting relates to the action. Watch out for  dramatic irony , where the audience knows some detail that the characters don’t, creating a double meaning in their words, thoughts, or actions.

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Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.

If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:

Essay question example

Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?

Your thesis statement should be an answer to this question—not a simple yes or no, but a statement of why this is or isn’t the case:

Thesis statement example

Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is not a religious parable, but a story about bureaucratic alienation.

Sometimes you’ll be given freedom to choose your own topic; in this case, you’ll have to come up with an original thesis. Consider what stood out to you in the text; ask yourself questions about the elements that interested you, and consider how you might answer them.

Your thesis should be something arguable—that is, something that you think is true about the text, but which is not a simple matter of fact. It must be complex enough to develop through evidence and arguments across the course of your essay.

Say you’re analyzing the novel Frankenstein . You could start by asking yourself:

Your initial answer might be a surface-level description:

The character Frankenstein is portrayed negatively in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .

However, this statement is too simple to be an interesting thesis. After reading the text and analyzing its narrative voice and structure, you can develop the answer into a more nuanced and arguable thesis statement:

Mary Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

Remember that you can revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process , so it doesn’t need to be perfectly formulated at this stage. The aim is to keep you focused as you analyze the text.

Finding textual evidence

To support your thesis statement, your essay will build an argument using textual evidence —specific parts of the text that demonstrate your point. This evidence is quoted and analyzed throughout your essay to explain your argument to the reader.

It can be useful to comb through the text in search of relevant quotations before you start writing. You might not end up using everything you find, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence as you write, but collecting textual evidence from the beginning will help you to structure your arguments and assess whether they’re convincing.

To start your literary analysis paper, you’ll need two things: a good title, and an introduction.

Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you’re analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.

A common approach to the title is to use a relevant quote from the text, followed by a colon and then the rest of your title.

If you struggle to come up with a good title at first, don’t worry—this will be easier once you’ve begun writing the essay and have a better sense of your arguments.

“Fearful symmetry” : The violence of creation in William Blake’s “The Tyger”

The introduction

The essay introduction provides a quick overview of where your argument is going. It should include your thesis statement and a summary of the essay’s structure.

A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.

Then you can end with a brief indication of what’s coming up in the main body of the essay. This is called signposting. It will be more elaborate in longer essays, but in a short five-paragraph essay structure, it shouldn’t be more than one sentence.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

Some students prefer to write the introduction later in the process, and it’s not a bad idea. After all, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall shape of your arguments once you’ve begun writing them!

If you do write the introduction first, you should still return to it later to make sure it lines up with what you ended up writing, and edit as necessary.

The body of your essay is everything between the introduction and conclusion. It contains your arguments and the textual evidence that supports them.

Paragraph structure

A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs : the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion.

Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis. Don’t try to include everything you can think of to say about the text—only analysis that drives your argument.

In longer essays, the same principle applies on a broader scale. For example, you might have two or three sections in your main body, each with multiple paragraphs. Within these sections, you still want to begin new paragraphs at logical moments—a turn in the argument or the introduction of a new idea.

Robert’s first encounter with Gil-Martin suggests something of his sinister power. Robert feels “a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him.” He identifies the moment of their meeting as “the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it” (p. 89). Gil-Martin’s “invisible power” seems to be at work even at this distance from the moment described; before continuing the story, Robert feels compelled to anticipate at length what readers will make of his narrative after his approaching death. With this interjection, Hogg emphasizes the fatal influence Gil-Martin exercises from his first appearance.

Topic sentences

To keep your points focused, it’s important to use a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.

A good topic sentence allows a reader to see at a glance what the paragraph is about. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous paragraph. Transition words like “however” or “moreover” are useful for creating smooth transitions:

… The story’s focus, therefore, is not upon the divine revelation that may be waiting beyond the door, but upon the mundane process of aging undergone by the man as he waits.

Nevertheless, the “radiance” that appears to stream from the door is typically treated as religious symbolism.

This topic sentence signals that the paragraph will address the question of religious symbolism, while the linking word “nevertheless” points out a contrast with the previous paragraph’s conclusion.

Using textual evidence

A key part of literary analysis is backing up your arguments with relevant evidence from the text. This involves introducing quotes from the text and explaining their significance to your point.

It’s important to contextualize quotes and explain why you’re using them; they should be properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory:

It isn’t always necessary to use a quote. Quoting is useful when you’re discussing the author’s language, but sometimes you’ll have to refer to plot points or structural elements that can’t be captured in a short quote.

In these cases, it’s more appropriate to paraphrase or summarize parts of the text—that is, to describe the relevant part in your own words:

The conclusion of your analysis shouldn’t introduce any new quotations or arguments. Instead, it’s about wrapping up the essay. Here, you summarize your key points and try to emphasize their significance to the reader.

A good way to approach this is to briefly summarize your key arguments, and then stress the conclusion they’ve led you to, highlighting the new perspective your thesis provides on the text as a whole:

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.

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