Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment
MLA format: Times New Roman, 12 size font, one-inch margins, double-spaced, correct headings
3-4 pages long
Will turn in outline, rough draft, final draft.
We will use rhetorical analysis to examine how a speaker or writer attempts to achieve his/her purpose(s) in a speech or essay. In your essay, you will identify strategies/devices used in the speech or essay and analyze how the writer or speaker uses strategies/devices to represent his or her position. You also will consider how the speaker/writer uses logos, ethos, and pathos to convey his/her purpose to the audience, which means you will need to assess how the speaker/writer appeals to the audience’s emotions, values, and/or experiences. Finally, as you consider how the speaker/writer attempts to achieve his or her purpose on this occasion with this audience, you will want to examine the evidence and claims that are made about the topic. The persona of the author, the attitudes of the audience, and evidence about the topic provide three types of appeals:
1. Ethos (How does the writer establish expertise and moral authority?)
2. Pathos (What appeals are made to the readers’ emotions?)
3. Logos (What arguments and evidence are used?)
As you examine your speech or essay, consider the events and issues occurring at the time of the literary work. Here are “things” to consider while analyzing the speech or essay:
How does the speaker/writer want to be perceived? (vocabulary, diction, tone, etc.)
What is the author’s intention, purpose, or goal? (This will help create your thesis)
What is the subject?
Who is the audience? (not just intended or targeted…who else will “hear” what is being said. Think “word of mouth,” gossip, etc.)
What is the context? Time? Place? Sense of urgency?
How is the speech or essay organized? Look at how the speaker/writer begins and ends. Look at transitions within the speech or essay. Look at syntax.
With regards to the use of devices and strategies, think “why” does the speaker/writer use a specific word or phrase. Then, write “how” he/she uses this specific word or phrase to convey his/her purpose. This will help with connecting textual evidence
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