Constructing Your AnalysisEdit

Jeffrey Hunter - Comp. 2 Shiloh Peters

In a rhetorical analysis you will look at the author's purpose. (to persuade, entertain, or inform) When deciding what to write about, you must also construct your own ideas on what you thought the author was trying to do, and what he did well. When writing a rhetorical analysis you should not take a position on the argument you are describing. Instead, you should just describe what the argument is, and whether or not the author's argument was effective. In your paper you could include whether you thought the author's logic and evidence was sound, and why you thought so. This is just an example of the many things you could include in your paper ranging from the tone the author uses, to how strong you thought the author's argument was.

Another important thing to remember when writing a rhetorical analysis, is that it does not always have to be over a specific article. You can always do a rhetorical analysis over a video, or even a song, as long as you describe the author's argument and if they did a good job making that point. You must also describe how the author makes the argument, or the way they portray their point to the audience.

Many authors use appeals such as ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethical appeals focus on common ethics that are shared by the general public. You can begin by looking at the credentials of the author such as, their level of education, or degree they have. Logical appeals tend to focus on a sense of rationality and reason. With logos, authors will usually try to reason what is going to happen in the future based on the facts of the present. When analyzing this aspect, you can look at the sources the author credited to see if they are reliable or not. Pathos is a form of speech where the author is trying to pull on the heartstrings of the audience. When analyzing an appeal such as pathos, you can look ask yourself something along the lines of "Was this an unfairly emotional appeal?". These three appeals are what authors use to try to earn the approval of the audience, so you must decide whether you think the author achieves that or not.

Rhetorical analyses usually include three parts. The thesis, body, and conclusion. Your thesis should always be what you know you can write about the most, (correctly that is), where you can make the strongest points, and it should also set up the organization of the rest of your paper.

The body will include several paragraphs and will be the main content of the paper. Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that sets up what you will be talking about, and should end with a sentence that leads into your next paragraph. By doing both of these things, you can insure that the reader will not be lost and will better understand your paper as a whole. Remember that your body paragraphs should follow in the same order that you mention in your introduction or thesis in order to keep your paper organized. Each paragraph will focus on different aspects in the author's paper and discuss how those aspects affected the author's argument. One of the first things you should mention in your body is the reason for the text, and if you don't know then you should try to guess. You could also mention such aspects as, whether the topic of the author's paper is one that is known by many, or if it is a topic that is sensitive to the public.  Within each paragraph you should also be giving some textual evidence or examples and explain those examples. By quoting different sources you can better explain what you are saying in your paper and it will help the reader to follow along.

Finally the conclusion should restate the main points of your paper, point out the author's message, and the effects that the author's message has had. You can also compare which parts of the author's argument you found to be more effective than others, and why those parts were effective or not. The final portion of your conclusion should end with stating whether or not you think the author's argument was effective or not. An important tip to keep in mind throughout the writing process of your paper, is to never use the word YOU. This singles out the audience and can confuse the reader.

Including all of these aspects in your paper is what makes it a rhetorical analysis and will keep you on track to the correct format. Each of these aspects will guide you in creating your own rhetorical analysis.