What is a rhetorical analysis?

Definition and instructions for rhetorical analysis.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, rhetoric is "the art of using language effectively to persuade or influence others" especially by using certain parts of speech or techniques.  Therefore, a rhetorical analysis would be the critical examination of those parts of speech or techniques.

A rhetorical analysis is not ...

  • a summary of a literary work or scholarly article;
  • an explanation of the meaning of a literary work or article;
  • a character or plot analysis.

A rhetorical analysis is ...

  • an explanation of how an author writes rather than what an author writes;
  • an examination of the strategies used by the author in achieving the purpose of the written work.
  • the evaluation of images, color, positioning, and choice of prop(s) or character(s) within a visual message

The English guide provides access to electronic books on rhetoric and rhetorical analysis.  A link to that content is provided below.

An English instructor has also provided a sample paper of a rhetorical analysis of a magazine advertisement.  The link is provided below.

For more detailed information, the Writing Center of Texas A & M University has an excellent guide to the rhetorical analysis.  The link is provided below.

  • Last Updated Oct 16, 2018
  • Views 554
  • Answered By Chilton Campus Librarian

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0 0

How can we help you?

If you didn't find what your answer, use this form to request more information or ask us your specific question!

Your Info

Provide a valid email address so we can respond to your question.

Fields marked with * are required.