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.