rhetorical analysis

Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Template and Examples

When writing essays in school, you will learn to write multiple forms of analysis. The most familiar form will be the standard five-paragraph essay, with an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Today, you will be learning about how to write and format a rhetorical analysis, as well as understanding what makes a good rhetorical analysis essay.


What is a Rhetorical Analysis Essay about?


A rhetorical analysis essay is usually a critical review of another’s work. It is not a summary of the work, but a thorough investigation into the writer’s intent when writing the piece. The author of the rhetorical analysis will examine the elements of writing in the article they analyze. The elements analyzed can include an author’s intended audience, the nature of syntax, and how they use the rhetorical elements of logos, ethos, or pathos in their work.


How is Rhetorical Analysis structured?


A rhetorical analysis comes with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, similar to a traditional high school essay, but with minor, but important, differences. Here are some suggestions on how to format the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion of a rhetorical analysis.


  • Introduction/Rhetorical precis– In a rhetorical analysis, the introduction can also be referred to as a rhetorical precis. In the first sentence, you should give the name of the author whose piece you are analyzing, the title or authority for which they are writing the essay, and a strong verb (assert, claim, etc.) to connect to the claim this author makes in this piece. Make sure this is where you first address your prompt. The next sentence should be a brief explanation of the author’s methods in how they establish their message. Finally, define the author’s purpose and audience for their piece and describe how the author interacts with the audience through their writing. The last sentence will be your thesis statement, which should be well attuned to answer the prompt and explain your purpose in writing this rhetorical analysis.
  • Body Paragraphs- The body paragraphs are where your reasoning and analysis will be found. The topic sentence will discuss one particular strategy used in the rhetorical piece being analyzed. Then what will follow is a short description of the rhetorical method and textual evidence of where it is being used. To further support your assertion regarding the rhetorical analysis strategy, mention other relevant examples in the work and write out your thoughts on how effectively it helps the author support their argument in their writing. The final sentence of each body paragraph should clearly link back to your thesis statement. It is good to have 2-3 body paragraphs written in a rhetorical analysis so that your reader can see you have considered multiple elements of the author’s writing in your rhetorical analysis.
  • Conclusion- With the conclusion of your essay, the first sentence should always restate your thesis statement or claim. What follows after that is a series of brief highlights about the analysis you have already made in the body of your rhetorical analysis. When restating your main supporting points, there should also be an emphasis on the significance of the rhetorical elements already discussed as well. New information should never be introduced at the end of the essay. The final sentence should help close out your thesis statement and essay.



As long as this template is followed when constructing your rhetorical analysis, it will not be difficult to get your point and critiques across. I will add a few more suggestions to ensure you put your best writing forward.


  • Do have a clear thesis statement to center your analysis around.
  • Do not take a side when writing the piece. Your opinions about the author’s. writing should be supported by evidence and focused only on the writing alone.
  • Do highlight rhetorical devices present in the writing.
  • Do not summarize the original work.
  • Do provide useful examples in the essay.
  • Do not add new information at the end of the essay. Keep it focused on the points already discussed.



Below I will note some examples of rhetoric that would be great to do an analysis on. Note that these are not all speeches or essays. Rhetoric exists in all forms of communication; therefore it is possible to do a rhetorical analysis of many forms of media communication.


  • “I Have A Dream” Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.-
  • Amy’s monologue in Little Women (2019)
  • “Mother Knows Best” in Tangled
  • “Infamy” Speech by FDR following the bombing of Pearl Harbor


With all this in mind, I wish you all the best when writing your next rhetorical analysis!



Author: Maaida Kirmani



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