Organizing Your Analysis
This resource covers how to write a rhetorical analysis essay of primarily visual texts with a focus on demonstrating the author’s understanding of the rhetorical situation and design principles.
Contributors:Mark Pepper, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2015-08-30 05:01:04
There is no one perfect way to organize a rhetorical analysis essay. In fact, writers should always be a bit leery of plug-in formulas that offer a perfect essay format. Remember, organization itself is not the enemy, only organization without considering the specific demands of your particular writing task. That said, here are some general tips for plotting out the overall form of your essay.
Like any rhetorical analysis essay, an essay analyzing a visual document should quickly set the stage for what you’re doing. Try to cover the following concerns in the initial paragraphs:
- Make sure to let the reader know you’re performing a rhetorical analysis. Otherwise, they may expect you to take positions or make an evaluative argument that may not be coming.
- Clearly state what the document under consideration is and possibly give some pertinent background information about its history or development. The intro can be a good place for a quick, narrative summary of the document. The key word here is “quick, for you may be dealing with something large (for example, an entire episode of a cartoon like the Simpsons). Save more in-depth descriptions for your body paragraph analysis.
- If you’re dealing with a smaller document (like a photograph or an advertisement), and copyright allows, the introduction or first page is a good place to integrate it into your page.
- Give a basic run down of the rhetorical situation surrounding the document: the author, the audience, the purpose, the context, etc.
Thesis Statements and Focus
Many authors struggle with thesis statements or controlling ideas in regards to rhetorical analysis essays. There may be a temptation to think that merely announcing the text as a rhetorical analysis is purpose enough. However, especially depending on your essay’s length, your reader may need a more direct and clear statement of your intentions. Below are a few examples.
1. Clearly narrow the focus of what your essay will cover. Ask yourself if one or two design aspects of the document is interesting and complex enough to warrant a full analytical treatment.
The website for Amazon.com provides an excellent example of alignment and proximity to assist its visitors in navigating a potentially large and confusing amount of information.
2. Since visual documents often seek to move people towards a certain action (buying a product, attending an event, expressing a sentiment), an essay may analyze the rhetorical techniques used to accomplish this purpose. The thesis statement should reflect this goal.
The call-out flyer for the Purdue Rowing Team uses a mixture of dynamic imagery and tantalizing promises to create interest in potential, new members.
3. Rhetorical analysis can also easily lead to making original arguments. Performing the analysis may lead you to an argument; or vice versa, you may start with an argument and search for proof that supports it.
A close analysis of the female body images in the July 2007 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine reveals contradictions between the articles’ calls for self-esteem and the advertisements’ unrealistic, beauty demands.
These are merely suggestions. The best measure for what your focus and thesis statement should be the document itself and the demands of your writing situation. Remember that the main thrust of your thesis statement should be on how the document creates meaning and accomplishes its purposes. The OWl has additional information on writing thesis statements.
Analysis Order (Body Paragraphs)
Depending on the genre and size of the document under analysis, there are a number of logical ways to organize your body paragraphs. Below are a few possible options. Which ever you choose, the goal of your body paragraphs is to present parts of the document, give an extended analysis of how that part functions, and suggest how the part ties into a larger point (your thesis statement or goal).
This is the most straight-forward approach, but it can also be effective if done for a reason (as opposed to not being able to think of another way). For example, if you are analyzing a photo essay on the web or in a booklet, a chronological treatment allows you to present your insights in the same order that a viewer of the document experiences those images. It is likely that the images have been put in that order and juxtaposed for a reason, so this line of analysis can be easily integrated into the essay.
Be careful using chronological ordering when dealing with a document that contains a narrative (i.e. a television show or music video). Focusing on the chronological could easily lead you to plot summary which is not the point of a rhetorical analysis.
A spatial ordering covers the parts of a document in the order the eye is likely to scan them. This is different than chronological order, for that is dictated by pages or screens where spatial order concerns order amongst a single page or plane. There are no unwavering guidelines for this, but you can use the following general guidelines.
- Left to right and top to down is still the normal reading and scanning pattern for English-speaking countries.
- The eye will naturally look for centers. This may be the technical center of the page or the center of the largest item on the page.
- Lines are often used to provide directions and paths for the eye to follow.
- Research has shown that on web pages, the eye tends to linger in the top left quadrant before moving left to right. Only after spending a considerable amount of time on the top, visible portion of the page will they then scroll down.
The classic, rhetorical appeals are logos, pathos, and ethos. These concepts roughly correspond to the logic, emotion, and character of the document’s attempt to persuade. You can find more information on these concepts elsewhere on the OWL. Once you understand these devices, you could potentially order your essay by analyzing the document’s use of logos, ethos, and pathos in different sections.
The conclusion of a rhetorical analysis essay may not operate too differently from the conclusion of any other kind of essay. Still, many writers struggle with what a conclusion should or should not do. You can find tips elsewhere on the OWL on writing conclusions. In short, however, you should restate your main ideas and explain why they are important; restate your thesis; and outline further research or work you believe should be completed to further your efforts.
In the rhetorical analysis essay, you’ll have to write about the writing. You would think it is something complicated, but our article is ready to help. This type of writing assignment requires you to disrupt phrases and words of the author in order to find out the real sense. In such a way, you’ll distinguish the unique writing style of the author. It will be possible to define strategies which he used to interact with the reader. Only with the help of his own style combined, he can get a reaction. Persuasive methods also matter in creating an impression.
If you have to write a rhetorical analysis essay, probably you will analyze the speeches of politicians, artists or other influential figures. If you have to analyze the text, find out its strategies, and give an explanation:
- How do all of the parts of the persuasive phrases work together?
- Do they have the right effect on target audience?
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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Preparation Stage
If you want to succeed with your rhetorical analysis essay on the exam, the efficient preparation is needed. AP exam always has strict time limits. That’s why a well-conducted preparation can ensure high test score. Don’t waste your time on just reading. Take the notes! You have not much time for reading. It’s important to allocate time for analyzing before writing. If you take notes from the very beginning of your reading, it can significantly simplify the presence of analysis. It’s better for you to keep in mind such questions as:
- Who was the author of the text?
- What did he intend to say?
- Who was the reader of chosen analyzed piece?
- What was the particular purpose of the text?
- What was the expected result plus forecast?
Keep all these questions in your mind and try to give the answers. All author’s strategies and persuasive phrases will be in a full view.
If you don’t know where to get a great rhetorical analysis essay example, you can find support on this website.
SOAPSTone: What Does It Stand for in Rhetorical Analysis Example Essay?
Define your SOAPSTone. This abbreviation includes six critical elements:
- The speaker identifies author’s initials. When there are any credentials that point to the writer’s authority on the subject, you must take it into account as well. Mind that the narrator and writer might be different, so you may refer to both of them.
- The occasion is the type of the content along with its context. A student can notice a significant difference between a research paper developed for the scientific conference and a memo composed to an expert in the studied field. An essay may be written on different occasions.
- The target audience consists of your readers. The information you provide and techniques used depend on whom you wish to impress. The information may be given to other students to understand some topic. Information given to field professionals should include more facts. In other words, audience and occasion are interrelated. To present a rhetorical analysis paper to the right reader, the writer has to focus on scientists, researchers, or field experts as in the example above.
- The original purpose is all about the main point of the paper. What do you want readers to know? For what reason have you conducted a research on particular topic? Selling a product/service is the possible purpose of your article.
- The subject is simply the topic of your essay, article, or research paper.
Strategies you implement are usually defined as the tone of your information. Here is the summary of tone types:
- Diction + Tropes
- Syntax + Schemes
- Details + Lack of Details
Explaining Ethos, Logos, and Pathos on the Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example
Pathos, logos, and ethos (a.k.a. modes of persuasion) have different senses based on the beginnings of a human mind: sensual, mental and moral parts of the personality.
Logos usually appeals to logic. It communicates with the rational part of the mind. The author uses rational thinking methods to reach out to the audience and to persuade the reader using rational reasons.
“Centuries of history has taught people that there are peaceful ways to achieve mutual understanding.”
The pathos communicates through emotions. In this part of writing, the author talks with the readers’ emotions. He uses the special way of expressing feelings.
“The committee will accept your ideas as they are all based on the credible evidence from the official company’s report.”
The ethos sentences call to human’s ethics.
“Chiefs from Japan recommend this version of receipt while cooking fish!”
In every English AP exam, the text would necessarily contain at least one persuasive method. You’ll have to figure it out and analyze its effect.
10 Most Effective Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics of All Times
Need a great topic before start working on your rhetorical analysis essay example?
- Thank People for Smoking
- What about the role of three witches in “Macbeth?”
- Analysis of the Presidential speech by Obama. What mood did it have?
- Analyze information presented in Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln
- William Wallace Believes in His Men
- Did Martin Luther King Believe in ‘His Dream?”
- Tattoos, piercing, and rock clothing symbolize freedom and human right to choose
- Persuade students in the importance of school uniforms
- Provide an analysis of the moving speech you have personally experienced
- Analyze “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe
Some of these rhetorical analysis examples may generate specifically precise vocabularies to convey meaning.
Quick Help with Any Topic
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline
When you finish reading and analyzing, it’s time for making an outline of the analysis. Use lecture notes, find out all strategies. If we talk about the essay structure, it’s better to follow common rules and to include 5 or 6 paragraphs in your text. It is a quite reliable writing technique. Use it to satisfy the application commission/jury. Make sure that the paragraphs are approximately equal.
How to Write an Introduction to a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Body Paragraphs of the Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Explain the thesis and persuasive statements of the author. Devote each paragraph to a particular strategy. Your successful analysis and explanation of the thesis should always answer next questions:
- What is the strategy?
- Does the strategy actually work?
- Are there any working examples of the strategy?
- What was this particular strategy used for?
- Did this strategy have an effect on the audience?
- What feeling does this strategy provoke?
Take into account also diction and tone and don’t forget about the length of sentences.
Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion
Main Rhetorical Analysis Tips
You’ve finished writing your text, but it’s too early to relax. You still have to read some useful information on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay. If you have at least 5 minutes before the exam is over, you can use them in order to make your essay as perfect as possible. Here comes the detailed checklist going through which any writer will have a great opportunity to raise his essay’s quality!
Do not overload your rhetorical essay with unnecessary information. The introductory paragraph and conclusion should be the shortest parts. The best size would be around 500-750 words (if the teacher did not mention word count in the requirements).
Use all diversity of your vocabulary. It is a good way to get some additional points from your professor. It will show you as a well-skilled student who can write in different ways and can meet all requirements.
Don’t consider this point dull. It may seem too obvious, but nobody, including course professor, likes to read a text with grammar and punctuation errors. Check your text for any problems with sentence structure. Alternate long and short sentences with smart balance. Try to avoid all kinds of abbreviations.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example:
- Use Present Tense Mostly
It will be better to use Present Tense in your rhetorical essay. It is an unspoken rule for academic assignments. Just make sure that you build your arguments in the present tense, and you’ll avoid any confusions. Besides, it makes the reader of the writing piece feel like all happens at the exact moment.
Choose the right writing style and the correct transition words. It is important to understand that the smoother the text seems when it is read, the clearer the statements and the content will be. Use only correct punctuations when it is needed. Build strong and clear transitions as your text must flow like a river. Be consistent: don’t jump from one point to another. Stick to the general logic of every persuasive argument.
- Using Up-to-Date Techniques
Try to select the most recent sources as well as writing techniques. It is important to dedicate some time to learn different strategies used by the modern writers and scholars. Don’t make your analysis essay too strict and boring. Keep to the point, but try to enrich the text with some unexpected ideas.
- Gaining Experience from the Great Examples
Start searching for the great examples of rhetorical analysis essays from the very beginning. Find one on the topic similar to your main point. Follow the given outline or even rewrite the whole text using your original approach.
- Strong Supporting Words to Apply
Any example of rhetorical analysis includes strong arguments made of powerful descriptive adverbs and adjectives. Write down the following adjectives to describe the analyzed article or speech:
It is the last but not the least point. When you write the rhetorical analysis essay, remember that its main aim is to explain the impact of every device that was used by the author. Don’t list the arguments and devices. Analyze and explain their effectiveness.
- Always Proofread and Edit
Revision is one of the most important parts of writing an academic essay. There are many ways to make your final draft clear and free of mistakes in English. Various software may help to fix errors. Ask your parents or mates to help you with your assignment. You can also order editing from the English-speaking writers online.
We understand that it may seem not so easy. This sort of essay writing is a confusing and complicated option. Students have to take some practice to complete A+ writing piece. But if you have no time to practice and want to submit successful writing piece, it’s not a problem anymore. Nerdymates, the most reliable essay writing service on the web, provides an opportunity to get guaranteed great essay. They have a team of professional writers with a huge experience. They deal with all existing persuasive arguments, strategies, and literature/research methods. That’s why their help can’t be overestimated. Make a request on the official website of this service, talk to a member of Nerdymates’ team or assigned writer, and be sure that everything would be under control!