Transcript: Today, I will be going over how to write a rhetorical analysis essay. This is an essay to expect if you are taking the AP Language Exam.
To start with, you want to make sure you have a solid understanding of what some rhetoric strategies are. This will make it much easier in the actual process of writing the essay, as it will be easier to identify which strategies the author uses.
Next, before you write a rhetorical analysis essay you must understand what the purpose of this type of essay is. The purpose is to analyze and explain the rhetorical devices used in the essay through their writing and persuasion tools by the writer in an attempt to interact with their audience. Remember, that you do not need to take a position on a controversy in this type of essay.
Continuing on, when you write one of these essays, you will be given a sheet of paper with a short statement of background information and context and a passage that will be about one page long. The statement on top will have information such as who wrote the essay, when it was written, and the author’s purpose.
Then, you will want to read the passage. As you read, keep an eye out for any rhetorical devices you find the author uses in their writing to try to convey their point. This is where knowing your rhetoric devices will be useful, as they will be much easier to identify. It’s also helpful to keep the author’s purpose in your mind, as that can often help you to notice devices that you may not have identified yet.
The next step is to create an opening sentence. You want to write something that will catch your audience's attention, but still makes sense with the rest of your essay, and won’t be a drawback by distracting the audience.
Along with this, you will want to add a few sentences of context and background information into your opening paragraph. Most of this information can be found in the statement on top of the passage. You can also include external information if you have any info that you think pertains to the essay.
You will then want to write your thesis. You should have several strategies that you identified in the essay ready to write about in your thesis, laying out what persuasive tools used by the author you are prepared to analyze in your coming body paragraphs.
After you complete your intro, you will be ready to move on to the body paragraphs. Remember to only analyze one rhetoric device per paragraph, otherwise it can become overwhelming for the reader. You will want to include an example of a rhetoric device used by the author, usually followed by a quote containing that snippet of the writing. Follow this with an analysis of why the author chose to use this specific persuasive tool to attempt to convince their audience and how it impacts the audience. In your analysis, make sure to tie it back to the author’s purpose and meaning as that’s a strong indicator of why they may have used that tool. Another reminder is to try to make sure to use transitions that flow nicely with your writing.
To end your essay, you will want to include a conclusion. It is not required to include a separate conclusion paragraph. Do not feel like you have to put in this paragraph if you do not feel it will add anything new to your essay. If you think it will work best, you can conclude at the end of your final body paragraph. Your conclusion should reiterate the author’s purpose of their writing through the devices you previously analyzed.
Congratulations! You now know the formatting for writing a rhetorical analysis essay! Make sure to brush up on your rhetoric devices and you’ll be all set for the essay! Good luck!