Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Definition, Writing Tips + 100 Best Topics
What is rhetorical analysis essay writing? This looks like one of the greatest questions even for a very successful student. This is not surprising at all, because a rhetorical essay is also a typical assignment that college and university students must complete in meeting their grade requirements. The purpose of a rhetorical essay is to evaluate an argument from a rhetorical perspective. The main question to be answered in these essays is “what are the rhetorical techniques the author is using to prove his or her position?” More often than not, writers apply to sophisticated techniques and approaches to produce a persuasive or compelling essay. The task of a student working on a rhetorical essay is to identify these techniques, explain their meaning, evaluate how well they fit in the paper’s purpose, and propose recommendations to improve the rhetorical quality of the original work.
The whole process will start when you are ready to answer the basic questions of the rhetorical analysis essay writing process. These questions are provided below.
- Who is the author of the work?
- What is the context?
- What was the goal of writing? That is, why did the author decide to write the selected work?
- What is the target audience? Whom does the author try to impress?
- What is the key message articulated by the author?
- How is the main idea presented?
- What is the form or framework used by the author to make the message understandable to the reader?
- Does the form or framework match the idea and intent of the selected work?
- Who is the reader?
- Has the intended result been achieved?
Students often wonder how to start a rhetorical analysis essay. In fact, this is the second most important question to be answered when working on this project. Remember that organization plays one of the huge roles in the success of rhetorical essay writing. At the same time, although rhetorical papers differ from other papers in many ways, their form and structure often follow the most typical pattern – from an introduction and thesis, through a body, toward a conclusion.
Follow the below given rhetorical analysis essay writing tips to produce a brilliant conclusion for your rhetorical essay paper.
- Summarize the most valuable points from your rhetorical essay. For instance, what were the rhetorical devices used by the author to persuade the target audience?
- Summarize whether the selected work is well suited to fulfill the intended goal. For instance, if the intent was to prove some point, did the author use enough arguments or extensive statistics to support the argument?
- Summarize the significance of the work and its implications for rhetorical analysis and rhetoric development. Is there anything new or creative that the author used to achieve the intended purpose?
- If you want, you may focus on any specific technique that you deem is interesting, appropriate, or unique in a context of rhetorical analysis. At the same time, do not hesitate to expand the conclusion, making it more informative and enriching it with detail. Ultimately, you can propose more and better ways for rhetorical analysis, identify weaknesses, or create an agenda for future research in this field.
Follow this simple plan to produce a strong conclusion for your rhetorical essay:
- restate the thesis;
- reaffirm the main idea;
- provide recommendations for a future study;
- expand upon the main point;
- go beyond the expected boundaries;
- see how the paper contributes to the rhetoric tradition;
- evaluate and provide recommendations to improve the rhetoric.
When you know how to start a rhetorical paper, the second question is how to conclude a rhetorical analysis essay. The thing about writing a good rhetorical paper is that a catching introduction is as important as a coherent conclusion. You must be thorough in addressing both aspects of your work. Of course, the goal of any conclusion is to summarize the main argument and mention the most important points from the body of your paper. However, when it comes to rhetorical essay writing, a good conclusion will do more than that. Wrap up the argument made in the body of your rhetorical essay. Evaluate if the paper meets the goals and expectations of the target audience.
When you are done writing your rhetorical paper, you will need to refine and make it perfect. When you finish the first draft, it is just the middle of the process. Check your rhetorical paper against the following criteria, and you will know how to proceed with it.
How Long Is Your Rhetorical Essay?
The body of your paper should not exceed 750 words. It will be the biggest portion of your work, with the introduction and the conclusion being the smallest ones.
Check your vocabulary. It should be rich and varied. You may use a printed dictionary to diversify the vocabulary and make your essay more readable.
Grammar and Spelling
Even the most promising rhetorical essay will look poor and misbalanced if it is full of mistakes. Use short and understandable sentences. Do not overload your paper with unknown words. Monitor your spelling.
Rhetorical essays are best presented in the present tense. Check if your whole essay is written using the same tense. This is the best way to produce a positive impression on your readers.
You are to follow the same citation style throughout the entire essay. Check the requirements for your citation and formatting style with your academic institution. Never use two different styles in one essay.
Examples and Experience
You may have no or little experience writing rhetorical papers. However, you will always have a chance to catch up with the progress if you use great examples and learn from them.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is asking someone you know (or do not really know!) to review and evaluate the draft of your rhetorical essay. At the same time, when struggling to improve the quality of your writing, do not forget to choose an appropriate topic. This is what you need to do today!
Feel free to choose any of the rhetorical analysis essay topics below.
- The rhetoric of Edgar Allan Poe and his famous works (choose any).
- A deep rhetorical analysis of any speech you have viewed or listened to during TED Talks.
- Rhetorical analysis of speeches can be time-consuming. Discuss.
- Martin Luther King’s speech is always a great subject for rhetorical debates – choose it for your rhetorical analysis essay!
- William Wallace. Braveheart. A rhetorical analysis of the speech.
- Choose any sermon that you deem appropriate for a rhetorical analysis essay.
- Choose a Nobel Prize winner that you like and analyze his or her speech using your knowledge of rhetorical devices.
- Who is your favorite President, in the U.S. or anywhere in the world? Perform a rhetorical analysis of his or her speech (original or translated).
- Richard Nixon. I’m not a Crook.
- Using any famous speech as a subject of rhetorical analysis.
- What are the main rhetorical devices used by modern presidents to make an impact on the target audience?
- William Shakespeare. King Lear.
- Choose any monologue from Shakespeare’s works as a topic for your rhetorical essay.
- What are the most creative rhetorical devices used by Ayn Rand?
- Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Pearl Harbor Address.
- Review the rhetorical devices used and evaluate whether they suit the purpose of the speech well.
- Did the rhetorical devices used by presidents in their speeches benefit them at some point?
- Amy Poehler. “Yes, Please.”
- Is there anything weird in the rhetoric of Amy Poehler?
- The Great Gatsby. The movie versus the book.
- What is the difference in rhetorical devices between the written story of the Titanic and the movie?
- How can you determine the rhetorical richness of a book?
- Pride and Prejudice.
- The triumph of brilliant rhetorical compositions and their implications for the development of literary talents in England and the U.S.
- The story of Beowulf. Is there anything notable about the rhetorical devices used in the legend?
Below is another list of rhetorical analysis topics to write about. You are free to choose what you want!
- William Shakespeare. Hamlet.
- Choose any play that you like and perform a thorough rhetorical analysis.
- A rhetorical analysis of the Bible – a challenge or an opportunity?
- Share with your readers the difficulties a person may encounter when evaluating the rhetoric of an ancient text.
- Hamlet – a perfect object for rhetorical analysis? You decide.
- What are the main rhetorical devices used in Troy?
- How do rhetorical devices influence the reader’s perceptions of a non-fiction story?
- Anne Lamott. Traveling Mercies.
- Is there anything that draws the reader’s attention when reading Death of a Salesman?
- How did writers in the 20th century change the rhetoric of the work from the beginning of their books till their end?
- A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History.
- What do you think about the rhetoric of public speeches? What recommendations could you provide to improve them?
- Animals in “An Essay on Man”.
- Is there any difference in the rhetoric used in relation to different characters in Great Gatsby? How does it look, considering the author’s background?
- How different writers depict loyalty.
- Choose any two foreign books and analyze the rhetoric of romance, love or passion.
- The plot and themes of Harry Potter. Is there anything an ordinary reader may not notice?
- Tom Sawyer: are there any themes or topics that remain beyond the boundaries of public understanding?
- Examples of rhetorical analysis and stylistic devices used in a book written by a British author in the 19th century (choose any).
- A thematic analysis of Asian literature at the beginning of the 21st century.
- The Things They Carried. A novel that is full of symbolism.
- Evaluate and interpret the main symbols identified in Ayn Rand’s books. Offer your interpretation of their meaning.
- An Essay on Man. The importance of imagery. Define the meaning of imagery and its function. Perform a rhetorical analysis of the work using your knowledge of imagery.
- William Shakespeare. Macbeth. Conduct a thematic analysis of the play and rhetorical analysis of at least one female character.
- Choose any book written by a South American author where the theme of self-reflection, isolation or solitude is the predominant one. Evaluate the rhetorical devices used by the author to depict the topic.
These are the rhetorical analysis topics for essay writing that will certainly benefit you in your literature courses.
- Why the theme of knowledge is the most important one in Fahrenheit 451.
- What are the rhetorical devices used writers of fiction stories to illustrate the main theme?
- The Painted Veil.
- What do the rhetorical devices used in The Great Gatsby tell about the scope and magnitude of racial issues in society?
- Jane Austen: what are the unique rhetorical features in her books and how these features help her preserve an extremely feminine image in literature?
- The Odyssey: a profound rhetorical analysis of the most famous work in literature.
- Romeo and Juliet.
- Analyze the rhetoric devices used to create a sense of imminent tragedy in readers. How do these rhetorical devices work? Provide examples from ancient literature.
- Jay Gatsby: a rhetorical analysis of the character and his speeches.
- Plato’s Republic as a great source of knowledge about ancient rhetoric.
- Conduct a thorough rhetorical analysis of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- What are the most prominent features of Wilde’s style, setting, and context?
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: what are the key themes and contextual features of the story?
- Plato’s Republic and the missed rhetoric of justice.
- The Sun Also Rises – the issue of rhetoric.
- Anne Lamott. Traveling Mercies. Unique rhetorical features.
- The difficulties of the rhetorical analysis of the Canterbury Tales.
- Jared Diamond and Easter Islands.
- Martin Luther King and “I Have a Dream.” How it changes.
- Take any movie presented in the last year for rhetorical analysis.
- Any speech delivered by George W. Bush: what does it carry?
- The rhetoric of wartime speeches.
- Barack Obama’s inaugural address – rhetorical devices used.
- William Wallace. The power of speech writing.
- The best monologue from Shakespeare.
Review topics for the rhetorical analysis essay below and see what you can do about them.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: how does Mark Twain elaborate on the most important themes and topics in different parts of the book?
- Death of a Salesman. The uniqueness of human tragedy in a world full of people. Implications for rhetorical analysis.
- Evaluate the most successful rhetorical strategies using examples from U.S. books published in the past 3 years.
- Joseph Stiglitz. The Price of Inequality. See how the author navigates through a complex world of rhetoric and outline the key features of his style.
- Describe the most valuable rhetorical strategies and provide examples from famous stories.
- Rhetorical analyses of movies versus books: what is the difference?
- Why is the topic of love so popular in fiction stories?
- Lord of the Flies: how the use of symbols changes the vision and perception of a book, a novel, or a story. Provide examples from the book.
- The Raven. The rhetorical analysis of Poe’s stories.
- Rhetorical devices used in television advertising.
- The rhetoric of blogs and online writing.
- Religious texts and their rhetorical composition.
- A rhetorical analysis of a speech delivered by one of your fellow students.
- An impressive speech following September, 11.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray. Analyze.
- The main themes in The Iliad.
- The Prince – a review of the main rhetorical devices.
- What you might have missed from Harry Potter.
- The use of stylistic devices today and 100 years ago.
- Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.
- Elizabeth Gaskell. Review the main literary devices.
- The writing style of Oscar Wilde.
- Michael Punke. The Revenant.
- Rita Dove. Analyze.
- Poetry and the function of literary devices.