Topic: Rhetorical Analysis Essay


A formal rhetorical analysis focuses on the argument of a primary source. For your Rhetorical Analysis essay, which is due 07 September, your primary source will be one essay you choose from our text book. You also need two secondary sources which should be peer-reviewed publications that you find through the online databases you find through the class’s MSU Library link ( You will need to obtain the electronic, full-text sources from one of the available databases. This paper does not require book sources.

Rhetorical analyses focus on a few features of a source. We use the term source because the material being analysed could be from one of various types of media (film, audio, video, print, etc.) and different genres (prose, poetry, fiction, etc.). “”Media” and “genre” are technical terms. The way you focus on a source when writing a basic rhetorical analysis is to look for the “appeals” that an author uses.

“Appeal” is another technical term which refers to the technique the author uses to persuade his viewer, listener, or reader to accept or believe an argument. The appeals for your analysis fall into three categories: ethos, pathos, and logos. These three appeals are called “artistic” appeals (or proofs) because they require the artificial manipulations of language through the art of rhetoric to achieve their goals.

A separate type of appeal is called “inartistic” because it appeals to a sense of shared reality and is not subject to manipulations of the art of rhetoric. When an author uses hard evidence from hir shared experiences, scientific evidence, or legal precedent, s/he is using “inartistic” appeals. Academic writing depends on both artistic and inartistic appeals.

When an author’s claims appeal to an audience’s ethical judgment, the author is relying on ethos. When the appeal is to the audience’s pathetic sense (empathy or sympathy), the author is focusing on pathos. When the author crafts arguments in a logical or rational form, relying on the effect that well-crafted words may have on an audience’s sensibilities, the appeal is to logos.

Authors can mix appeals so that an appeal to ethos may be written in particularly rational language with examples included that elicit a sympathetic response from the audience. Inartistic appeals that the author discovers in research and presents as hard, statistical evidence can backup any of the artistic appeals. Additionally, the inartistic appeal may present its own appeal to ethos as it signals to the audience that the author is careful to support the claims with hard evidence and not simply with intricate argument and opinion.

What will you need to write in your first essay?
Your first essay assignment requires that you choose a primary source and dissect the author’s argument to identify separate minor points (or claims) and identify the types of appeals the author makes. You will be writing an argument about someone else’s argument.

So, you also need to show that you are treating the primary source ethically, that you are cultivating a sympathetic reader, that you are careful about the way you craft your language, and that you can use inartistic appeals of your own which you find in your secondary sources to critique the primary source’s author’s use of artistic and inartistic appeals.

Type of service-Academic paper writing
Type of assignment-Essay
Pages / words-3 / 800
Number of sources-3
Academic level-High School
Paper format-MLA
Line spacing-Double
Language style-US English

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