How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: 10 Tips and Strategies
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The history of scientific and educational rhetoric shows that the main methods for achieving oratorical mastery is to observe the live sound of skillful speeches, to study the experience of the great speakers of the past, to critically analyze written texts of speeches, inherit individual elements and structure and composition of speeches, construct own texts of speeches on the basis of classical ones. In order to learn how to construct natural, sincere and deeply meaningful performances, it is necessary to practice in writing rhetorical analysis and consider rhetorical analysis essay example.
Rhetorical Analysis Definition
Rhetorical analysis of speeches can be presented as a decoding of an oral or written text, i.e. the movement from the result, the expression, from reaching the goal to the basics. In the process of rhetorical analysis, we go through the text step by step, according to the process of its creation, using the knowledge obtained in each of the five sections of rhetoric.
The main objective of a rhetorical analysis is to consider various aspects of its construction, to reveal receptions of speech influence, to evaluate the language tools chosen by the author, the means of speech expressiveness on a specific material. Ability to analyze the text and create a rhetorical analysis paper is an important component of communicative competence, it creates the necessary basis for creating your own texts of different genres.
4 Steps to Write a Smart Rhetorical Analysis Essay
- Choose a speech (theme, speaker), which you like most, which causes in you genuine emotions and admiration.
- If this is a written speech, analyze it according to the plan below. If this is oral speech, it is better to prepare a written version in advance for clarity.
- Analyze speech from the point of view of all possible rhetorical means.
- Use the quotation in your essay to strengthen your statements.
Top 10 Most Effective Rhetorical Analysis Essay Topics
- The speech of Martin Luther King “I have a dream”
- The speech of Steve Jobs
- The speeches of Winston Churchill
- The Gettysburg speech of Abraham Lincoln
- The speech by Charlie Chaplin
- The presentation of advertising on cups of coffee in the elevator
- The last word of the Pope
- Fidel Castro’s speech
- Farewell speech of Boris Yeltsin
- The speech by Paul Helle
Preparation Strategy for Writing Rhetorical Analysis and Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline
The approximate plan (strategies) of analysis is as follows.
- General characteristics of the text: oral or written, a form of eloquence – political, judicial, business document, poetic work.
- Genre and objective embodiment: a letter, a lecture, an inscription on the wall, a speech at a rally, a telegram, a performance, a monologue in a play, etc.
- Characteristics of the content: biography, the text of the law, the conversation of friends, the story of events, the landscape picture (description), etc.
- Analysis of discourse: the situation of life, events before and, perhaps, after, who says, for what purpose, under what circumstances, etc.
- What is known about the author, the level of his intelligence, spiritual wealth?
- Who is the intended recipient, on what level of perception and understanding are the statements oriented?
- In what stylistic key is the text (style, its variety) constructed, by what means is the stylistic affiliation expressed?
- Composition, construction of a verbal product, storylines, etc.
- Characteristics of rhetorical means: figures, trails, phraseology, aphorisms, monologues and dialogues, archaisms, dialectisms, etc.
- Observance of the norm of the culture of speech, the requirements of the literary language. Features of the author’s style of speech.
- If possible, information on the perception of the text, the degree of its impact on readers and listeners, the discrepancies, assessments, the influence of the work on the development of science, arts, culture (theatrical and cinematographic interpretations, the creation of works of painting, the use of a plot or images by other authors).
- The answer to three questions: what did the author want to say; what did he say; what did he say unintentionally?
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example
- Theme: “How did Steve Jobs achieve success?”
- Purpose: “Stimulating graduates”
- The main thesis: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”
- Audience: graduates of Stanford University.
The strong beginning of this great speech does not leave indifferent from the first words. The speaker begins his speech with praise, a compliment to the audience. Further puts himself on the same level as the audience, does not begin to talk about his achievements, but with irony says that he did not finish college.
There is a spoken level of speech, there is no terminology, scientific information, evidence, and there are only life stories. Stories from the life of a great person are always interesting, this is one of the techniques of attracting attention in speech. The speech of Steve Jobs has the effect of ease, which is relevant for graduates. This is a different format, it’s not boring official speeches about future life, work after graduation, etc.
Jobs is open to communication, for dialogue and friendly conversation. He does not put himself above or below the audience. This is expressed in gestures, posture, and speech. However, this does not prevent him from emphasizing his status and his merits. He talks but does not make an official speech. Jokes and sarcasm not only seem appropriate in his speech, they have a line with official data, with facts and judgments. They seem necessary and natural. This makes Jobs’s speech a figurative, emotional, simple and accessible.
It is also worth noting the relevance of the topic of the speech. On the threshold of transition to adulthood, graduates need a stimulus, some kind of impetus, which will give new forces and ideas for new discoveries. They need something that will not let to give up if they fail. Steve Jobs shows everything by his example. He is a man who has reached great heights, experienced ups and downs, felt all the spheres of life on himself and was on the verge of death. This speech is the way to victory, which was aspired.
The speaker adheres to a simple structure of speech: an introduction, then three stories (body) and a conclusion, uses spectacular pauses after key points, allowing the audience to comprehend them. For example, it is his phrase “I didn’t even know what the pancreas is.” This is the phrase, which helps relieve tension from the audience, allows everyone to smile kindly. Throughout the speech, Steve Jobs uses the rule of three. There are three stories, followed by a conclusion.
The speaker also uses techniques to attract attention. During the speech there is no dialogue with the audience, but, despite this, it is interesting to know what will happen next. Jobs uses rhetorical questions that make every listener think. Using pauses, he gives his listeners time to appreciate the taste of the idea, gives himself the opportunity to enjoy the attention of the audience, its support.
There is a tautology (repetition of words). Jobs completes his speech by repeating “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” three times. Repetition adds strength to the argument, especially in the conclusion. In conclusion, he pauses and thanks to the listeners for their attention.