rhetorical Analysis essay

Full Power of Women” by Priyanka Chopra – Pair with Emma Watson’s speech on the Power of Women

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Write a 2-3 page rhetorical analysis (analysis of the argument) of the assigned text. You will need to complete two different tasks: (1) summarize the text’s argument and (2) explain how the text’s argument is put together. Near the end of the argument, you will need to decide how the larger piece compares to the smaller piece. Keep in mind that you will be doing the main analysis on the larger piece.




In order to develop your analysis, you need to look through a rhetorical lens—this is an opportunity for you to work through a professional and disciplinary perspective. You must, for instance, evoke and mention explicitly the terms of our discipline (pathos, logos, ethos, kairos, audience, purpose, genre).

Your argument should be about the strategic use of rhetorical appeals and persuasive power of the particular text and not about the content itself. Focus on HOW it works, not simply WHAT it conveys(there is a time and a place for that); discuss how the use of rhetorical appeals determines the effectiveness of the argument and don’t get distracted into arguing passionately a particular position or extolling the beauty/creativity of the article! To complete the essay successfully, you will need to discuss specific and concrete elements of the article—the way we will do over the next few class meetings. Rely on the guidance provided by discussion and lecture in daily class sessions.




In the introduction, you will want to work on what we have practiced thus far. How can I hook the reader into the essay? What sort of context and stage setting will I use? What is going to be my thesis or claim on it?


In the summary section, you will need to first introduce the text you will be analyzing. Then you will summarize what the text argues, noting the central claims and key evidence. Again, this is not a place to argue, criticize, or praise what the author’s message is.


The analysis section of the paper should take up the majority of the 2-3 pages. Here you are trying to analyze and explain how the argument was put together (which rhetorical strategies it uses). How are those strategies meant to impact the reader? In other words, how do the strategies attempt to influence the reader’s thoughts and feelings? How do the strategies relate to and support the overall argument?


You will need a thesis that identifies the argumentative strategies you will discuss. Here is a sample thesis: “Author X’s argument is mainly dependent on emotional appeals, and he uses detailed description and narration to support those emotional appeals.” Or this, “The author relies heavily on a word choice that appeal to logical and a serious tone in order to purport a certain purpose.” For this thesis, you would then need to go on and explain and give examples of different emotional appeals that use description and narration from the text. Or for the second thesis, you would need to give word choice examples to produce a serious and logical tone to show the author’s strategy.


You need to decide which aspects of the argumentative strategy you want to focus on. It would be impossible for you to explain all of the argumentative features of a text in 2-3 pages, so focus on the strategies that are most interesting or obvious to you, or that you think are most important to the success of the argument. You could explain the author’s use of any one of the following rhetorical strategies and concepts we’ve discussed so far in class:


The types of argumentative modes being used: description, narrative, comparison and contrast, definition, evaluation, and so on

The author’s use of emotional appeals (pathos)

How the author establishes his or her credibility (ethos)

The how the text’s logic (logos) works (is the logic dependent upon a definition or fact? is it dependent on a cause/effect relationship? a comparison and contrast? how does the logical reasoning work?)

How the author uses kairos

Again, rather than trying to address everything on the list above, which would be impossible, discuss what you think the text’s most important or notable rhetorical features are.


Sources: You should use two sources at the very least. It should not exceed four sources. Consider where it would be appropriate to use sources. You will have to use the main source material when you do the analysis of the rhetorical appeals that writer chooses to use. In the comparison section, you will want to cite the smaller section. You may bring in other source materials when you explain about the author of the speech and any context you may wish to apply.

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