HOW TO WRITE: AP Rhetorical Analysis Paragraphs and Essays
Things you must know in order to accurately analyze a text:
2. Rhetorical Strategies
a. Appeals (ethos, logos, pathos)
b. Style (diction, syntax, details, imagery, tone, etc.)
3. Why did the author choose these strategies for the particular audience, occasion, and/or purpose? a. This is the analysis part! Without this, you are merely summarizing the text. b. Think about these questions:
i. HOW do the rhetorical strategies help the author achieve his/her purpose? ii. WHY does the author chose those strategies for that particular audience and for that particular occasion?
Once you’ve identified the information above, it’s time to begin putting your thoughts and ideas into a format that proves you have accurately analyzed the text. There are many ways to write an effective rhetorical analysis essay. Below is one way that is a good, simple format to help you get started. You may find as you become more comfortable with analysis that you want to deviate from this format. That’s fine as long as you are still focusing on numbers 1-3 from above. Introduction
The introductory paragraph to an analysis essay is usually brief. However, it must contain some essential information.
Put SOAPS in your introduction and follow this format:
1. Speaker, Occasion, and Subject
(Writer’s credentials), (writer’s first and last name), in his/her (type of text), (title of text), (strong verb – see list at end of this handout) (writer’s subject). 2. Purpose
(Writer’s last name)’s purpose is to (what the writer does in the text). 3. Audience
He/she adopts a[n] (adjective describing the attitude/feeling conveyed by the writer) tone in order to (verb phrase describing what the writer wants readers to do/think) in his/her (intended audience).
Novelist, Amy Tan, in her narrative essay, “Fish Cheeks,” recounts an embarrassing Christmas Eve dinner when she was 14 years old. Tan’s purpose is to convey the idea that, at fourteen, she wasn’t able to recognize the love her mother had for her or the sacrifices she made. She adopts a sentimental tone in order to appeal to similar feelings and experiences in her adult readers.
This is the analysis part! This is where you include a detailed explanation of strategies used by the writer. When writing an analysis, it is crucial that you work chronologically through the text. This means that you start at the beginning of the text and work your way through it by discussing what the writer is saying and the effectiveness of the strategies he/she is using at the beginning, middle, and end of the text. Sometimes this means that you will discuss each paragraph (one at a time), and sometimes this means that you will divide the text into sections and discuss the beginning, middle, and end of the text. Whether you discuss each paragraph or each section depends on the length and organization of the text itself. To help you move chronologically through the text, there are transition words you can use. A few of them are listed below:
Every analysis paragraph MUST:
• Identify the part of the text you are analyzing by using transition words and strong verbs to explain what is being said.
• Identify the strongest rhetorical strategies used in that particular section. This includes incorporating specific text examples (exact words from the text – see last page of this handout for proper format) into your own words. Do NOT try to discuss every strategy the writer uses; pick the strongest!
• Clearly and specifically explain how the rhetorical strategies are used to help the writer achieve his purpose and reach his audience.
• The above items must be woven together seamlessly into one sophisticated paragraph of the body of your analysis essay. A sample format is below:
FORMAT and EXAMPLE [from Pres. Reagan’s speech after the space shuttle...
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