Step-by-step Rhetorical Analysis
1. Identify the three elements of the rhetorical triangle.
a. Who is the speaker? (education, ethnicity, era, political persuasion, etc.) b. Who is the audience?
c. What is the subject?
2. What is the author saying about the subject? What is his/her assertion? 3. What is the author’s attitude (tone) about the subject? a. What specific word choice (diction) clues the reader in?
b. What figures of speech are used? Does the imagery/analogies/allusions conjure positive/negative/angry/melancholy/activist feelings in the reader? c. What type of syntax is used? (short, abrupt, choppy; lengthy, thoughtful, questioning) Are there any rhetorical questions? d. What kinds of rhetoric does the author employ? (ethos, pathos, logos, inductive/deductive reasoning, syllogisms)
You can hit all of these questions if you can remember the following acronyms:
(Author’s attitude evident through . . .)
Diction (Word Choice)
Figures of Speech
Rhetoric (identified as . . .)
For your Rhetorical analysis assignment, choose either the step-by-step OR acronyms method and answer all of the questions posed by that method. See the back for an example of the acronyms method of An Inconvenient Truth. Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet for An Inconvenient Truth
Speaker – Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States Occasion – Global warming/melting ice caps
Audience – General population – it was an Academy-Award winning full-feature film Purpose – Persuade the audience to take action against global warming causing activities Subject – Energy use/life choices effect the environment
Tone – concerned, alarmed, fatherly, scientific
Diction: Gore uses words and images that imply a filthy industrial world...
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