Many high school students will ambitiously decide to take AP English as their main language elective. Assuming they have made this decision, it is almost a definite fact that most of the students will take the AP English exam. When writing the exam, the test will require you to write three unique types of essays.
From the three possible essay styles, one of them is the rhetorical analysis essay. If you have ever seen the movie Inception, be prepared to experience a similar type of mind-boggling. There is a high percentage chance that you have never worked with this type of essay before. No worries, Our essay service will teach you everything you need to know about writing a stellar rhetorical analysis!
Table Of Contents
What Is A Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Remember I mentioned the movie Inception? Well, the concept of “a dream within a dream” is mimicked here, just with a slight alteration. Essentially, a rhetorical analysis is a type of essay that requires you to “write about the writing”.
If you have a question mark looming over your head, do not worry as this will all make sense with a little bit of reading. In this type of analysis, in order to uncover the strategies and persuasive styles that they are using to get some reaction from a crowd. Most of the time, the example topics are speeches given by influential figures. In other words, when given an essay prompt on the exam, the instructor is asking you to analyze the text and explain how all the “written parts” work together.
Since the AP exam is a time-limited task, swift and effective preparation is key to creating a powerful piece of academic writing! Considering the fact that your allotted time has to be broken down into reading, analyzing and writing, multi-tasking with reading and analyzing is a must. As you begin reading the introductory information, start taking notes of important information that will simplify the analysis process.
- Who is the author?
- What is their intended target audience?
- What is their purpose for writing this speech/document?
- In what setting are they located while giving the speech? Why specifically this setting?
Having these questions in mind and uncovering their answers will simplify the process of analyzing their strategies. At the very least it gives you something to work off, and having this information allows you to understand their methods of persuasion and how it affects the ethos, pathos, and logos.
The ingredients for persuasion, as Aristotle called them, can be broken down into three categories. There are the ethos, pathos, and logos. The ethos appeals to ethics, and this is all about providing traits and reasons as to why the speaker is a credible source of information. The pathos appeals to emotions and is a sneaky way of convincing an audience by creating an emotional response. Last but not least, we have the logos (my personal favorite) which appeals to logical and rational thinking and tries to persuade the audience through reasoning.
- “Doctors all over the world recommend this type of treatment!”
- “You’ll make the right decision because you have something that not many people do: you have the heart."
- “Thousand of years of history has taught us that war never changes”
In every AP English exam, the literary prompt will contain examples of at least one of the three persuasive methods. After using the background info to help guide you, it should not be too difficult to figure out which tactic the speaker uses. Obviously, one should practice writing rhetorical analysis essays before taking the exam!
Rhetorical Essay Outline
After reading, analyzing and jotting down supportive notes, the remaining time that you have is what will really earn you that 5 on the AP Exam! You have the figured out the strategies thanks to your meticulous note taking, and now it is all about putting pen to paper.
Following the proper structuring is the most reliable method of satisfying the professor's requests, so using the 5-6 paragraph style is your best bet. Depending on the amount of solid strategies you have found, the body paragraphs you will have to create should equal the same amount. Regardless, the intro-body-conclusion format of the paper outline remains the same!
As most of your time will be devoted to creating informative body paragraphs, the introductory paragraph should be short and sweet. To start it out briefly, summarize the main argument of the speaker. Afterward, reference “what is said” and “how it is said” to develop your own crafted opinion a.k.a thesis statement. This will explain the tone and mood as well as intrigue the reader about the rhetorical strategies you shall explain later in the text. Last but not least, put together an enlightening thesis that explains the persuasive styles used by the speaker, and their overall effect.
As the part of the essay that will have the most content, the body paragraphs have a lot of questions that need to be answered. In this part of the essay, you are explaining how the speaker develops his thesis and which devices and strategies he applies. Based on the amount of different strategies he uses, a paragraph should be devoted per strategy.
When finding a piece of evidence (quote) that matches up to the criteria of a literary device, then craft one paragraph specifically around that quote. Explain the persuasive strategy used and how the quote shows this. Your explanation should generally answer one of these four questions:
Some other things that should be taken note of within the body paragraphs are shifts in tone and diction and the varying length of sentences. Though these are smaller and do not impact your understanding of the concept of rhetorical analysis as much, knowing them shows your instructor that you have a strong grasp of style. Lastly, do not forget to make proper citations!
After fully supporting and developing your various arguments, it is time to wrap up the essay with a strong conclusion. First of all, explain how this work affected the audience and the essay as a whole. In other words, show the result that came from this impact speech!
Afterward, fully conclude your argument on each individual rhetorical device, and link them as a whole to show their significance as a unit! As a final sentence, provide an impactful overall concluding statement that showed the importance of this speech and its strategies that helped to shape history!
Overall Writing Tips
Phew, you are finally finished writing this super intense and strenuous essay with only five minutes left. Time to sit back and relax as you are finally done this section….. OR you could use this last few minutes to make your writing as flawless as possible! The second option sounds better? I agree, so let us talk about a five-step checklist that will immensely impact the quality of your essay!
- Grammar: Though this may sound like some captain obvious info, nobody likes to read a work that has punctuational errors and sentence structure problems! Keep a fair mix of short and long sentences and make sure to avoid abbreviations. This is Formal Writing remember!?
- Vocabulary: Having a wide range of vocabulary is a sure-fire way to gain some style points from the instructor. It shows that you are multidimensional and can write in a diverse number of ways. Have a quick glance at a thesaurus beforehand to keep that mental space occupied!
- Coherency: The smoother your essay sounds while it is being read, the better the content will seem. Having strong and appropriate transitions keep the essay from getting cluttered as well as using a wide range of punctuations. Do not just jump from point to point; rather, ease the reader into your next thought with smooth language!
- Use Present Tense: When writing formally or for any academic essay, make sure to use present tense writing. It helps to avoid confusion and keeps things straightforward, as well as the fact that writing should feel “at the moment”
- Respond To The Text: This can not be stressed enough. If you have ever heard your teacher say “guys, do not write a plot summary” then you already know where this is going. Avoid listing the literary devices and providing quotes along. Explain the IMPACT of each literary device and SHOW how the quote supports it specifically!
- Name Your Essay Right: It is crucially important to give your essay a suitable title as it is the first thing your reader will see. Moreover, after reading the title of your essay, they will decide whether or not it is worth their attention.
Rhetorical Analysis Example
To gain a better understanding of this writing stye, it would be useful to learn from an example.
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Joe Baker, from EssayPro
If you are taking an AP class and you have to do a rhetorical analysis essay, then a good rule of thumb is to use a mnemonic device called DIDLES. DIDLES is an acronym for Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Sentence Structure. As soon as you sit down to annotate your text for rhetoric, keep note of the terms above. Diction will help you understand the syntax and tone of the piece. Imagery will point you to the specific places that the author chose to show rather than tell; details will demonstrate what exactly the author wanted you to pay attention to. Language is a good signifier of what mood and voice the author have, and sentence structure will help you notice whether the writing style of the author better.
While you read, don’t forget to annotate and ask yourself questions such as: is the language colloquial or professional? What does the author want to show me with this description? Why does the author include these specific facts/details? And more importantly, how does DIDLES (the bigger picture) evoke ethos, logos, and pathos from the reader. Write down everything that goes through your mind while you read and your rhetoric should be top notch.
Still Struggling to Grasp the Concept?
We get it, rhetorical essay writing is probably a new and confusing option in your writing arsenal. This is definitely one of those essays that require hours of practice to master. Luckily for you, EssayPro, top-notch paper writing service, has a team of professional paper writers that have been writing rhetorical analysis essays for several years. They too have dealt with the confusion of finding these hidden persuasive strategies, so the tips and tricks that they carry are priceless for our students. Chat with the writer and get qualified paper writing help! Whatever questions you may have, EssayPro is ready to help!
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Rhetorical Analysis of Print Advertisements
Purpose: What do I want the student to do?
This essay is designed to teach students how to successfully manage a research project, specifically identifying a thesis to research, locating applicable research sources, managing and evaluating those research sources, and writing an acceptable research paper. Secondly, this project is designed to encourage students to become more proficient at thinking both critically and rhetorically about advertising and to become more aware at recognizing how this media shapes viewers’ responses to the outside world.
This research project will be a balance between the two types of research modes typically assigned by your future professors: assigned topics and invented topics.
- Assigned topics: I will be requiring you to focus your attention on one particular area – the effectiveness of a specific advertising technique or the sociological effects of advertising. This will give you experience in dealing with a topic that you are both unfamiliar with and required to address.
- Invented topic: I will be requiring you to select on your own the particular technique or effect that interests you. This will require you to examine the general field and decide which technique or effect appeals to you. This will give you experience in examining your own interests and curiosity and incorporating those interests into your academic work.
Advertisers use many recognizable techniques in order to better convince the public to buy or adopt a product, service, idea and/or belief. Secondly, advertising in general have many effects on viewers, some of them positive, some of them negative. Your goal in this assignment is to identify one of these techniques or effects, research how it works and use two print advertisements as examples. As the power of advertising as a cultural and marketing force continues to grow, it is imperative that consumers understand the rhetorical techniques advertisers use to shape the public's attitude towards and desire for these commodities.
Understand that we will not discuss in detail the marketing strategies used by advertisers in class, nor will be discussing in detail the social effects, other than to briefly suggest ideas for locating them (for example, color, celebrity endorsement and sexual imagery as technique – racism, sexism or negative body image as social issues). Research papers are designed to teach you how to teach yourself, using proper research methods and tools. You will learn these advertising methods or effects on your own.
Project Overview: How do I want the student to do the assignment?
Focus your research paper on answering one of the questions below:
- What makes a particular advertising technique so effective? (For example, “What makes celebrity endorsements so effective?)
- What evidence do companies use to justify spending so much money on print advertising?
- What specific damage to society does advertising do, and how exactly is advertising to blame?
Conduct a rhetorical analysis that evaluates two advertisements for their rhetorical elements. The two advertisements must fulfill one of these conditions:
- Both ads are for the same product but were run at least five years apart (history).
- Both ads are for the same product but were created for two very different cultures, geographical areas oraudiences (such as American/European, American/Asian, male/female, gay/straight, rural/urban, etc).
- The two ads are for competing products that occupy a similar market niche.
The assignment will be broken into the following five sections:
- Abbreviated Research Proposal—the Abbreviated Research Proposal is designed to put you on the right track when producing your research project. Here you will identify your thesis (a hypothesis that you intend to prove with evidence uncovered in your Final Research Paper) and locate viable research material.
- Annotated Bibliography—the Annotated Bibliography will organize your research to make the research project easier to handle and enable you to understand fully all of your research.
- Proposed Outline—the outline will organize your future essay, prioritizing your thoughts and simplifying the drafting process.
- First Draft Research Paper (5-7 pages)—the Research Papers will be formal essays in which you introduce your thesis, support your thesis in the body using evidence from academically sound sources, provide a conclusion, and produce a works cited page with at least 5 academically sound resources.
- Second Draft Research Paper (5-7 pages)—a final draft to ensure me that you can indeed produce an acceptable research paper for future professors.
Advertising Technique Possibilities
Advertisers use hundreds of techniques in order to sway viewers to buy or adopt their product. Below is a list of possible topics to research. (This list is by no means complete. Every semester students surprise me with new topics.)
- Celebrity endorsement (Celebrity branding)
- Color symbolism
- Emotional appeals (for example, fear)
- Family values
- Lifestyle or imitation
- Narrative (storytelling)
- Print techniques such as gaze, typography, framing or bleed techniques
- Sexual imagery
- Shock (startling or overtly offensive)
- Subliminal messaging
Advertising in general can affect viewers’ behaviors and alter viewers’ perceptions of reality. Below is a list of possible topics to research. (This list is by no means complete.)
- Racism and ethnic stereotyping
- Sexism or gender discrimination
- Negative body issues
- Negative health practices (obesity, smoking, alcoholism)