Rhetorical Analysis Essay

how a writer or speaker persuades his audience using specific techniques
the relationship between the communicator and the audience; what choices the writer makes and how they affect the audience
Rhetorical devices are also known as:
– rhetorical strategies
– rhetorical tools
– literary devices
Basic construction of RA essay (for each strategy)?
1. Name the strategy
2. Quote an example
3. Explain HOW it works, WHY it affects the audience, and WHY the author chose it
List the 9 rhetorical forms:
– Description
– Narration
– Cause and Effect
– Compare/Contrast
– Definition
– Division and Classification
– Exemplification
Process Analysis
– Argumentation
Description (RF)
giving a verbal picture using space order (i.e. sensory details, spatial details).
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Narration (RF)
telling about an event using time order (i.e. first, then)
Process Analysis (RF)
explaining how to…(often chronological, and often used in labs and science classes – i.e. first, next, now)
Division/Classification (RF)
like compare/contrast but considering more than two items (i.e. “can be divided into”, “can be grouped into”)
Definintion (RF)
explaining a term/concept using examples, etc. (i.e. “for example” and “generally known as”)
Exemplification (RF)
illustrating (usually used within other essay types; i.e. “for example” “for instance” “in particular”)
Cause/Effect (RF)
explaining reasons and effects (often involving primary and secondary clauses; “if/then” “thus” “therefore”)
Argumentation (RF)
used most often in academic writing (“support, refute, or qualify”0
Compare/Contrast (RF)
showing similarities/differences between 2 people, concepts, things
List the elements of style:
– Syntax
– Language
– Diction
– Punctuation
– Tone
Syntax (S)
refers to the ways words and phrases are arranged to form sentences.
Sentences by Function (S-S)
– declarative: makes a statement
– imperative: gives a command
– interrogative: asks a question
– exclamatory: makes an exclamation
Sentences by grammatical structure (S-S)
– simple: 1 subject and 1 verb
– compound: 2 clauses joined by a conjunction or a semicolon; 2+ main, complete thoughts
– complex: 1 simple sentence and 1+ clause; 1 independent clause and 1+ subordinate clauses
-compound-complex: 2+ principal clauses and 1+ subordinate clauses; combo of above
Sentences by rhetorical purpose (S-S)
– loose sentence
– periodic sentence
– balanced sentence
– cumulative sentence
Sentences by Natural Order (S-S)
– natural order
– inverted order
– split order
Loose Sentence (S-S)
makes complete sense if brought to a close before the actual ending
Periodic sentence (S-S)
makes sense only when the end of the sentence is reached
Balanced sentence (S-S)
the phrases and classed balance each other by virtue of their likeness of structure, meaning, or length
Cumulative sentence (S-S)
begins with the main idea (an independent clause) which is followed by phrases and clauses which elaborate on the main idea
Natural order of a sentence (S-S)
subject before predicate
Split order of a sentence (S-S)
divides the predicate into two parts with the subject coming in the middle
Inverted order of a sentence ( sentence inversion) (S-S)
predicate before subject
Sentence Length (S-S)
– telegraphic (5- words)
– short (~5 words)
– medium (~18 words0
– long (30+ words)
Language (S)
often includes tropes – REFER TO PACKET
Diction (S)
– monosyllabic/polysyllabic
– colloquial, informal, formal, technical old-fashioned
– denotative (exact meaning) or connotative (suggested meaning)
– concrete/abstract
– euphonious/cacophonous
-dialect? jargon?
Punctuation (S)
-exclamation point
Tone (S)
Refer to ‘tone words’ deck
Why an author might use a rhetorical device:
-to build excitement/intensity
-to make a point
– to explain a point
-to pull a reader in
-to add complexity
-to create rhythm
-to build an emotion
Literary Devices
includes schemes – refer to packet
literary devices that deal with word order, syntax, letters and sounds, rather than the meaning of words
figures of speech with an unexpected twist in the words

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