Rhetorical Analysis Essay on a Speech


The goal of a rhetorical analysis is not to analyze what a writer is arguing about concerning an issue, but
to analyze
how the writer is presenting the argument. For this assignment, you will identify, analyze, and
evaluate the use of rhetorical strategies in a persuasive text and discuss how it is that a writer advances a
position—how that writer assembles an argument. This essay is not a summary of the argument, nor is it
your personal reaction to the subject of the author’s argument, but rather it is an analysis that should
reflect a close reading of a text to find how and whether it persuades. Make sure your claims are stated
explicitly and supported with evidence from the text. If you have questions about the credibility of a
source, seek the instructor’s approval well before the essay deadline.


This assignment will help you improve your skills at recognizing rhetorical strategies so that you can
begin to use them in your own arguments. Use Lunsford Chapter 6 as your guide. Your essay will need
to be between 900-1,300 words and must address the following aspects of the chosen argument:
purpose of the argument
issue of audience
rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos
creator of the argument
arrangement of the argument
style of the argument
Begin your discussion with a brief descriptive summary (150 words or less) of the author’s argument.
After your summary, introduce your thesis. (You can use this summary to introduce your thesis or to
begin your discussion once you have presented your thesis.) This will be a value claim that explains how
well you think the author has crafted his/her argument.
Your essay must be formatted according to MLA style, contain in-text citations, and a works cited page.
You do not need secondary sources; however, if you choose to include additional sources that provide
necessary context for the text being analyzed, no more than two secondary sources may be used.


Follow the link in Blackboard to American Rhetoric. Choose one speech from “Top 100 Speeches” or
st Century Great” as the basis for this assignment.
Your audience will consist of your scholarly peers whom you may assume have only a casual familiarity
with the text that you are analyzing and may not have noticed or attached the same significance to the
rhetorical strategies you discuss.
Follow the deadlines for each part of this assignment as listed on your course calendar and schedule. Be
sure to complete each upload to Blackboard as scheduled on the calendar.


In addition to the general information provided in the syllabus, rhetorical analysis arguments will be
graded using the following criteria:

(30 points)
An effective rhetorical analysis will contain:
a claim about the text’s rhetorical effectiveness (your thesis)
a discussion of the author’s audience (intended and/or invoked)
a detailed analysis of how the rhetorical choices in the author’s argument
Effective rhetorical analysis arguments will demonstrate
awareness of the author’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos
awareness of your audience in analyzing the author’s argument
awareness of potential fallacies in the author’s argument
awareness of alternative views and counterarguments to your own
Avoid merely summarizing the author’s points, and avoid agreeing/disagreeing
with the author. Your purpose is to analyze, not to advance or attack the author’s
The essay should meet the assigned word range: 900-1,300 words. When you
check the word count of your essay, remember that headings, titles, and works
cited pages do not count.
(25 points)
The essay must include a thesis statement, and the thesis should be placed near
the end of the introduction.
All body paragraphs should support the main idea expressed in the thesis, and
each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that expresses the main
idea of that paragraph.
Body paragraphs should be arranged logically with transitional devices to assist
readers in following the chosen organizational pattern.
Mechanics &
(20 points)
Effective essays will be nearly free of mistakes in grammar and punctuation.
Style should be appropriate to audience and purpose.
(15 points)
Include appropriate signal phrases and citations for your sources so that readers
feel they can trust your information.
Essays should be documented using the MLA style manual for both in-text
parenthetical citations and the Works Cited page.
(10 points)
Essays should be formatted using MLA style guidelines. See the sample essay
that begins on page 485.


Last Updated on January 30, 2018 by Essay Pro