Have you ever talked to a rambler? Someone who started off telling a story that seemed enjoyable, only to find out that this story has become a long-winded lecture?

This is the same risk you take when you don’t create a rhetorical analysis essay outline outline before writing. There’s a lot of information, background research, and preparation to deliver a rhetorical analysis properly – something that just winging the paper wouldn’t be able to deliver.

View 120,000+ High Quality Academic Documents

Learn-by-example to improve your academic writing

To cover our basis, we’ll explore what a rhetorical analysis is and how to develop a comprehensive outline that will help you in your writing.

What is a Rhetorical Analysis?

Everything around you is rhetoric, or some type of media created to evoke an action, feeling, or thought. Media is made to persuade an audience of a belief. For example, an obvious one would be an advertisement that urges you to buy a product. However, a blog or a news column is meant to sway you of someone else’s opinion as well.

A rhetoric essay is a piece of writing developed to analyze the text or piece of media.

The Two Main Goals of Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis takes a critical look at a piece of art from a TV show to a blog and considers whether it was able to convince you of its stance. The tone of such a piece of writing is persuasive and meant to convince the reader of your point using strong points of view supported by credible sources.

So, not only is rhetorical analysis meant to analyze a piece of media, but also aims to convince the reader of your point of view on it as well.

The Most Important Part of Rhetorical Essay Writing

Writing a rhetorical analysis all boils down to pinpointing your thesis statement. This is a single sentence in the introductory paragraph that precisely states the argument you are about to make about the piece’s choices and strategies.

Without a thesis statement, the piece is widely lost and without a North Star. It can also be a helpful guide as you develop the outline and make appeals to the audience.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Format and Outline

Student in library writing rhetorical analysis essay outline

The rhetorical analysis essay structure, it’s helpful to understand the different points you need to make and how to format the piece for optimal flow. The better your piece flows, and the ideas connect, the more easily the audience will stay engaged and perhaps agree with your argument.

The outline, like any other piece of writing, is the foundation of the home you’re building. Your thesis statement is the concrete slab, the body paragraphs are the frame, and the conclusion is the roof. These pieces are what you’ll build your argument around.

Let’s dive into the essay structure.

Key Rhetorical Analysis Essay Structure

In academic writing, your intended audience is likely your classmates and your professor. With this in mind, the structure of the piece should be methodical and flow easily from one concept to the next.

To begin, your introductory paragraph will introduce the topic, using a hook to grab the attention of the intended audience and showcase the piece of media you’ll be examining. In this paragraph, you’ll also give the reader a short sentence highlighting your three main points of the piece.

The three body paragraphs will consist of focused topics each to support your argument. In your outline, it could be helpful to pick out a few sources you think will help prove your point. You may also choose to select sections of the piece of media you want to analyze specifically such as a line from a character of a show, or the author of a speech. It’s important here to be specific and focused so your ideas don’t bleed into other paragraphs.

Your conclusion will come after you’re done analyzing the text and have clearly stated your stance. Here, you’ll briefly restate your three main points and appeal your stance. This paragraph is meant to be a reflection of the text, your argument, and a final verdict.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

If you’re trying to find an angle for your piece, consider whether the author used ethos, pathos, or logos to convince you of their stance – keeping in mind they might have used a combination of two or all of them.

Ethos is an ethical appeal to the audience. In your rhetorical analysis paper outline, consider how the author may have pulled at the audience’s morals to prove their argument. Politicians will often use this tactic to fund certain programs or to get reelected, stating that they agree with their party’s moral beliefs.

Pathos will use an emotional ploy to gain followers. In a rhetorical analysis essay format, you may pull out visual points from a video or an interview the author had that ended up in tears as examples and supporting evidence. Identifying these points in the outline can save you time during your writing process.

Finally, logos leans into the logical appeals of the audience – similar to how you’ll be writing this piece. The author will play on the audience’s intelligence and existing beliefs to convince them of their argument. For example, a new column may use statistical sources, and expert research to support their opinion to the point where the reader may even feel foolish for not considering their stance in the first place.

A great piece of rhetoric can pull in all three of these pieces of argument to win an audience over.

Your rhetorical analysis essay outline should be a piece of work that helps you save time during your writing phase, and give your piece a clear structure and flow. Not giving this step real-time and consideration could hurt you in the editing phase as you try and string together your ideas and appeals.

To follow, search for some of our theoretical analysis essay example outlines you can learn from.