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Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Topics and Guidelines

You can come up with a rhetorical analysis of various mediums - ranging from a scholarly article to a TV show or movie. The primary goal of this task is to identify the way in which the author of the analyzed piece develops an argument, as well as establish how successful they are in achieving that. Please, note that the students skilled in dealing with critical analysis or conventional essay may find it a lot easier to write the rhetorical analysis essay than those who have no such experience. This post defines this type of writing and shares the best rhetorical analysis topics.

Unlike the research paper, the rhetorical analysis essay aims to evaluate a specific piece of art or literary fragment based on both the writer's subjective opinion and ideas collected from books of other authors. To do that, you will need to investigate the analyzed subject using:

  • Books.
  • Magazines.
  • Newspapers.
  • Interviews.
  • Websites.
  • Other primary and secondary sources.

In many cases, the rhetorical analysis essay is a part of the AP English examination, which is why you should know the grading rubric by heart in order to succeed. Many experts define this type of academic assignment as writing about writing or dreaming within a dream, and though that may sound a bit confusing, these definitions do make sense. The most important thing you need to bear in mind when dealing with this kind of academic assignment is that you should show how well the separate parts of your essay fit one another.

Pre-Writing Steps

Before we move on to discussing rhetorical topics for an essay, it is essential to look at the main stages involved in writing this type of paper. Please, keep in mind that you will have limited time for this task during your exam, so make sure you spend it efficiently. Start off by reading the prompt slowly, paying attention to every detail and highlighting the primary questions to analyze, as well as the central claims to prove or refute. Take notes while reading the piece, putting down the author's full name, target audience, reasons to publish the text or another subject, goals the author plans to achieve, and the setting.

The student should also define the author's persuasion strategy, as well as show how the original author's approach to writing impacts three major elements, such as ethos, pathos, and logos.

What does each of these three elements mean? No matter which rhetorical essay topics you choose, you should always remember that:

  • Ethos is about ethics (explaining why the audience can or cannot trust the speaker).
  • Pathos refers to emotions (developing an emotional reaction to persuade the audience).
  • Logos stands for rational thinking (reasoning is the point).

Please, keep in mind that your instructions for the AP exam will provide you with some samples of these persuasive methods, so let's just look at some of them:

  • Ethos: "Football trainers around the world recommend these particular exercises for legs".
  • Pathos: "The newly discovered vaccine will surely be very effective as it has something other vaccines don't, i.e., the X ingredient".
  • Logos: "Millions of years of history prove that power corrupts humans".

Brief Overview of An Essay Outline

To begin with, it is important to introduce the topic properly, so make sure that your introduction includes an inspiring hook in the form of a fact, or literary quote that will make the reader want to study the paper all the way through. Also formulate your personal opinion and a well-crafted thesis statement, putting them at the end of the introduction.

There should be no more than three body paragraphs in your essay, each of them starting with a topic sentence that refers to the thesis statement and ending with evidence from studied sources and real-life examples. You should also explain how the chosen strategy works, reasons why the author picked this specific approach, and the way their strategy makes the audience feel. Be sure to include proper citations as well.

The conclusion is the last part of the rhetorical analysis essay in which you should provide a summary of the main points, make a future forecast, assess the impact of the analyzed content on the community, and restate the thesis using other words. Conclude by stating whether the reading is worthy of the audience's attention and provide your reasons.

Rhetorical Analysis Topics List

Now, let's consider some good rhetorical analysis essay topics:

  1. Evaluating the impact of Amy Poehler's "Yes, Please".
  2. Analyzing "Life in the Iron Mills" in-depth.
  3. Reasons why "The Great Gatsby" movie was a success.
  4. Why is "Pride and Prejudice" still relevant today?
  5. How are "Beowulf" and "The Odyssey" similar & different?
  6. A rhetorical analysis of one of the Shakespeare's plays.
  7. Character analysis of Hamlet.
  8. The main themes covered in "The Troy".
  9. The value of the Bible from the literary point of view.
  10. Summary and analysis of Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies".
  11. Thoughts on "A Nation among Nations".
  12. MCU films based on Marvel comics.
  13. "Essay on Man": The way the author shows different animals.
  14. The theme of loyalty in one of US authors' books.
  15. "Harry Potter": detailed plot analysis.

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There are different types of essays: narrative, persuasive, compare\contrast, definition and many many others. They are written using a required citation style, where the most common are APA and MLA. We want to share some of the essays samples written on various topics using different citation styles.

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