Rhetorical Analysis Essay E02 lit

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening    ARTIST: Janet Johnson    (c) (used with permission)
Inspired by Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Wood on a snowy evening.


Rhetorical Analysis Essay



Rhetorical criticism is the process of thinking about texts, discovering how they work, and why they affect us.  You will write an analysis of a communication artifact that has influenced you either in a positive or negative way.  You will then make a claim/thesis regarding the artifact and using your own analysis to influence your readers.


Choose a “text” to analyze.  You can choose a speech, a poem, or song lyrics.  Your analysis of your literature piece should explain why your text is persuasive, what question or problem it illustrates, and discuss the implications of this issue for your audience.  In other words, this text had an influential impact upon you.  For this assignment, you now want your analysis of your writing piece to, in turn, influence your audience (the reader).


This analysis should also draw on your own experience with your text.  You should give warrants/reasons for all of your different claims.  You need to support your claims with specific examples from your text.  Cite your sources in MLA throughout your paper and on your Works Cited page.  Also, include at least two in-text source citation with a direct quote from one of your sources.


Here’s some basics to help you get started in the research process for your analysis:


  1. Choose your text.  You can choose which elements of your writing piece you want to analyze. 


  1. Find at least one rhetorical device and expand on it, demonstrate how it is used and explicate why you feel it is used.  (use textual support to back up claim) 


  1. Put together a thesis statement that reflects your rhetorical stance and sets up the warrants to your claims. 


  1. Once you the rhetorical devices from your text, you can then use the rest of your research as evidence to support your claims. 



Now, you can use the rest of these guidelines to help you in the development of your overall analysis.


  • Define your text to contextualize your literary piece of study.  Your description of your piece should explain why you chose it. How is your piece is important in a larger context?


  • Describe and discuss the question or problem (or solution) of communication that your text illuminates.  Why is your writing piece significant?  What important issues does it exemplify?


  • Make a connection with your audience.  Why should your text be meaningful to your audience?  Why is your text persuasive and/or influential? 


  • Thoroughly discuss the implications of your writing piece.  Your paper should be clearly organized, include an introduction and conclusion.



Sources:   4 scholarly, peer-reviewed academic journals or articles found within the database AND/OR reliable web sources. 

Suggested sources:

  • reviews
  • essays
  • articles
  • television sources
  • literary critiques
  • biographical materials
  • historical materials


Be inventive - find other sources too.



Format Details

  • MLA (Modern Language Association format. Please see class main page for handouts with details.
  • MLA heading
  • 4 to 5 pages double spaced.
  • 3 to 4 sources.
  • 12 pt font Times New Roman
  • Standard MLA heading.
  • normal page margins (no newspaper columns accepted)


Essay Value: 100 points

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