A Rhetorical essay is one of the most common types of essays that students write in colleges and universities. This essay requires analysis, persuasion, firm knowledge of the discussed material and ability to structure one’s arguments. The following writing tutorial answers the question of “How to write a rhetorical essay?”
Types of Rhetorical Essays.
There exist two major types of rhetorical essays: a rhetorical analysis essay and a regular rhetorical essay. The rhetorical analysis essay is an expression of your personal opinion on the chosen matter (text, article, book, film). A regular rhetorical essay on the other hand represents a line of reasoning, i.e. what you think a certain material (text, film, song) meant to you and to the target audience and why it meant that way.
Rhetorical Analysis. Essay Structure.
A rhetorical analysis essay differs from a book report or an article critique because you may provide more background on the author of the text as well as provide a summary of the book or the article. Still, it is necessary to keep in mind that the author’s point of view and your reaction are not found in a typical book report. You need to express the author’s viewpoint and your reaction to it only in a rhetorical analysis essay. Therefore, the best way to start a rhetorical essay is to speak about the author and his background. This is necessary to prepare the audience to develop proper attitudes and feelings and thus better understand the text’s backgrounds and your reaction. The next step is to summarize the text complementing it with your personal opinions as to whether or not you think the author expressed the ideas adequately, eloquently and properly. If not, provide an explanation for it, too. Then, it is recommended to describe points about the text that you personally think the author could have made better, clearer, or more eloquent.
Steps to write a Rhetorical Essay.
- Prepare an outline, pointing out the major points that will be further mentioned in the essay. The essay should strictly follow the outline.
- Organize the essay sequentially. Structure it in accordance with the outline. In this way your material will be presented in a predictable and smooth manner, helping the audience understand clearly the topic and the point you are trying to make. If there is some specific terminology, assume that the readers know little. So if you are speaking about financial instruments, define the main types. If you are speaking about capitalism—mention the main principles. If you are talking about healthcare reforms, mentioned the previous achievements in that field and the importance of the topic to the society.
- A rhetorical essay can be written on absolutely any topic. Still, to make the essay interesting and instructive, it is recommended that you pick some hot topics that interest the society at present. Those topics are usually mentioned in the main news on TV or online.
- Describe the subjects briefly before making your arguments or expressing your opinion on those. This is necessary to keep the readers on the same page with you, i.e. to give them a chance to recall the topic in their mind before reading about what your think about it.
- Express your opinion and feelings concerning the subject succinctly and clearly. Use appeals to logic, authority (referenced material) and emotions. Mix these appeals and provide strong reasons for your opinion. Make the audience/readers understand that you did your homework and have facts to back up your point of view.
Use References in Rhetorical essays.
To write a professional, high-quality rhetorical essay, it is necessary to use different appeals (logical, emotion and authority) in order to show the audience that you are proficient in the topic. You should remain concise and eloquent. Presenting only your opinions will make the rhetorical essay boring. Therefore, you need to backup your points of view with the facts and findings either directly or in such a way so that the audience independently forms a certain opinions that you want based on your findings. So instead of writing “I am against the war in Afghanistan”, you need to provide the findings (reasons) as to why this very war is not worth it and you as a rational human being is naturally against it. Do the necessary research, cite references and quote reputable sources. After all, unless you are an expert yourself, you can make the rhetorical essay more credible by mentioning what other experts have to say on the topic.
Rhetorical Essay Format.
Rhetorical essays (like most other essay types) require a formal format. Therefore, to write a good rhetorical essay it is necessary to avoid slang, lingo and jargon. Keep the things succinct and simple. Assure correct grammar and spelling. Make certain that you use consistent writing style throughout the paper. Use referred transitions to move from one thought to another, from one citation to another, from one point of view to another. An excellent rhetorical essay reads smoothly and elegantly; it discusses a hot topic, and provides logical arguments, followed by expert opinions and just a bit of emotion to show the audience that you are hot about the topic.
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