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Elements of Language/Rhetorical Strategy Essays


   On composing a rhetorical analysis:
   "...don’t just describe techniques and strategies in your rhetorical analysis.  Instead, show how the key devices in an argument actually make it succeed or fail.  Quote language freely from a written piece, or describe the elements in a visual argument.  Show readers when and why an argument makes sense and where it seems to fall apart.  If you believe that an argument startles audiences, challenges them, insults them, or lulls them into complacency, explain precisely why that’s so, and provide evidence.  (E.A.A. 98).

 Your rhetorical strategies thesis should reflect the complexity of the piece that you’re studying, not just state that “the essay has good pathos and ethos but lousy logos.” In developing a thesis, consider questions such as the following:


·        How can I describe what this exigence achieves?

·        What is the purpose? What is the reader to do with this purpose?

·        What audiences does the argument seem to address?

·        For what audiences does it work or not work?

·        Which of its rhetorical features will likely influence readers most: Audience connections? Emotional appeals? Style?

·        What aspects of the argument work better than others?

·        How do the rhetorical elements interact?


Here’s the hardest part for most writers of rhetorical analyses: whether you agree or disagree with an argument doesn’t matter in a rhetorical analysis.  You’ve got to stay out of the fray and pay attention only to how—and to how well—the argument works (E.A.A. 125).

What does Everything's an Argument say about thesis statements?