Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis is a special kind of essay that interprets or evaluates the message of another text (media object) by paying attention to what it means and how it means.


Further develop your ability to make an argument. Practice developing and supporting your assertions with good grammar and careful reasoning. Learn more about good writing or communication by analyzing an object that interests you.


A rhetorical analysis should have a central claim or thesis that is supported by evidence such as interpretation of quotes and facts from external sources, connected by your organized reasons.

Following the Little Seagull guidelines, it should also pay attention to context and medium (songs are different from Youtube videos; Craigslist ads are different from Superbowl ads).

External Link to Little Seagull via D2L

Typically, the content, style and other aspects of a work are carefully designed to work together in a way that an intended audience will appreciate. You might evaluate a work in terms of whether it achieves this. You might analyze a work in terms of how its creator makes interesting or problematic decisions. (There are some great examples of advertisements that backfire or media that goes viral and appeals to unanticipated audiences in surprising ways.)

If you choose a multimodal example for analysis, you can include links to audio clips, video stills, etc., but your essay should be written so as to make sense even without these additions.


  • 750-1000 word rough draft
  • 500-600 words final draft (changes highlighted)
  • 12 point font
  • single-spaced
  • Sources (3):
    • original text/object of analysis
    • critical essay from class (cite key terms from at least one assigned essay (Amiccui, Carroll, or Kim))
    • additional critical article or essay. You CHOOSE this based on what you need for your essay
  • appropriately cites all sources, including the object of analysis
  • a link to your object of analysis if appropriate OR a PDF attached as an Appendix

Proper Header Your Name
Prof Sherwood
ENGL 101 - Section (number) - Essay 03 - Rhetorical Analysis
Your Original Title (centered)