Crafting a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

The outline for any type of writing is just like a skeleton, keeping a human body erect and well-structured. After choosing a good rhetorical analysis essay topic, following the correct rhetorical analysis essay outline will make the writing process logical and ten times easier.

Before you jump straight to writing, take your time to read and understand the original text carefully and analyze the information side by side. Focus on the author, his intended audience, his purpose, the setting, and other details.

‘How do you write a rhetorical analysis essay outline?’

To learn how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, continue reading the section given below.


The introduction section of your essay is the part where you inform your readers about the original text that you are going to analyze.

Consider the following elements of the text when doing the analysis:

  • Author
  • Target audience
  • Background context

Keep this information clear and to the point by focusing on important aspects of the text only. Also, the introductory paragraph must specify whether or not the author was successful in achieving his goal.

Start your introduction with an interesting hook. Briefly describe the author and the work, followed by your judgment and purpose of choosing it.

Write a strong thesis statement at the end of the introduction and highlight the point that you are going to discuss in the essay. A thesis statement is the most important component of the essay as it provides a brief guide on what is going to be discussed in it.

Thesis Statement

A thesis is usually one to two sentences long, written at the end of the introductory paragraph to define the purpose of your essay.

The thesis statement should be clear and concise, with the sole purpose of informing the reader what to expect from your paper.

Point out the tools used by the author and how they supported his argument.


As mentioned above, the thesis statement must outline the tools that you are going to analyze in the essay.

Typically, the authors use the following kinds of tools in their work:

Simile – a direct comparison of two things by using “like” and “as.”

Imagery – visually descriptive language.

Diction – the writer’s choice of words and style of expression.

Body Paragraphs

The body of a rhetorical analysis essay should analyze the original text or work. Analyze how the tools used by the author helped fulfill the purpose of the text.

Start each paragraph in the body section with a topic sentence that should refer back to your thesis statement and fortify it further.

In addition to the topic sentence, it should also include a short quote from the original text that you will use to stress the idea and analyze it.

The body should be made up of the analysis, which should be three times more than the quoted text.

The persuasive methods, ethos, pathos, and logos, will be used in the body paragraphs to analyze the content. Also, respond to the questions that are mentioned in the previous step and describe the strategies used by the author.

You can also use quotes and findings to support your thesis.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Did the author use rhetorical appeals such as ethos, logos, pathos? When analyzing the text, notice how the author has used them to prove his point.

Ethos displays how the writer establishes reliability and integrity through tone or credentials, or both.

Pathos is the use of feelings as an appeal to the audience’s emotions. The writer may add pathos by using emotional language or personal stories.

Logos indicates the logical use of the author’s ideas and how he concludes things. Make sure you keep them in your mind while analyzing your text, and employ these tips in your paper.


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Rhetorical Strategies

Authors use different types of rhetorical techniques or strategies to examine and better analyze the paragraphs and the content of the entire essay. These strategies help the authors to express their point of view and persuade the audience by following a pattern.

The most common strategies leading to an engaging rhetorical analysis include:

1. Description

Defining strategy involves telling your reader about what something means. It explains what something is and something is not. Defining strategy makes sure your readers understand what you mean by a specific term.

2. Cause and Effect

It focuses on the causes to help readers understand why something happened. Cause concerns the future while effect looks back at the past. But you can use this strategy either way from the present to the past or from the present to the future.

3. Process Analysis

With the process strategy, the writer illustrates how something is done. It goes from everyday processes like writing an application letter to complex processes such as how to face death. This rhetorical strategy is mostly used in historical essays to show how something has been done in the past.

4. Exemplification

One of the most commonly used rhetorical analysis strategies is where the writer provides examples to illustrate a larger point in detail. To make a point, there should be a clear relationship between the examples and the point you make.

5. Compare and Contrast

This rhetorical strategy looks for similarities and differences. Compare and contrast strategy is widely used in writing reports, making an argument, or even giving a speech to convince your readers.

6. Narration

Another important and one of the fundamental rhetorical strategies. Narration is which we tell stories about our life experiences to make a point.


The concluding paragraph is where the reader leaves you; make sure you address your main argument to strengthen its effect.

Provide an overview of the positive and negative points of the text and state whether or not the text was effective.

This was the basic outline that needs to be followed when tackling a rhetorical analysis essay.

Great Rhetorical Analysis Essay Tips

When writing a detailed outline for your rhetorical analysis essay, make sure that you take care of the following things.

  • Study an essay topic, book, painting, or any other piece of art, thoroughly before choosing a topic for your essay.
  • Present the right information in each of the essay sections.
  • Do not mention the main details in the introduction and thesis statement section.
  • Do not add new information or ideas in the conclusion.
  • Reread and recheck the entire outline and key points after you are done writing.

Hopefully, you have understood the basics of the rhetorical analysis essay outline by now, and you are confident and willing to give it a try. If you want to learn more about rhetorical analysis essays, here is a detailed guide that covers everything about writing a rhetorical analysis essay.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of rhetorical analysis?

When writing a rhetorical analysis essay, the main purpose of the writer is to convey his message to the intended audience.

What is the difference between rhetorical analysis and critical analysis?

In a rhetorical analysis essay, different parts of a text or work are discussed as they work together to form meaning. In a critical essay, the different parts of the work are critically analyzed, and arguments are formed around them.

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