How to Create a Rhetorical Analysis Outline

If you're a literature student, rhetorical analysis essays are popular in your course. For scholars doing such compositions for the first time, they can be a bit complicated. Luckily, it's not rocket science, and anyone with the desire and willingness to learn how to write such compositions can do so with some practice and help. Such articles are all about analyzing another piece of literature.

The first step completing any piece of literature is doing some planning and organizing which will involve research, creating a thesis statement and finally developing the outline. It's only after the above is done can one proceed to write the paper itself. If your goal is to create a high quality composition, then you have to follow that process. Even if you choose to go get assistance, it’s still good to understand what to do. Helper websites are there but not everyone can afford them so sometimes you have to learn the basics and here we give them to you.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay - What Is It

This is a document which presents an author's analysis/critique of another text, book or speech. The task is that students will read the text to be analyzed and then give their analysis by portraying the writer's logos, pathos and ethos. It may sound scary but it’s actually refreshing and intellectually stimulating because you get to read the texts and speeches by famous authors, sometimes even your favorite celebrities.

To get a clear picture of what a rhetorical essay entails, here’s an example. If you are a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, you've probably watched the movie Inception. The movie is unique, it delves into the dream world and you learn about dreams within dreams. It’s a fantasy, of course, but the idea is great nonetheless. The lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio is a thief, more of corporate espionage stuff.

His most significant talent is getting into people's dreams and stealing their secrets. His latest mission is different and involves planting a dream rather than taking as is the norm. The whole thing sounds far-fetched, but if you get the concept of the movie, then you get to understand what rhetorical essays involve. It focuses on writing and reading about the book.

Using the concept of the movie, think of it like text within text. Such pieces attempt to break the author’s approach into pieces. Your essay will dissect the writing by looking at the literal tools, words, writing styles and phrases used by the authors. The highest skill is to be able to pinpoint different approaches that the author uses in their work and how they make an interconnection, a web of meanings that all work for some unified purpose.

Approach to Follow for Your Outline

Reading and noting down important places of the text is a given. But what else? Things to look out for will include:

  •  Relevant information about the author
  •  Who is the text meant for, the portrait of an average reader
  •  Why it was written? What problem did it aim to solve? What historical context inspired the theme?
  •  What’s the ultimate goal of an analyzed piece? Is it single or not?

The rhetorical analysis papers are meant to convince the readers into seeing your point of view or accepting your arguments. It is achieved through a seemingly complicated but actually simple system of three crucial concepts. The three notions serve a critical part of your essay and refer to the following;

Ethos – A look into the author’s credibility/legitimacy. You wouldn’t trust anything, right? Your reader as well, that’s why evidence and proof are needed that the text is reliable.


“Health fitness instructors recommend exercises as part of the losing weight regimen. “

Pathos – A secret technique, some call it. It is what you do to get a relatable article and to get your audience to deeply understand and process it. The secret is simple as that: appeal to emotions and what’s troubling them.


“You will be able to lose your weight because you have the three things that most individuals’ desire: the passion, willingness and motivation to do so. “

Logos – Even if your audience gets emotional about your text and even if touches on things in them that are deep and hidden, you still have to present logic and research for them. After all, rarely do people believe their emotions, they need logic too. This is what this part entails in you work.


“The extreme weather conditions witnessed today is clear proof that global warming is real.”

Step By Step Guide to Writing the Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Step 1: The hardest and the easiest: choosing what to review. If you can pick a topic, pick the one that’s close to your interests. If you can’t, do what you can with what you get and don’t get discouraged at the very start, you might learn so much more info and love it.

Step 2: Time to study your source carefully. Don’t skip this and don’t skip through the text like you’re rushing to get it over with, it won’t yield the results you want.

Step 3: You must have inquires after reading. Note them down, you are to answer them in your report.

Step 4: Use the checklist below to analyze different sections of the text, what makes it worth reading?

  •  The thesis statement argument
  •  The organization and flow of the text, is it entertaining and informative to the audience?
  •  Point out the presentation of pathos, logos, and ethos in the text using examples from it
  •  Establish the target audience. Are they children, students, parents, teachers, business people, or athletes among others?
  •  Identify the text format. Is the text in formal or informal English? It will include an analysis of the unique wordings utilized by the author in the text.
  •  The tone set by the author of the text. It can be sarcastic, humorous, ironical, serious, melancholic or casual among others.
  •  Does the text qualify as persuasive to the audience?
  •  Did the writer achieve their intended objectives?
  •  Assess the language and grammar. That implies looking at grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, evidence presentation, sentence structure, flow, and paper organization.
  •  Identify, define and explore some of the rhetorical tools and techniques employed by the author.

Developing a Draft

Having read the text to be critiqued and now with a thorough understanding of the author’s intentions and techniques used, the next step is to create the rhetorical analysis paper outline. Remember that while reading and analyzing the text, you were highlighting some key areas and took notes. Using the notes, you will create your paper outline. Like most essays, the rhetorical pieces follow this structure:

  •  Introduction
  •  Body
  •  Conclusion

The Introduction

It is the opening paragraph of your text. It should be interesting to read but at the same time inform the reader precisely what is entailed in the writing. It will be brief and straightforward living out the details for the body of the text. It should address most if not all of the queries that the writer raises with regards to the book. At the end of the paragraph, it should come to a close with a thesis statement.

The Body

It's the part of the text that provides a more detailed explanation of the arguments presented by the writer. Every point presented must link to the papers thesis statement and theme of the paper. While analyzing the text, all the questions raised will be addressed in this section and will include evidence from the same document. In the end, the audience must clearly see the thesis statement.

Utilize the use of the three critical ingredients – logos, ethos and pathos in the body to present your information on the analyzed text. Your body will include the following:

  •  Discuss the audience
  •  Present the logos, ethos, and pathos
  •  Present the counter-arguments and the supporting evidence

The Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of your text. It's the paragraph that concluded your rhetorical analysis paper. Having provided details on the document under analysis in the introduction and body paragraph, the next step is to offer a conclusion of your take in this paragraph. Provide a precise summary of the text analysis.

Final Touches

Do not forget that any paper, when it’s not a draft, should strive to be perfect. A draft is allowed to have errors and mess, the final version does not need this in its body of work.

Creating a stellar rhetorical analysis paper is a process which takes time. A lot of organizing and planning is put into the whole process. Part of the steps to having a well written rhetorical analysis paper is proofreading it. You may have the perfect analysis and arguments but with language and grammar errors, comprehending your writing will be a bit difficult. Use the checklist below to ensure that your text is flawless, organized and has flow.

  •  Grammar – Check that your paper doesn’t have typos. Avoid sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. They make your paper unattractive to the audience.
  •  Plagiarism – use available software online to check your work for plagiarized content. Copied work lowers the quality and affects the credibility of your essay.
  •  Employ the use of unique vocabulary, but do not overdo it.
  •  Write coherent text. It will appeal to all audiences.
  •  Use present tense
  •  Don’t summarize the text being critiqued, respond to it
  •  Give your essay a good title


This type of essay is not that common so it generates confusion. But with simple tips like these, you are posed to invent something truly great with your own piece of work. Remember the three concepts throughout and rely on them without fear. Appeal to the emotions of the readers and them show them evidence they need to believe you and you analysis. Do not be afraid of complicated subjects, this type of work allows you to really grasp them and win you teachers’ and peers’ admiration. Best of luck to you.

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