Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Analysis

For a printable copy, click here: Rhetorical Analysis


Purpose:  In this assignment, you will analyze a famous speech in order to determine how and why it is considered influential. Your objective is to show why the speech was effective or persuasive. We will practice the five processes of rhetoric, namely: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.  (To practice memory we will simply use photocopying, computers, note cards, and our mental powers to help us keep track of our research.)

In this assignment, you will write a 350-450 word analysis of a famous speech. You will work with your team to choose a speech to analyze. You will share ideas for the analysis and then you will individually, write your own analysis.  The speech you choose should be one that has affected “changed” the opinions and lives of many people. Your analysis will consider how it has been effective in making those changes.

Invention: Look at the following sites for ideas. There are plenty of speeches listed here. Choose 2-3 that interest you. Bring your ideas to your team.



As a class, we will discuss the ideas for speeches. You do NOT have to use a speech that others are using, but it may be less time consuming for you to share ideas about a single speech.

Print out the speech you intend to analyze. Then follow the instructions on pgs. 172-175 of Writing Today. You will analyze the speech as to its use of the rhetorical concepts of logos, ethos, and pathos. And you will do some background research following guidelines on pg. 174.

Arrangement: Choose one of the formats from page 168-169 and 175- 178 in Writing Today. In addition, add a picture or photo of the person who made the speech.


Style: Choose a style that will reflect the mood you want your reader to have while reading the analysis. Later in the semester, you will post your analysis to your blog. Will you want your blog readers to enjoy a witty and colorful style or a more formal academic tone? Read pg. 179 in Writing Today for help in choosing vocabulary and sentence structure that will help the reader get a feeling for the speech

Revision: RE-invention, RE-arrangement, RE-style: Conduct peer review sessions and revise your drafts. Look again at the guidelines on pgs 67 of Writing Today. Although these are guidelines for a different kind of paper, they can be very useful here. It is very important to TRIM out details that do not help your reader understand the “theme” of your analysis.  Also, follow the advice given on pgs. 180-181.

Delivery: Turn in the paper with the best appearance you are capable of producing.  (Follow guidelines given in the syllabus and in class.) Later in the semester, you will post this profile to your blog.

The paper will be 350-450 words long.  It will not be shorter nor longer than that. Check your syllabus for proper formatting of the paper.  If you draw on sources, you must include a Reference (Works Cited) page should be on a separate page. Document your sources by following the guidelines of MLA or APA style manuals.

Place your paper in a three-hole paper binder.  Behind your paper, place all drafts and invention and arrangement documents. Behind the invention material, place the photocopies of any articles you actually cited (not all those you collected) in your papers.


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