Chapter 7: Analyzing Rhetorically

What Is Rhetorical Analysis?

Rhetoric–the art of persuasion
Analysis–breaking down the whole into pieces for examination

Unlike summary, a rhetorical analysis does not only want a restatement of ideas; instead, you must recognize rhetorical moves and acts of persuasion. Remember the “Thinking Rhetorically” Chapter? The Owl of Purdue noted that rhetoric is happening all around us.  Well, it is but within the 21st century and abundance of information, it can sometimes be difficult to discern what is a rhetorical strategy and what is simple manipulation; however, an understanding of rhetorical moves will help you become more savvy with the information surrounding you on a day to day basis.

I contend that rhetorical moves can be a form of manipulation but if the audience can recognize those moves, then they are more critical consumers of information rather than blindly accepting whatever they read, see, hear, etc. Therefore, we will navigate the waters of rhetorical analysis where you will not be arguing a position or responding to an argument—you will be recognizing what the author is doing.

When writing a rhetorical analysis you must think and read critically because when you are looking for rhetorical moves, not trying to make a claim or statement. The goal of this essay is to explain what is happening and why the author might have chose to use that movies and how that choice might affect their audience. Based on this, the assignment is explanatory in nature, although there will be aspects of argumentative skills because you must negotiate with what the author was trying to do and what you think the author is doing. Edward P.J. Corbett has observed, rhetorical analysis “is more interested in a literary work for what it does than for what it is” (qtd. in Nordqvist).

In This Chapter

Rhetorical appeals and references to logical fallacies are introduced in this chapters as well as explanations for why these are important to readers and writers.