Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline – Tips & Writing Guide

tips to write rhetorical analysis essay outline

Students don’t like doing written assignments, especially if it’s a rhetorical analysis essay. Such a paper causes much controversy, incredible moments, and many authors have the impression that it is impossible to complete the task on A +. However, to understand what to write about in this essay, you must understand what it is.

A rhetorical essay is a paper in which the student needs to analyze something, from ordinary works of literature to artworks. Sometimes, the teacher may ask you to analyze the ad.

This task will teach you to study all the details of literary work. You can find the purpose for which the work was created or find out what the author was guided by, what inspired him. For a rhetorical essay, it is necessary to describe all the artistic techniques that the author used, how he conveyed emotions, and what elements he used to reach out to the reader’s soul.

For this reason, students find it the most challenging task. Even though the writing process involves many steps, it is not worth fearing. Once you understand the structure, create an outline, it will be straightforward to write an essay with rhetorical analysis.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline – What Is This?

A plan is a short synopsis of an essay. According to your plan, it should be clear what the essay will be about, its main idea, idea, the system of proof of this idea, and what conclusions the author of the essay comes to. Therefore, each point of your plan should carry certain information: be a speaker and communicator. Moreover, you should formulate this message in the form of a specific answer to the question. Remember! Each point of your plan should be one of the proofs of the main idea of ​​the essay. Do not allow the points of the plan to duplicate each other.

How to Create a Correct Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline?

To help you better understand how to draw up a plan correctly, let’s compare it with a human skeleton. The human body is very well structured – all the details are not superfluous. Therefore, your outline should look the same. If you follow the plan, writing an essay will be more accessible, and the text will be thought through.

Before you start writing a plan, make a goal. You must understand what information you want to convey to the reader. Analyze authoritative books, articles, magazines and find information on the topic. Perhaps it will come in handy for creating an essay and knowing the purpose, having reliable sources, studying the potential reader, and finding out what he would like to know.

If you find it challenging to compose a plan based on our tips, use the ready-made template. You can add additional paragraphs to the essay. However, the structure below is standard, and you will not make mistakes.


The introduction is the first part of your essay in which it is necessary to introduce the reader to the topic. Please tell the reader what work of art you are analyzing. Why is your topic relevant, and why pay attention to it. When analyzing a work of art or literature, keep the following elements in mind:

  1. Author.
  2. Potential audience.
  3. Background context.

Do not write too much information about the analyzed object in the introduction. Leave all vital information for the center section. In the introduction, write only to the point and briefly. Draw your readers’ attention to essential details. Also, in the introduction, indicate whether you managed to fully analyze the object so that the reader understands what awaits him in your article.

Come up with a hook. This can be statistical data, quotes, aphorisms, examples. Describe the purpose for which the author created the work. At the end of the introduction, write the thesis statement and highlight the main issues you want to understand. The thesis statement will set the tone and structure of the essay. Therefore, treat this element with great care.

Thesis Statement

Without a thesis statement, any essay falls apart, the structure crumbles, and the text is hard to perceive. The thesis is the main idea that you will further prove throughout the text. A thesis is a statement or answer to a question posed by the topic of the essay. The thesis should be clear and concise. Ideally, one sentence, a maximum of two if you avoid complex syntactic constructions.

The thesis sets the thought movement trajectory: if you want to get points for the logic of presentation and semantic integrity, your thought must develop sequentially. If there is no thesis in the essay, then, in fact, you have nothing to prove. Without a precise statement, the entire text is a collection of phrases gleaned from their authoritative sources or incoherent reasoning.

You can choose any thesis from a literary work. Or you can think of it yourself. However, understand that to identify the step taken effectively, you need to read the thesis statement to different people. If they do not have any questions regarding your point of view, you can proceed to the next work stage.

Elements of Analysis

After the thesis statement, you can indicate by what criteria you want to evaluate the object. Typically, writers evaluate work according to the following criteria:

  1. The simile is a method by which the author compares two similar objects and highlights what to like and dislike.
  2. Imagery – thanks to this method, the author finds out what style the author was guided by to describe the technique, objects, characters.
  3. Diction – with this method’s help, the student learns what artistic techniques the author used to express the thoughts—for example, epithets, metaphors, hyperboles, comparisons, etc.

Body Paragraphs

In the central part of the essay, you begin the process of analyzing a work of art or literature. Here you describe what tools, artistic techniques the author used. Did the author manage to express your thoughts logically? That is, you evaluate the work according to the criteria that we indicated above.

The body should contain at least three paragraphs. Start each section with a topical sentence that will emphasize the statement and make it strong. Also, you can write small quotes from the source text that you are analyzing in the central part. The quotation will provide you with evidence in support of the thesis.

If you are citing a text, then you must write your opinion on the selected phrases. Remember that your explanation should go overboard with the quoted phrase. You can indicate if the author used ethos, pathos, and logos. These are compelling methods for grabbing the reader’s attention.

Also, do not forget to indicate what strategies you used to analyze text or painting, sculpture, etc. If in the introduction you described that you want to find answers to some questions, then tell whether you managed to achieve this and in what way.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Sometimes the author can use rhetorical appeals – ethos, logos, pathos. Analyzing the text, find these elements and indicate what the author used them for. Perhaps to attract the attention of a reader or prove your point of view. To understand the concept of these elements and be able to find them, remember these values quickly:

  1. Ethos – in ancient philosophy, denoted habits, morals, temperaments, customs. As a more stable moral element of argumentation, ethos is often opposed to pathos as a temporary emotional experience. Aristotle interpreted ethos as a way of depicting a person’s character through the style of his speech and purposefulness as the main feature of human activity.
  2. Logos is a term in ancient Greek philosophy, meaning both “word” and “concept.” It is customary to call logos the writer’s verbal means to realize the concept of speech. If we try to abstract ourselves from the rest of the speech components, then logos can be simply a text written on paper and containing only a logical chain of the author’s judgments.
  3. Paphos traditionally means suffering and experience. In rhetoric, this means the ability of a writer to evoke emotions and feelings in his audience. This is very important for conflicting arguments. Since these problems do not have clear, logical answers, an argument’s success relies on the author’s ability to make the audience empathize with him. For example, when arguing for the legal prohibition of abortion, an author may use vivid words to describe babies and the innocence of a new life to create anxiety in the audience.

Rhetorical Strategies

When you write an essay, you can use various rhetorical techniques to express your point of view successfully. Most popular strategies:

  1. Description. Using this technique, you can describe the essence of the analyzed object. It would help if you conveyed to the reader what this or that work means in an understandable and accessible language. If you use many terms in your essay, this method is excellent for conveying thoughts.
  2. Cause and Effect. With this technique, you can help the reader understand why this or that situation happened and because of what. It would help if you described the reason in the future tense and the case in the past. However, if you want to call the reader to action, do not throw garbage – you can write what is happening now and what will happen.
  3. Process Analysis. With this technique, you can describe how the author did something. If you describe a picture, then what colours, techniques, emotions the artist used. Note that this method is most often applied to historical papers to show the events of past times.
  4. Compare and Contrast. Using this strategy, the author looks for similarities and differences between the analyzed objects. Thus, you let the reader know whether it is worth reading the book, whether there is a meaning in the picture, whether the movie is good.


The final paragraph is the part of the essay in which you can once again repeat the thesis and give the main argument. So you will once again show the reader what you were able to achieve with this research. Indicate how easy or difficult it was for you to analyze the object.

We have provided you with a basic plan that can lead you to success. Don’t be afraid to add paragraphs if they provide helpful information. Try to avoid repetition. We wish you to write an ideal rhetorical analysis essay!