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How to write a Critical or Rhetorical Analysis

A critical, or a rhetorical, analysis is an essay that evaluates a certain piece of writing. The writer should use critical thinking to define all the strengths and weaknesses of the text. Doing this, the writer should explain how successfully or poorly the original author of the analyzed text communicated the points. The main aim of the writer is to stay as objective, as possible. Evaluating the text, you must not express your own opinion about it, but try to define whether the author’s style is effective enough or not.

Rhetorical analysis is the way the writer identifies how the original author of the analyzed text uses the words that influence the audience. This is a kind of analysis that breaks the work into pieces and explains how these parts work together. As a writer of a rhetorical analysis essay, you should understand and explain what certain effect is created and what the main purpose of the original writer is: persuasion, entertainment or informing. The subject of a rhetorical analysis can vary. For instance, you can analyze a visual part of an advertisement to explain how it influences the audience. Or, you can analyze the oral speech and identify the key words and sentences creating the persuasion effect. The writer refers to the creator of the subject identifying not rather what exactly he is saying, but what tools he is using to reach a certain effect.

If the original text is about nature, then your paper is not about nature. Instead, you should discuss the way the author depicts the topic of nature. Your main aim is to write about the text, not to write another piece on the same topic. The short summaries of the original text could be used in order to provide evidence to your points, but avoid retelling everything that the author says. Rhetorical analysis explores the rhetorician’s techniques and tools used to fulfill the main goal. The writer should provide the examples of these techniques as well as to describe the effectiveness of these tools. Writing a rhetorical analysis, one should not say that he agrees or disagrees with the author’s argument. You have to explain how exactly the original writer makes his argument effective.

Writing the rhetorical analysis, it is easy to lapse into a simple summarizing, in case you will be mentioning every important point from the original text. In order to avoid summarizing, you should better focus on some major points and discuss them in detail.

Avoid using the pronoun “I”. These statements distract the reader from the passages you actually are analyzing. You should focus on the reasons why any piece of text is effective or not to define the strengths and weaknesses of the text. Your analysis will be strong enough, if you will try to remain objective expressing your opinion without the use of the word “I”.

Do not forget to use the phrases like “according to the author”, “the author writes that”, “the author says that”. Referring to the original writer’s ideas, you will avoid the sentences that would confuse the author’s voice with yours. Next, proceed with your own analysis, but remember to avoid using the pronoun “I”. In addition, use the proper citations and in-text quotations, when you refer to the author’s text.

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