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What Is Rhetorical Analysis?

Unlike summary, a rhetorical analysis does not only require a restatement of ideas; instead, you must recognize rhetorical moves that an author is making in an attempt to persuade his or her audience to do or to think something.

The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to explain what is happening in the text, why the author might have chosen to use a particular move or set of rhetorical moves, and how those choices might affect the audience. The text you analyze might be explanatory, although there will inevitably be aspects of argument because you must negotiate with what the author is trying to do and what you think the author is doing.

“rhetorical analysis is more interested in a literary work for what it does than for what it is”

— Edward P.J. Corbett

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