Rhetorical Analysis Assignment

Download the Rubric for this assignment here.

Rhetorical Analysis of Your Own Writing

LENGTH: 700-900 Words


  • Traditional essay (intro, at least three body paragraphs, conclusion)
  • Double-spaced
  • Quotations and paraphrases from your literacy narrative in MLA format

For this assignment you will conduct a rhetorical analysis of your literacy narrative (or, if you prefer, some persuasive text you’ve written in the past).

Objectives:  To identify your rhetorical strengths and weaknesses; to analyze your own writing style and tone; to practice using quotations and paraphrase; to develop a thesis-driven essay


  1. Review my comments and the grading rubric on your graded literacy narrative; OR, find a text argument, a twitter argument, a Facebook argument, an email or letter you’ve written, a persuasive paper you’ve composed, etc.  It needs to be attempting to persuade someone to do or think something.
  2. Just as we’ve practiced with the professional essays we’ve read, you’ll look for rhetorical strategies and/or logical fallacies in YOUR OWN written argument. Some of the strategies you’ll examine will be things like: how did you establish your tone? What words did you use, and how did they impact the tone?  How did you organize your evidences? What kinds of evidences did you use? How did you present those evidences, etc? Use the Basic Questions for Rhetorical Analysis worksheet to guide your prewriting.
  3. Draft an essay in which you explain what strategies you made in your written argument, what mistakes you made, and what the impact of your strengths and/or weaknesses were on the success of your argument. You will show your reader what you mean by quoting from different parts of your argument as examples and then discussing those examples.
  4. Imagine your audience as someone who hasn’t yet taken this class. Your rhetorical analysis will guide that student through how to better analyze rhetorical contexts by using your literacy narrative (or other writing) as an example.
  5. Your rhetorical analysis should demonstrate to me that you understand how rhetorical strategies function (and that you can articulate that knowledge in an organized, coherent, and interesting essay).



  • Your introduction should establish the context for your argument and summarize any necessary knowledge your reader needs to know before you get into the analysis.  This might be explanation of the rhetorical context (what the assignment was, who you were writing to/for, when you wrote it, how long it took you, the grade you received on it if was a formal essay, etc).
  • Your introduction should contain an EXPLICIT THESIS that makes clear in a succinct statement (1-3 sentences) what you have learned, overall, about your rhetorical skills by analyzing them.  It should “forecast” what your body paragraphs are going to talk about.
  • Each of your body paragraphs should address a distinct aspect of your rhetorical skills.
    • Option 1: three body paragraphs explaining how effectively you used pathos and logos and established ethos and what you might have done to be more effective.
    • Option 2: three different rhetorical strategies you used (one per paragraph) that you can now identify in your literacy narrative (or other writing) and whether you used them effectively (why/why not).
    • Option 3: three body paragraphs organized into things you did effectively and things you should have improved on (ex: two effective choices you made as an arguer; one ineffective choice you made as an arguer)
  • Your conclusion should look forward and answer some form of the following questions: how did analyzing your own writing change your perspective of your own writing and/or of the debate itself?  How can that information be used in the future?