Rhetorical analysis
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Rhetorical Analysis. Using the Joliffe Framework Design. Rhetoric. Rhetoric, as a term, has a multitude of meanings. Starting with the ancient Greeks, each generation of civilization has crafted new definitions, explanations, and meanings for this term. Rhetoric is a Remediated term .

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Rhetorical Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis

Using the Joliffe Framework Design


  • Rhetoric, as a term, has a multitude of meanings. Starting with the ancient Greeks, each generation of civilization has crafted new definitions, explanations, and meanings for this term. Rhetoric is a Remediated term.

  • While this may make it sound impossible to define the term, there is one thing each definition has in common . . . Aristotle.


  • In @ 350 BC, Aristotle defined rhetoric as the art of persuasion using all available means.

  • In other words: All Communication is Rhetoric.

  • This definition is the root of all other definitions; therefore, for our purposes, it will serve as the foundation for our study of rhetoric.

Oral vs. Written

  • Oratory – oral rhetoric, often thought to be the more superior form of rhetoric.

  • Why?

  • Written – is what it says it is, often thought to be the weaker form of rhetoric?

  • Why?

  • Is this still the case?

Rhetorical Situation

Rhetorical Situation: Exigence

  • Problem, incident, or situation causing the writer to write the piece

  • What prompted the writing of this piece?

  • Most likely, the piece would not have been written if it had not been for this.

Rhetorical Situation: Audience

An audience has either an:

  • Immediate response

  • Intermediate response (think about later)

    So, which type of response does the author want from the audience?

    In this way, the audience shapes the rhetoric.

    No audience is a tabula rosa.

Rhetorical Situation: Purpose

The purpose is developed as a small focus for the exigence, a focus that can be tackled in one persuasive act.

Moreover, the purpose is developed with the audience in mind.


Appeals: Logos

  • An appeal to logic

  • An attempt to persuade the reader by presenting a logical argument

  • Why is this appeal important?

  • If, then statements

  • Syllogistic inferences/conclusions

  • Deductive reasoning

Appeals: Logos

  • The central appeal of anything is that it must be logical.

  • Without logic, nothing that follows is reasonable.

  • You must consider the logos within the author’s writing.

  • That being said, there is one appeal that may be used to override logic and allow untruths to become truths.

Appeals: Ethos

  • The ethical appeal

  • An attempt to persuade based on moral grounds

  • Right vs. Wrong

  • Good vs. Evil

  • Why is this appeal important?

Appeals: Pathos

  • An appeal to emotion

  • An attempt to persuade the reader by causing them to respond to the way an issue/topic makes them feel

  • Can invoke bias or prejudice

  • Uses non-logical appeals

  • Informal language

  • Why is this appeal important?

Appeals: Pathos

  • The true power, the true strength of a rhetorician is their ability to begin with logic and use the pathos of the audience to insert whatever “truths” will work to bring the audience to the speaker’s side.

  • Ethos, while often thought by new rhetoricians to be a powerful, logical appeal is actually an appeal that relies on pathos for its strength. After all, what is beliefs, truths, trusts, and values without the emotional tie that allows them to become logically true?


  • You must understand Logos, Ethos, and Pathos to understand the Tone

  • Logos, Ethos, and Pathos all contribute to determining the Tone

  • If you don’t recognize the Tone of the piece, you miss everything that follows

What is Tone?

  • The writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward a subject, character, or audience

  • Conveyed through the author’s:

    • Choice of words (diction)

    • Word order (syntax)

    • Detail, imagery, and language (figurative language)


  • Always work chronologically when analyzing a piece of literature.

  • You cannot identify shifts in tone and other elements if you don’t look at it chronologically.

Surface Features

Surface Features: Diction

  • What is diction?

  • Diction is word choice intended to convey a certain effect

    • To communicate ideas and impressions

    • To evoke emotions

    • To convey your views of truth to the reader

Surface Features: Syntax

  • Syntax is:

  • The arrangement and order of words in a sentence

Surface Features: Syntax

  • Sentence Structure

    • Short sentences are often emphatic, passionate, or flippant

    • Longer sentences often suggest the writer’s thoughtful response

  • Arrangement of Ideas in a Sentence

    • Are they set out in a particular way for a purpose?

  • Arrangement of Ideas in a Paragraph

    • Is there evidence of any pattern or structure?

Surface Features: Imagery & Figurative Language

  • The use of language to appeal to the senses

  • Simile, metaphor

  • Allusion

  • Alliteration

  • Etc.

Surface Features

  • Consider how surface features contribute to the message

  • Syntactical elements are usually there for either parallelism or difference

  • All of those multisyllabic terms are there to show how things in the piece are the same or different (antithesis, parallelism, etc.)

  • Figurative language is metaphorical; therefore, it makes abstract things concrete

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