Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment Sheet

GENRE:  Rhetorical Analysis

OVERVIEW: “Ancient Greek rhetoricians distinguished among three kinds of appeals to influence readers—ethical, logical, and emotional. As you evaluate arguments, identify these appeals and question their effectiveness.  Ethical arguments (ethos), also known as credibility arguments, call upon a writer’s character, knowledge, and authority. Reasonable arguments/logical appeals (logos) appeal to readers’ sense of logic, rely on evidence, and use inductive and deductive reasoning. Emotional arguments (pathos) appeal to readers’ beliefs and values” (Hacker & Sommers, 2021, p. 77).

“When you study how writers influence readers through language, you are analyzing the rhetoric (available means of persuasion) of what you read.  When you identify a writer’s purpose for responding to a situation by composing an essay that puts forth claims meant to sway a particular audience, you are performing a rhetorical analysis” (Greene & Lidinsky, 2021, p. 53).

DEFINITION:  The rhetorical analysis is an essay grounded in argumentation. The rhetorical analysis builds upon the reaction; instead of responding to a reading personally, students will evaluate the text’s quality or worth according to a set of established criteria. The critique also builds upon the review; rather than reviewing the quality of a product, book, or movie, students are evaluating the quality or effectiveness of a writer’s argument. The critique is a much more analytical and intellectual enterprise than a simple summary, a reaction, or a review. A rhetorical critique requires students to analyze the quality of a text by judging how effectively the author uses the three rhetorical appeals ethos, logos, and pathos.


  • The essay should be submitted in APA format; see APA tab in A Writer’s Reference
  • The essay should offer a rhetorical analysis of Jia Tolentino’s “The I in the Internet,” Inquiry pp. 658-666 detailing its effectiveness or ineffectiveness as it relates to the three rhetorical appeals.

*************WARNING: You must read the article from our textbook. If you Google the title of this article, you will get a different selection from Jia Tolentino that contains markedly different content, and your essay will receive a 0.

  • This APA document should contain 5-6 pages (the title page is page 1. The first full page of essay is page 2 of the document. The second full page of essay is page 3 of the document. You need at least a couple of lines on the next page, which is page 4 of the document. You also need a References page, which is page 5 of the document). The body of the essay comprises 2-3 pages.
  • The essay should contain a minimum of five paragraphs.
  • Body paragraphs should contain 9-19 lines of typed text.
  • Quote from the text at least once in each body paragraph.
  • Do not use quotes containing more than three typed lines of text. Use only what you need from the text in your quotes; paraphrase the rest.
  • NO OUTSIDE SOURCES are allowed in this essay. Use only the article from the textbook.
  • Use APA in-text citations and an APA References page. As always, even a single missing in-text citation or missing References citation or References page constitutes plagiarism and results in an automatic failure of the essay.
  • Overt plagiarism results in a 0 on the essay with only chance to revise to a score of 50%.

WRITING PROMPT: Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness (effective? Ineffective? Moderately effective?) of the use of rhetorical appeals (pathos, ethos, and logos) in the article by Tolentino.  



Start by introducing the general topic of the article. Give the author’s full name and the title of the article in the introduction. In your Reaction Essay, you summarized the article in the first body paragraph, but for this one, summarize the main claims, types of evidence, intended audience, and purpose in writing in the introduction. The thesis sentence should offer an evaluation of the argument’s effectiveness given an analysis of its rhetorical appeals. Be specific, though, about what the author is doing with pathos, ethos, and logos. [Here’s a vague, weak sample thesis: “Janice Turner’s argument is strong because she uses pathos, ethos, and logos in her article ‘Cutting Edge.’” This statement is too vague because it doesn’t pinpoint what the author does well in her use of pathos, ethos, and logos. Improved, strong sample thesis: “In ‘Cutting Edge,’ Janice Turner uses dynamic language and vivid examples to evoke readers’ emotions, engaging anecdotes from doctors to establish her credibility, and logical interpretations of data to persuade readers.”]  Note that in this example, the student doesn’t use the words “pathos, ethos, and logos,” but she refers to their associated concepts: evoking readers’ emotions (pathos), “anecdotes…from doctors” (ethos), logical interpretation of data (logos). That’s perfectly fine with me!

Body Paragraphs:

  • Each body paragraph should generally contain 9-19 lines of typed text
  • Use at least one quote from the text.
  •  Use PIE to ensure that each body paragraph contains these essential elements.
    • In this essay, your POINT in the topic sentence is your evaluation (effective, ineffective, moderately effective) of the author’s use of one type of rhetorical appeal (pathos, ethos, or logos). The point ties to one of the points from your thesis.
    • To ILLUSTRATE the point, use carefully chosen examples of this type of appeal from the text you’re analyzing by quoting and/or paraphrasing the author. Each body paragraph should contain at least one quote, but do not use more than three typed lines of text for any quote.
    • To EXPLAIN the illustration(s), analyze how and why these examples support your evaluation of the rhetorical effectiveness of the argument. Clarify how your examples from the text advance your claims about the article. This is your analysis and evaluation, and it’s the most important work you do in this paper. Each body paragraph should develop in this manner.


Conclude your essay by summing up the points from the analytical work you’ve done. Make sure you leave your reader with something interesting to consider, as well. For example, why are the issues brought up in the article important? How do the rhetorical strategies used here affect how well readers understand the issue?

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