Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Rhetorical Triangle

Essay Prompt: What makes a speech effective and persuasive?  Choose one speech from the book, Great Speeches of the 20th Century, and complete a rhetorical analysis essay.  Consider the rhetorical appeals, devices, the audience, purpose and speaker.  Include specific textual evidence to back up your claims.

Essay Final Draft Must Include:

  • Clear Thesis/Claim
  • Specific textual evidence, cited in MLA Format, explained and analyzed
  • Elements of “SOAPStone” (Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, Tone)
  • Discussion of author’s Text Structure
  • Evaluate the author’s Rhetorical Appeals (Logos, Ethos, Pathos)
  • Analyze rhetorical devices (use academic vocabulary from AP Language packet)
  • A well-organized 2-3 page essay (Introduction, Body, Conclusion)
  • Editing/Revision for spelling, grammar and conventions
  • MLA Formatting (12 point, Times New Roman, Double Spaced, correct parenthetical citations)

Writing Process:

  • Rhetorical Devices Graphic Organizer (20 points)
  • Rough Draft (40 points)
  • Editing/Revision (20 points)
  • Typed Final Draft, MLA Formatted (100 points)

Final Draft due Wednesday, November 13!


Analyzing Rhetorical Texts


Use the following questions when analyzing rhetorical texts:

  • Which kind of text structure is used? Explain.
  • Identify the main argument (thesis).
  • Analyze the rhetorical appeals (pathos, ethos, logos).
  • Identify any figurative language used (similes, metaphors, allusions, hyperbole, etc.).
  • Assess the evidence presented to back up the argument.
  • Complete SOAPStone:
    • Subject: What is the topic of the text?

      Occasion: Why is the speech being delivered or passage written? Is it a special event?

      Audience: With whom is the writer or speaker communicating? How do you know? Which words tell you?

      Purpose: What is the audience supposed to do? What lesson should they learn? How is the audience supposed to feel at the end?

      Speaker (or author): Is the speaker a reliable person to discuss this topic? What qualifications does he or she possess?

      Tone: What is the tone or attitude of the speaker or author towards the subject?