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!


The War in Syria

syria war

Click here for some background on the conflict in Syria. More information here, courtesy of PBS.

Consider the following two recent New York Times articles on the war in Syria and the United States’ possible intervention:

“Hearing You Out” (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times)

“What War Means” (Frank Bruni, The New York Times)

Complete a “Rhetorical Analysis.” Questions to consider:

  1. What is the main argument?
  2. Who is the audience?
  3. What appeals does the argument use (Logos, Ethos, Pathos)?
  4. Ethos: Who is making the argument? What authorities does it rely upon?
  5. Logos: What facts, reasoning, evidence are used?
  6. Whose interests does it serve? Who gains/loses by it?
  7. How is the argument organized?
  8. How does the language/style work to persuade the audience?

From Everything’s An Argument (Lumsford, Ruszkiewicz, Walters, 92-93).

Discussion Question: Do you believe the United States government should intervene (get involved) in the war in Syria?

Night Persuasive Appeals



AP English Language Assignment

Essay Prompt: Which of Aristotle’s persuasive appeals—Ethos, Logos, or Pathos—does Wiesel use in the text Night to convince us that we should stand up in the face of injustice?


  • Choose one of Aristotle’s persuasive appeals.
  • Write a critical essay about Wiesel’s text, Night, examining his persuasive appeals.
  • Include specific textual evidence to prove your assertion.
  • Use MLA Format for citations and typing guidelines. Avoid plagiarism!
  • One page typed, double spaced, maximum.

Due Monday, September 9!

Feel free to discuss the question below.