A rhetorical analysis is a type of paper that dissects the means by which the message was conveyed in a text, speech, or another medium. Rhetoric topics for an essay or research paper often focus on non-fiction writing and public speeches, which are easy to analyze through the lens of the rhetorical triangle, message, speaker vs. audience dynamic, artistic and inartistic proofs, etc. However, more broadly, rhetoric topics for essays can explore a variety of media: print advertisements, motion pictures, songs, and poetry.
Whether you look for inspirational rhetorical analysis topics for essay, you can make almost anything your object.
The structure of the rhetorical analysis is similar to other academic papers. In its most basic form, the analysis can be presented as a 5-paragraph formation familiar to every essay writer:
- Main body:
- Description: What is the text about? Who and when created it? How does it look like? What are the main rhetorical appeals?
- Analysis: How does the author convey rhetorical appeals? What is omitted and why? Did the perception of this text change over time?
- Evaluation: How effective is this text in conveying the message? Is it persuasive? is it ethical? What can be changed about it to make the message more powerful and clear?
There are several key points to concentrate your analysis on:
- Appeals: ways in which the author persuades the audience. There are three main appeals in classical rhetoric (also referred to as "rhetorical triangle" or "Aristotelian appeals" ):
- Logos – logical arguments, appeals to reason.
- Ethos – moral arguments, appeals to the sense of right and wrong.
- Pathos – emotional arguments, appeals to feelings (passion, anger, sympathy, etc.)
- Rhetorical situation: main elements of the communication and relationships among them.
- Audience – readers, listeners, viewers, either real, invoked, or imagined.
- Author – speaker, writer, artist, director; the creator of the text.
- Purpose – the reason why the text was created and its intended effect.
- Medium – how the text was conveyed: printed text, images, sounds, performance, multimedia (digital format incorporating text, video, and sound, performance, etc.)
- Context: time, place, public sentiment, and discourse surrounding the text at the moment of its creation and delivery.
- Claim – the main opinion, belief, or idea that the author sets out to communicate and prove.
- Support – evidence that backs up the claim (facts, statistics, the expert takes, emotional appeals, etc.)
- Warrant – values, beliefs, and experiences that the author assumes to share with the audience. Warrant creates a connection between the claim and the support.
James Joyce's Ulysses and a 20-second TikTok alike can be broken down into these components and analyzed, so the possibilities for rhetorical analysis are pretty much endless. To help you choose, we have put together this list of 100 rhetorical analysis paper topics divided into five major categories:
- Personal rhetorical analysis topics.
- Speeches and political discourse topics.
- Advertisements and brand voice topics.
- Non-fiction rhetorical analysis topics.
- Fiction rhetorical analysis topics.
While you are looking for good topics to write a rhetorical analysis on, you may notice that some of them are linked to samples from our free library. You are welcome to read any number of those to familiarize yourself with the format. See how rhetorical analysis principles and tools were used by other students and applied to different objects. Happy learning!
Personal Rhetorical Analysis Topics List
This section contains topics for self-analysis or just things that might fascinate you personally: your diary, a family heirloom, favorite song. If you'd rather stay on familiar territory to dip your toes into the rhetoric analysis, choose one of these:
- Rhetoric in Everyday Life Essay
- My Writing Toolbox: The Rhetorical Triangle
- The Rhetorical Triangle In Discourse Analysis
- Rhetorical Self-Analysis of a Descriptive Writing Piece
- Rhetorical Self-Analysis and Reflection on Your Academic Paper
- Rhetorical Analysis of Your Business Writing
- Describe a Process of Applying Rhetorical Analysis
- How Did Rhetorical Analysis Influence Your Writing Style?
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Peers Essays (Two of Your Choosing)
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Texting Style
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Personal Journal
- Analyze the Speaking Style of a Family Member or Close Friend
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Speech Patterns (You May Want to Record Some Samples for This Task)
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Most Popular Social Media Post
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Favorite TikTok Personality
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Favorite YouTube Channel
- Analyze a Piece of Your Own Writing from Some Years Back
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of the Lyrics for Your Favorite Song
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Favorite Blog on Tumblr
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Letter from a Family Archive (Parents/Grandparents Correspondence, etc.)
Topics for Rhetorical Analysis of Speeches and Political Discourse
Public speeches and political addresses are the traditional objects of rhetorical analysis essays and for a reason. They make good material for practice since they are usually very clear and straightforward in their intent, context, and rhetorical situation.
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King's Speech I Have a Dream
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Your Public Speech/Civic Engagement Letter/etc.
- Analyze Frederick Douglass's Fourth of July Speech
- Frederick Douglass' Most Effective Rhetoric Strategy
- Situational Rhetoric: Obama's 2004 Democrats Convention Speech
- Compare and Contrast Two Speeches of Your Choice
- Rhetorical Analysis of Far-Right Extremism In Europe
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Statement to the Court Made by Eugene Victor Debs
- Rhetorical Analysis Of The Ku Klux Klan Website
- Rhetorical Analysis of a Political Advert by John Kerry
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Barack Obama's Speech Presented on March 18, 2008
- Rhetorical Analysis of The Victory Speech by Barrack Obama on November 4, 2012
- Fire and Ice: A Rhetorical Analysis of Malcolm X's The Ballot or the Bullet and J. F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address
- Rhetorical Analysis of What the Black Man Wants by Douglass Frederick
- Analyze and Compare Winston Churchill's We Shall Fight on the Beaches and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speeches
- Analysis of Political Speech in Linguistics: Obama's Inauguration Speech
- Analyze Speech by P.G. Keating launching the International Year for Indigenous People of Australia
- Analyze J.F. Kennedy's Inaugural Speech
- Analyze the Delivery and Rhetorical Devices of any TED Speaker of Your Choice
- Analyze and Compare Two Opposing Comments on a Polarizing Subject
Advertisements and Brand Voice Rhetorical Analysis Topic Ideas
An essay analyzing breakfast cereal commercial? Why not! Such an assignment is typical for business and marketing majors. Still, it can also attract artistic students and anyone who wants to be more mindful about ways we as consumers are persuaded to buy.
- McDonald's Twitter Campaign and H&M's Potential Copyright Infringement
- Pantene Chrysalis Ad Rhetorical Analysis
- Rhetorical Analysis of Viking Gylltur Beverage Commercial
- Rhetorical Analysis of Advertisements (Two of Your Choosing)
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Consumer Goods Overview
- Analyze and Compare OTC Drug Commercials
- Analyze and Compare Two Most Memorable Commercials for You
- Comparing and Contrasting Rhetorical Devices Used in Japanese and American Commercials
- The Rhetorical Uses of Peace in TV Commercials
- The Role of Howard Nemerov's Santa Claus in Commercialization of Christmas
- Rhetorical Analysis of Budweiser: Lost Dog – the Bud Puppy Commercial You Can't Not Love Super Bowl Commercial
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Commercial That Conflates Sexual Connotations With the Product Being Advertised
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of an Ad for Toys
- Analyze and Compare Two Ads for Different Soft Drinks
- Analyze Shifting Rhetoric of Tabaco Products Through the Decades
- Analyze and Compare Two Ads for Bank Services. What Rhetorical Devices Are Used to Market the Same Services to Different Demographics
- Compare Rhetorical Devices Used by Apple Inc. vs. Microsoft Corp. to Market Similar Products
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Sportswear Ads of Your Choice
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Luxury Goods Ads
- Analyze and Compare Two Ads for Different Perfumes
Non-Fiction Rhetorical Analysis Prompts
Non-fiction literature and film is another typical example of a rhetorical analysis essay subject. Clearness of context and authorial intend brings this category close to speeches. However, the scope of media and forms is much more varied, which makes for an exciting analysis.
- Rhetorical Analysis of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon by Jeffrey Masson
- Write a Detailed Rhetorical Analysis of an Article About Communication
- Rhetorical Analysis of Social Media
- Rhetorical Analysis of Childhood Experiences of Domestic Violence by Caroline McGee
- David Suzuki's Essay The Right Stuff: Rhetorical Analysis
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Documentary film Sicko by Michael Moore
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Article 9/11 Hard Facts, Hard Truth
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Technical Report Seawater pH and Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide
- Rhetorical Analysis of Cannabis in Cancer Treatment Argument
- Rhetorical Analysis of The Ideal English Major by Mark Edmundson
- Rhetorical Analysis of Public Choice by William F. Shughart II
- Analyze the Usage of Informative and Conversational Tone in John McPhee's Non-Fiction Prose
- How Language Shapes Identity According to Amy Tan: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Essay
- Analyze and Compare Living Like Weasels by Annie Dillard Against Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell
- Rhetorical Analysis of Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness by Peter Fromm
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Popular Podcast (Your Choice)
- Write a Rhetorical Analysis of an Article on Poignant Social Issue
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Self-Help Book of Your Choice
- Write a Rhetorical Analysis of a Memoir of Your Choice
- Perform a Rhetorical Analysis of 2020 Debates on Mask Wearing and Other Pandemic Restrictions
Fiction Rhetorical Analysis Example Topics
Works of fiction are often objects of literature analysis, but they can be subjected to rhetorical analysis too! Layers of metaphors, irony, stylistic choices, and unreliable narrators make such analysis a challenging but rewarding endeavor.
- Analyze Speeches of Socrates in Plato's Phaedrus
- Analyze A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
- Rhetorical Analysis of the Short Story Cathedral By Raymond Carver
- Sherlock Holmes Of The Conan Doyle And Of The 21st Century Critical Thinking: Rhetorical Analysis
- Rhetorical Analysis of Do You Wanna Date My Avatar Music Performance
- Make a Quick Rhetorical Analysis of a Short Story, a Film, and an Article of Various Subjects
- Rhetorical Analysis of Tangled (Animated Film by Disney)
- Rhetorical Analysis of A Piece of Chalk by G.K. Chesterton
- Rhetorical Analysis of The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
- Analyze and Compare Styles of Narrators in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Coleridge's Poem Kubla Khan
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of Citizen Kane's Narrative Structure
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Character's Speech (Any Character of Your Choice)
- Analyze How Romeo + Juliet (1996) Handles Shakespeare's Text to Create Contemporary Narrative
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Popular YA Novel of Your Choice
- Analyze and Compare Two American Protest Song of Your Choice from Different Time Periods
- Analyze and Compare Rhetorical Devices Used by a Rap and a Spoken Word Performer of Your Choice
- Analyze and Compare Rhetorical Devices Used by Agatha Christie to Create the Unreliable Narrator in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Endless Night
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of George Orwell's 1984
- Perform Rhetorical Analysis of a Comic Sketch of Your Choice
If you need more inspiration on a specific topic, just go to our free library and search topics you are interested in by keywords or use our topic generation tool. You can also request a custom-made sample on any topic of your choice. Our expert writers will prepare a model essay for you in no time!