Thesis for rhetorical analysis

What Makes a Strong Thesis Statement for a Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

A powerful thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis essay:

  • Avoids First Person: Refrains from using phrases like “I believe” or “I think.”
  • Guides the Reader: Serves as a roadmap for your essay, directing the reader’s understanding.
  • Asserts a Conclusion: Takes a definitive stand on the author’s rhetorical strategies.
  • Details Techniques and Impact: Specifies which techniques will be analyzed and their impact on the text’s effectiveness.

Examples of Strong Thesis Statements for Rhetorical Analysis

  • Effective Use of Statistics: “Jones effectively convinces his audience through the use of statistics and surveys paired with emotional stories.”
  • Objective Doubts: “Although Myers includes many convincing logical arguments through the use of historical facts, her readers may doubt her objectivity due to her sarcastic tone.”
  • Credibility through Ethos: “Thompson uses personal stories and details his extensive research to establish his credibility. These appeals to ethos, combined with his friendly tone, create an effective argument for —-.”
  • Pathos and Ethos: “Roberts effectively employs the rhetorical appeals of pathos and ethos. However, his use of unsupported logical appeals causes readers to doubt his claim that —- is supported by research.”
  • Unsuccessful Persuasion: “Mitchell’s attempt to convince the audience that —– is unsuccessful due to his insensitive word choice and angry tone.”

Note: The above thesis statements include the original author’s purpose/thesis. Your thesis does not need to include this as long as it appears in your introduction.

What a Strong Thesis Statement for a Rhetorical Analysis is NOT

A strong thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis is not:

  • A simple statement of your topic.
  • A broad statement.
  • A statement of facts or statistics.
  • A summary of the author’s essay you are analyzing.
  • A statement of what you’re going to do in the essay.

Examples of Weak Rhetorical Analysis Thesis Statements

  • Broad Issue Statement: “Abortion is a big issue in the United States.”
  • Author’s Claim Restatement: “The author claims abortion is a big issue in the United States.”
  • Essay Plan Statement: “I’m going to examine how this author uses pathos, ethos, and logos to convince his audience.”
  • Technique List: “The author uses pathos, ethos, and logos.”

For more help with writing your rhetorical analysis thesis statement contact us.

Thesis for Rhetorical Analysis Writing Help

Thesis for rhetorical analysis

What should be in the thesis?

  1. Something identifying your ad

This ad for Nike shoes…

This Trump political advertisement

  • Strong action verb

Uses, illustrates, portrays….

  • What rhetorical devices are used in your ad
    • Logos, pathos, or ethos,
    • Propaganda techniques
    • Elements in dissect an ad article
  • What are these rhetorical devices trying to convince the reader or viewer to do?

An example thesis:

This ad for Nike shoes uses logos, ethos, and pathos to try to convince the reader to buy these shoes.

Writing the introduction

  1. Attention-getter
    1. Quote
    1. Question
    1. Short story
    1. Fact or statistic
  2. Background info
  3. Link to thesis- rhetorical strategies
  4. End in thesis

Sample one:

What does it mean to be a witness? In 2007, Nike released a new ad campaign. In it, LeBron James is standing against a black background with his arms spread open, and he is gazing upwards. Across the top of the ad are the words “We are all witnesses.” In this advertisement, Nike utilizes logos, ethos, and pathos to convince viewers to purchase Nike products.

Sample 2:

Nike is a huge sportswear company with a major presence in the marketing world. Everyone is familiar with iconic Nike advertisements featuring Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods. Everyone recognizes the swish of the Nike logo. As soon as kids are old enough to recognize brands, they are asking their parents for Nike products. Nike and sportswear are synonymous. But what makes an advertisement great and memorable?  Why do all children of the eighties remember the slogan “Where’s the beef? Or be like Mike?” Many elements combine to make an advertisement persuasive, memorable, and impactful. The Nike “We are all witnesses” campaign featuring Lebron James utilizes the strategies of ethos, pathos, and transference to convince viewers to purchase Nike products.

Writing body paragraphs

Each body paragraph needs a topic sentence that states the main idea of that paragraph and is linked to the thesis statement. Try to use at least three examples to support topic sentence. Try to include several transitions- words like also, next, in addition, finally – to help the reader flow through your essay. Body paragraphs should not span an entire page. You can have multiple body paragraphs for each idea. In each body you introduce the appeal, explain what it is, give an example of the appeal, and then analyze how the appeal is used in the ad to accomplish something. Include a concluding sentence that summarizes the paragraph using different language than you used in the topic sentence.

Here is a sample body paragraph:

The second example of ethos in this advertisement is the use of LeBron James as a spokesperson. James is currently one of the most well-known basketball players in America. Nicknamed “King James,” his greatness in the sport of basketball is often compared to Michael Jordan’s. James is currently ranked first in the nation by NBC Sports (“Here are the top 35”). James has won four NBA championships and earned two Olympic gold medals. In addition, James has become a cultural icon with his many forays into commercials, movies, and television shows. Even non-sports fans recognize his name and his face and associate him with greatness. Having James as a spokesperson for Nike is an example of ethos. Because people view him as one of the greatest athletes of all time, if James wears Nike, the general population wants to wear Nike, too. The implication is twofold: James knows what is great; therefore, the public should take his advice. Second, it raises the question, perhaps James’ greatness can be somewhat attributed to his wearing of high-quality clothing like the kind Nike makes. Finally, the fact that the number on James’ jersey is 23, this reminds the viewer of Michael Jordan, who currently holds the reputation of the greatest basketball player of all time. Surely, if Nike is associated with all of this greatness, wearing Nike can make an average person great, too.

Writing the conclusion

  1. Restate thesis in different words
  2. Briefly summarize main points
  3. So, what statement
    1. What have I learned
    1. Why is this important
    1. If you asked a question as your attention getter, you can answer it here

Sample Conclusion:

Nike’s “We are all witnesses” ad utilizes both rhetorical strategies and advertising techniques in order to sell its product. The rhetorical strategies it employs include both ethos and pathos. By utilizing both LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all times and the Nike logo, this ad is telling the reader that if LeBron wears Nike, he or she should too. Next, we see pathos in the use of the number 23. This brings up feelings of nostalgia as well as memories of Michael Jordan, who was the greatest player previous to James. The viewer also feels a sense of pride that James is hometown hero, a local son who has made it as an American superstar. Finally, the ads use the technique of transference. By infusing the picture with Christ-like imagery, it is telling the viewer that if we are bearing witness to the greatness of LeBron James and Nike, in the same manner we bear witness to the greatness of God and church. Although I am not a sports fan, I really liked this ad. I was moved by the greatness of LeBron James. I was reminded of my childhood watching Michael Jordan play for the Bulls, and I would buy Nike products because I find their advertisements to be so stylistic and meaningful.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric

ExpectationExceedsMeets (12, 8)Developing     ( 8, 6)Total
Rhetorical AnalysisEssay discusses in detail how ad uses logos, pathos, and ethos to persuade viewerDiscussion touches on these ideas but is lacking in depthRhetorical analysis is underdeveloped_____/20
Clear thesisThesis clearly states the main idea of the essayThesis exists but is confusingThesis is missing_____/20
StructureEssay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusionEssay is missing either intro or conclusionEssay does not contain different types of paragraphs  _____/10
OrganizationDetails are organized in a logical way that make sense and lead the reader to next event and ultimate outcomeEssay is at times confusing and hard to follow narrative arcDetails are very disorganized and lacking cohesive structure  _____/10
Supporting DetailsEssay contains enough supporting details to tell the storyEssay contains supporting details but not enough to fully develop storyLacking significant supporting details  _____/10
Description of advertisementWriter creates a vivid picture of adWriter adequately describes adWriter does not adequately describe ad  _____/10
Flow/TransitionsEssay includes enough transitions to help reader flow through essayEssay is missing significant transitionsNo transitions______/10
LengthEssay is a minimum of 1000 wordsEssay is slightly below the minimum word countEssay is significantly below required word count______/5
GrammarFew grammar mistakesSome grammar mistakes but does not distract from the meaningMultiple grammar errors that make it hard to understand the work______/5
Total                                                                                                           /100
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