What is a Rhetorical Analysis?
A rhetorical analysis is an essay wherein you critically read a text, make a claim about the
author’s argument, and identify and discuss the rhetorical choices made by the author in a
way that supports your claim. A rhetorical analysis focuses on what we call the rhetorical
features of a text—the author’s situation, purpose for writing, intended audience, kinds of
claims, and types of evidence, devices—to show how the author tries to persuade the
A good rhetorical analysis does not try to address every element of a text; discuss just those
aspects with the greatest [positive or negative] impact on the text’s effectiveness and
support your main claim of the text. Also, when writing a rhetorical analysis, you are NOT
saying whether or not you agree with the argument. Instead, you are identifying the
author’s argument and explaining the rhetorical choices made by the author (applicable to
your claim) and whether they were effective or not.
For this paper, you are to write a rhetorical analysis of the text “How to Tame a Wild
Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldúa. As a means of supporting your analysis, you will be required
to reference at least three (3) quotes from this text (no external sources).
Format of Paper
Format: MLA (8th edition) – Standard academic essay structure
Layout: Double spaced, standard margins
Word Count: 1000-1250 words (not including the Works Cited page)
Font: Times New Roman, Size 12