Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

The world is filled with rhetoric… especially during an election year. When you research essay topics to base your paper on politics is a common winner.  To write a rhetorical analysis essay on politics, it might be advisable to choose several speeches given by candidates and analyze the effectiveness of their rhetoric. It might also be interesting to test whether the rhetoric was simply a means to get elected or if there was any substance involved in the words. Make sure to mention your main idea in the introduction to an essay and stay focused.

Let’s create two fictional candidates and analyze their campaign rhetoric, shall we?

Candidate A is young and enthusiastic. He speaks eloquently and never has a hair out of place. The media immediately falls in love with him. His speeches revolve around the new ideas he wants to put to use and how they will benefit the people. Candidate A is impeccably groomed and always smiling. He’s campaigning with his words and connecting with audiences of all ages.

Candidate B is older and better known to his audiences. He has a bit of a temper and is not always smiling. His speeches concern proven methods of working with the population to improve things. Neither he nor his campaign workers use disparaging language toward (or about) his opponent and ignore insults and smears aimed at him. In a rhetorical analysis essay the writer needs to pick up on the rhetoric.

Now that we know a little about the two candidates, let’s hear their rhetoric.

Candidate A: We need to take care of the disadvantaged. The wealth of a nation is best used when spread like butter, covering the whole slice of bread. Our society has too many hungry children and we cannot allow this to continue! It’s our job to protect those who cannot protect themselves. When I’m elected, I will insure fairness in every aspect of our lives and guarantee that no one goes without their fair share of prosperity!

Candidate B: If you’ll elect me, I’ll cut taxes and work with my opposition to insure that opportunities are available for everyone. In a big country, there are many issues and we need to work together to solve them. I have plans to improve health care, border security, fight crime and boost our economy. I will welcome input from everyone.

Candidate A: I’ll guarantee to have the most noble and honest presidency in the history of this country. I’ll make sure that nobody ever goes to bed hungry and no one ever gets sick. Your financial worries will come to an end as soon as I’m elected!

Candidate B: I promise to uphold the Constitution and work with Congress to find equitable solutions.

Now, with this simple example let’s see what meat is provided for an analytical essay: Which candidate wins the rhetoric battle? Whose words ring golden in the ears of the voters? Which candidate comes across as stiff and stodgy? A rhetorical analysis essay must include both the effectiveness of the rhetoric itself and the impact it has on the voters. But it must also include the value of the rhetoric. Do the words ring true? Or merely sound good? Is rhetoric enough to get a candidate elected? Should it be? What if the candidate fails to follow through or makes rhetorical promises that are impossible to keep? Perhaps you can answer these questions in your rhetorical analysis essay.  There is so much to work with when it comes to politics which is why I chose this subject to illustrate my point.