Rhetorical Analysis: John Lewis’s Essay

Sep 13, 2021

Rhetorical Analysis: John Lewis’s Essay

How To Analyze John Lewis's Essay – A Rhetorical Analysis

A rhetorical analysis essay explores the rhetorical elements of a text by working not only with the author’s arguments but also the strategies used to connect with the readers. The student focuses on how the author uses the main rhetorical elements to appeal to the reader. These elements include;

  • Logos – appeal using evidence-based argument and it’s the dominant approach used in academic writing.
  • Ethos – ethical appeal to authority where the author establishes his credibility to comment on the subject matter
  • Pathos- appeal to the audience’s emotions by speaking in a passionate way using imagery, and carefully coiled language to prove sympathy, anger, among other emotional responses.

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A rhetorical analysis essay should be;

  • Concise
  • Grammatically correct
  • Coherent
  • Use simple present tense

Analyze a Text, Article, or Speech

What Does The Analysis Entail?

The rhetorical analysis involves exploring a text into details by advancing relevant questions on how it works focusing on elements such as;

  • The author’s purpose
  • Whether the author focuses on the primary claims
  • What tone does the author use? Is it sympathetic, angry, authoritative, personal, formal, or informal?
  • Who is the author’s intended audience? Does the author successfully connect with the audience?
  • What evidence does the author present? Is it credible?

Rhetorical Analysis Introduction

A rhetorical analysis should begin with an introduction giving brief insights into the subject matter. Open your essay with a hook. Give your readers some background information about the topic. The introduction ends with a thesis statement.

Example: Congressman, the late John Lewis's essay is among the most significant oratory pieces in modern American society. The essay which Lewis wrote two days before his death and was published by the New York Times on the day of his funeral called upon Americans to continue fighting for justice, a peaceful and equitable world in an essay he wrote few days before his death. This analysis focuses on how Lewis uses rhetorical devices to show the tremendous strides that American society has taken towards promoting an equitable society since the days of the civil rights movement and the need to embrace more changes for a better America.

The Body of the Essay

Your analysis will contain three or several paragraphs depending on the length of the essay. Each paragraph will analyze a different rhetorical element. The paragraphs will cumulatively contribute to your overall argument to the thesis statement. Each paragraph should begin with the main idea as the topic statement before supporting it with evidence.

Check this example to get an idea of how to construct a typical body paragraph

Lewis's tone utilizes pathos when he observes that the current justice and political reforms sweeping across the U.S is a sign of a bright future. He said, " Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world, you set aside race, class, age, language, and nationality to demand respect for human dignity" (Duster, 2020). Both blacks and whites are coming out to condemn the killings, and police brutality meted on the African Americans was a promising sign in building a more cohesive America. He uses this tone to evoke emotions in his audience to accept his vision that the current path is the best in building a better America.


The conclusion will wrap the essay by reiterating the thesis statement and summarizing the main points. Show how your analysis has demystified the essay to fish the author’s intentions and whether he achieved them. You may also link the text and analysis to other broad concerns.

Explore this example;

It is evident that ' 'Now It Is Your Turn To Let Freedom Ring" reminds the current American generation of the need to make the change. Lewis puts the current generation at the centre of his vision for change to encourage them to focus on actions that will build a legacy that will be remembered for centuries— the power to change lies in the current generation's hands. His words play a critical role in reigniting the spirit of reformation among the current generation in the pathway to an equitable American society.

Acknowledge the sources you use, including the article or text you’re analyzing in the in-text citation before adding a separate work cited or reference page.

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