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How to Write a Conclusion for a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

February 14, 2022 by Beth Hall

Wondering how to write a conclusion for a rhetorical analysis essay? When writing the AP® Lang rhetorical analysis essay, there can feel like a lot of pressure! Time is extremely limited, and you may try to make cuts where possible. So, do you really need a conclusion for a rhetorical analysis essay?

Is a conclusion required?

The short answer: no. The AP® Lang rubric does not state that a conclusion is required for the rhetorical analysis essay. However, a conclusion can be beneficial for your essay.

Ultimately, if you are deciding between writing a conclusion or developing your body paragraphs, I would choose the latter. The bulk of your score will come from the body paragraphs, so having well-developed body paragraphs is key to scoring well on the exam.

If you have time, and you feel confident in your body paragraphs, it definitely won’t hurt to give the conclusion the attention it deserves, as it can help you produce a more well-rounded essay.


Tips for Writing a Conclusion

Tip #1: don’t just restate your thesis. .

When students first start learning to write essays, they are told to restate their thesis in the conclusion. This isn’t a bad practice, but you don’t want to copy the same thesis word for word – especially if you are worried your thesis is not defensible. Rewrite your thesis in new words, but make sure you still keep the same idea and write a defensible thesis.

Not sure how to write a defensible thesis? Read this blog post for more information.

While it is okay to restate your thesis in your conclusion, try to not recap your whole essay. Since timed essays are relatively short, recapping the essay seems redundant and lacks nuance.

Keep reading for more tips about what to do instead.

Tip #2: Dig deeper into the call to action.

This will not apply to every text, but for some texts, there is a strong call to action. For this type of conclusion, you want to ask yourself, “What happens if the audience heeds the call to action and what happens if they don’t?”

With this type of conclusion, you want to examine the different actions an audience can take and the impact said actions will have. This can also demonstrate the impact of a text or speech. For example, in his Pearl Harbor speech, FDR called Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan. We know that his call to action worked; the US entered WWII. In thinking about FDR’s call to action, we can also situate the issue in a broader context by examining the historical impact of the speech.

Tip #3: Reflect on the message of the passage.

Think about abstract concepts from the passage, such as unity or resilience. In the conclusion, reflect upon what conclusions, messages, or lessons can be learned from these abstract concepts in the passage.

Ask yourself “how is the message still relevant today?” Doing so helps you situate the issue in a broader context.

For instance, Madeleine Albright gave a speech about perseverance to Mount Holyoke College in 1997. The theme of perseverance, especially for women, is still relevant today, so you can look at the broader implications of this message in today’s world.

Tip #4: Stay away from “In Conclusion.”

Instead of using the tired “in conclusion” to begin your final paragraph, try a different sentence stem. I like to use the following: When considering X and Y, it becomes apparent that…  

Final Thoughts about Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion

Writing conclusion paragraphs require that you “zoom out” and look at the broader implications of the passage. Doing so adds a deeper analysis and perspective to your rhetorical analysis essay, which can boost your overall score, captivate your reader, and create a more well-rounded AP® Lang essay.

For more tips about how to write a conclusion for a rhetorical analysis essay, check out this video here. 

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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis | Key Concepts & Examples

Published on August 28, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 5, 2022.

A rhetorical analysis is a type of essay  that looks at a text in terms of rhetoric. This means it is less concerned with what the author is saying than with how they say it: their goals, techniques, and appeals to the audience.

Table of contents

Key concepts in rhetoric, analyzing the text, introducing your rhetorical analysis, the body: doing the analysis, concluding a rhetorical analysis, frequently asked questions about rhetorical analysis.

Rhetoric, the art of effective speaking and writing, is a subject that trains you to look at texts, arguments and speeches in terms of how they are designed to persuade the audience. This section introduces a few of the key concepts of this field.

Appeals: Logos, ethos, pathos

Appeals are how the author convinces their audience. Three central appeals are discussed in rhetoric, established by the philosopher Aristotle and sometimes called the rhetorical triangle: logos, ethos, and pathos.

Logos , or the logical appeal, refers to the use of reasoned argument to persuade. This is the dominant approach in academic writing , where arguments are built up using reasoning and evidence.

Ethos , or the ethical appeal, involves the author presenting themselves as an authority on their subject. For example, someone making a moral argument might highlight their own morally admirable behavior; someone speaking about a technical subject might present themselves as an expert by mentioning their qualifications.

Pathos , or the pathetic appeal, evokes the audience’s emotions. This might involve speaking in a passionate way, employing vivid imagery, or trying to provoke anger, sympathy, or any other emotional response in the audience.

These three appeals are all treated as integral parts of rhetoric, and a given author may combine all three of them to convince their audience.

Text and context

In rhetoric, a text is not necessarily a piece of writing (though it may be this). A text is whatever piece of communication you are analyzing. This could be, for example, a speech, an advertisement, or a satirical image.

In these cases, your analysis would focus on more than just language—you might look at visual or sonic elements of the text too.

The context is everything surrounding the text: Who is the author (or speaker, designer, etc.)? Who is their (intended or actual) audience? When and where was the text produced, and for what purpose?

Looking at the context can help to inform your rhetorical analysis. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech has universal power, but the context of the civil rights movement is an important part of understanding why.

Claims, supports, and warrants

A piece of rhetoric is always making some sort of argument, whether it’s a very clearly defined and logical one (e.g. in a philosophy essay) or one that the reader has to infer (e.g. in a satirical article). These arguments are built up with claims, supports, and warrants.

A claim is the fact or idea the author wants to convince the reader of. An argument might center on a single claim, or be built up out of many. Claims are usually explicitly stated, but they may also just be implied in some kinds of text.

The author uses supports to back up each claim they make. These might range from hard evidence to emotional appeals—anything that is used to convince the reader to accept a claim.

The warrant is the logic or assumption that connects a support with a claim. Outside of quite formal argumentation, the warrant is often unstated—the author assumes their audience will understand the connection without it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still explore the implicit warrant in these cases.

For example, look at the following statement:

We can see a claim and a support here, but the warrant is implicit. Here, the warrant is the assumption that more likeable candidates would have inspired greater turnout. We might be more or less convinced by the argument depending on whether we think this is a fair assumption.

Rhetorical analysis isn’t a matter of choosing concepts in advance and applying them to a text. Instead, it starts with looking at the text in detail and asking the appropriate questions about how it works:

By asking these questions, you’ll discover the various rhetorical devices the text uses. Don’t feel that you have to cram in every rhetorical term you know—focus on those that are most important to the text.

The following sections show how to write the different parts of a rhetorical analysis.

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how to write a conclusion for a rhetorical essay

Like all essays, a rhetorical analysis begins with an introduction . The introduction tells readers what text you’ll be discussing, provides relevant background information, and presents your thesis statement .

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how an introduction works.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of oratory in American history. Delivered in 1963 to thousands of civil rights activists outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech has come to symbolize the spirit of the civil rights movement and even to function as a major part of the American national myth. This rhetorical analysis argues that King’s assumption of the prophetic voice, amplified by the historic size of his audience, creates a powerful sense of ethos that has retained its inspirational power over the years.

The body of your rhetorical analysis is where you’ll tackle the text directly. It’s often divided into three paragraphs, although it may be more in a longer essay.

Each paragraph should focus on a different element of the text, and they should all contribute to your overall argument for your thesis statement.

Hover over the example to explore how a typical body paragraph is constructed.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

The conclusion of a rhetorical analysis wraps up the essay by restating the main argument and showing how it has been developed by your analysis. It may also try to link the text, and your analysis of it, with broader concerns.

Explore the example below to get a sense of the conclusion.

It is clear from this analysis that the effectiveness of King’s rhetoric stems less from the pathetic appeal of his utopian “dream” than it does from the ethos he carefully constructs to give force to his statements. By framing contemporary upheavals as part of a prophecy whose fulfillment will result in the better future he imagines, King ensures not only the effectiveness of his words in the moment but their continuing resonance today. Even if we have not yet achieved King’s dream, we cannot deny the role his words played in setting us on the path toward it.

The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to explain the effect a piece of writing or oratory has on its audience, how successful it is, and the devices and appeals it uses to achieve its goals.

Unlike a standard argumentative essay , it’s less about taking a position on the arguments presented, and more about exploring how they are constructed.

The term “text” in a rhetorical analysis essay refers to whatever object you’re analyzing. It’s frequently a piece of writing or a speech, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, you could also treat an advertisement or political cartoon as a text.

Logos appeals to the audience’s reason, building up logical arguments . Ethos appeals to the speaker’s status or authority, making the audience more likely to trust them. Pathos appeals to the emotions, trying to make the audience feel angry or sympathetic, for example.

Collectively, these three appeals are sometimes called the rhetorical triangle . They are central to rhetorical analysis , though a piece of rhetoric might not necessarily use all of them.

In rhetorical analysis , a claim is something the author wants the audience to believe. A support is the evidence or appeal they use to convince the reader to believe the claim. A warrant is the (often implicit) assumption that links the support with the claim.

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Steps on Writing a Conclusion to a Rhetorical Response Essay

Rachel gellman, 26 sep 2017.

Effective conclusions require the writer to reflect on the whole essay.

Conclusions are often the hardest part of essay writing. Besides summing up what you've already said, the conclusion of any paper, rhetorical or otherwise, should answer this question: "So what?" As a writer, show your readers that everything you've written until this last paragraph has a purpose. The conclusion is the final punch of the essay.

Explore this article

1 The Larger Point

After you have synthesized the previous points made in your body paragraphs, push your thesis further. This might be a call to action, to change a policy or address an issue. You could also urge readers to continue research on your topic to fill holes of information. Conclusions also often discuss how the main points of a paper taught the writer something, so ask yourself questions like this: Did the writing process open your eyes to something you never noticed about society or about your own community? Did your rhetorical analysis teach you something about rhetoric?

2 Dissecting the Argument

Rhetorical analyses are especially hard to conclude because you are not always analyzing the topics of what you read, but rather, you're analyzing the way a rhetorician presents and supports an argument about a specific topic toward a specific audience. You're making an argument about arguments. In other words, you are evaluating whether the rhetorician was persuasive or not, and the conclusion can make some distinct claims about why or how the writer was persuasive. You can discuss the most interesting ways in which the rhetorician built his argument or the biggest errors in the argument.

3 Rhetorical Tradition

You can also compare the rhetorical moves in the text(s) you analyze to other texts that use the same moves. For example, if your paper discusses how a writer successfully appeals to pathos to gain emotional support from the audience, you could briefly discuss how Martin Luther King Jr., or any other famous rhetorician, uses a similar technique in one of his famous speeches. This would show that you understand how rhetoric is part of a historical tradition and that most skilled writers employ rhetorical techniques to capture or persuade their audiences.

4 Assess the Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, so if nothing else, in your conclusion, discuss which rhetorical moves were persuasive and then explain why they were persuasive. You could close with your prediction of which members of society might be persuaded by the argument and which members would not, and you could suggest alterations to the argument that may allow the text to persuade more readers.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Rachel Gellman has worked in the education field since 2006. Her work has appeared in several journals, including "World Literature Today." She is part of the LARB Reviewing Class of 2013 in poetry, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from San Diego State University.

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Rhetorical Analysis Sample Essay

Harriet Clark

Ms. Rebecca Winter

13 Feb. 2015

Not Quite a Clean Sweep: Rhetorical Strategies in

Grose's "Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier”

A woman’s work is never done: many American women grow up with this saying and feel it to be true. 1 One such woman, author Jessica Grose, wrote “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier,” published in 2013 in the New Republic, 2 and she argues that while the men recently started taking on more of the childcare and cooking, cleaning still falls unfairly on women. 3 Grose begins building her credibility with personal facts and reputable sources, citing convincing facts and statistics, and successfully employing emotional appeals; however, toward the end of the article, her attempts to appeal to readers’ emotions weaken her credibility and ultimately, her argument. 4

In her article, Grose first sets the stage by describing a specific scenario of house-cleaning with her husband after being shut in during Hurricane Sandy, and then she outlines the uneven distribution of cleaning work in her marriage and draws a comparison to the larger feminist issue of who does the cleaning in a relationship. Grose continues by discussing some of the reasons that men do not contribute to cleaning: the praise for a clean house goes to the woman; advertising and media praise men’s cooking and childcare, but not cleaning; and lastly, it is just not fun. Possible solutions to the problem, Grose suggests, include making a chart of who does which chores, dividing up tasks based on skill and ability, accepting a dirtier home, and making cleaning more fun with gadgets. 5

Throughout her piece, Grose uses many strong sources that strengthen her credibility and appeal to ethos, as well as build her argument. 6 These sources include, “sociologists Judith Treas and Tsui-o Tai,” “a 2008 study from the University of New Hampshire,” and “P&G North America Fabric Care Brand Manager, Matthew Krehbiel” (qtd. in Grose). 7 Citing these sources boosts Grose’s credibility by showing that she has done her homework and has provided facts and statistics, as well as expert opinions to support her claim. She also uses personal examples from her own home life to introduce and support the issue, which shows that she has a personal stake in and first-hand experience with the problem. 8

Adding to her ethos appeals, Grose uses strong appeals to logos, with many facts and statistics and logical progressions of ideas. 9 She points out facts about her marriage and the distribution of household chores: “My husband and I both work. We split midnight baby feedings ...but ... he will admit that he’s never cleaned the bathroom, that I do the dishes nine times out of ten, and that he barely knows how the washer and dryer work in the apartment we’ve lived in for over eight months.” 10 These facts introduce and support the idea that Grose does more household chores than her husband. Grose continues with many statistics:

[A]bout 55 percent of American mothers employed full time do some housework on an average day, while only 18 percent of employed fathers do. ... [W]orking women with children are still doing a week and a half more of “second shift” work each year than their male partners. ... Even in the famously gender-neutral Sweden, women do 45 minutes more housework a day than their male partners. 11

These statistics are a few of many that logically support her claim that it is a substantial and real problem that men do not do their fair share of the chores. The details and numbers build an appeal to logos and impress upon the reader that this is a problem worth discussing. 12

Along with strong logos appeals, Grose effectively makes appeals to pathos in the beginning and middle sections. 13 Her introduction is full of emotionally-charged words and phrases that create a sympathetic image; Grose notes that she “was eight months pregnant” and her husband found it difficult to “fight with a massively pregnant person.” 14 The image she evokes of the challenges and vulnerabilities of being so pregnant, as well as the high emotions a woman feels at that time effectively introduce the argument and its seriousness. Her goal is to make the reader feel sympathy for her. Adding to this idea are words and phrases such as, “insisted,” “argued,” “not fun,” “sucks” “headachey,” “be judged,” “be shunned” (Grose). All of these words evoke negative emotions about cleaning, which makes the reader sympathize with women who feel “judged” and shunned”—very negative feelings. Another feeling Grose reinforces with her word choice is the concept of fairness: “fair share,” “a week and a half more of ‘second shift’ work,” “more housework,” “more gendered and less frequent.” These words help establish the unfairness that exists when women do all of the cleaning, and they are an appeal to pathos, or the readers’ feelings of frustration and anger with injustice. 15

However, the end of the article lacks the same level of effectiveness in the appeals to ethos. 16 For example, Grose notes that when men do housework, they are considered to be “’enacting “small instances of gender heroism,” or ‘SIGH’s’—which, barf.” 17 The usage of the word “barf” is jarring to the reader; unprofessional and immature, it is a shift from the researched, intelligent voice she has established and the reader is less likely to take the author seriously. This damages the strength of her credibility and her argument. 18

Additionally, her last statement in the article refers to her husband in a way that weakens the argument. 19 While returning to the introduction’s hook in the conclusion is a frequently-used strategy, Grose chooses to return to her discussion of her husband in a humorous way: Grose discusses solutions, and says there is “a huge, untapped market ... for toilet-scrubbing iPods. I bet my husband would buy one.” 20 Returning to her own marriage and husband is an appeal to ethos or personal credibility, and while that works well in the introduction, in the conclusion, it lacks the strength and seriousness that the topic deserves and was given earlier in the article. 21

Though Grose begins the essay by effectively persuading her readers of the unfair distribution of home-maintenance cleaning labor, she loses her power in the end, where she most needs to drive home her argument. Readers can see the problem exists in both her marriage and throughout the world; however, her shift to humor and sarcasm makes the reader not take the problem as seriously in the end. 22 Grose could have more seriously driven home the point that a woman’s work could be done: by a man. 23

Works Cited

Grose, Jessica. “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier.” New Republic. The New Republic, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.

Learn more about the " Rhetorical Analysis Graphic Organizer ."

Learn more about " Pathos, Logos, and Ethos ."


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Rhetorical Analysis Conclusion Example

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If you are finding the conclusion of your rhetorical analysis difficult to write, you should use a rhetorical analysis conclusion example as your writing guide. Rhetorical analysis conclusion is the paragraph that sums up the argument of the analysis while expressing the importance of the techniques and patterns that you found in the work that you were analyzing. A good conclusion does more than simply summarizing and repeating the analysis. It shows the point of specific techniques that the speaker or the author used in the work. If how the rhetorical work realized a specific effect has been explained in the body of a rhetorical analysis, the conclusion should articulate why the speaker or the writer chose the used technique and the effect that it has enabled him/her to accomplish- classroom.synonym.com.

Essence of using a rhetorical analysis conclusion example

Conclusions are usually the hardest part to write for most students. Using a good sample conclusion when writing a conclusion of your rhetorical analysis is very important because it gives you an idea of how a good conclusion should look like. It enables you to understand what exactly a good conclusion should accomplish. Basically, when writing a rhetorical analysis, you must ensure that apart from summing up what you said in the body, your conclusion answers the “so what?” question. It must show readers that everything that you wrote in the body had a specific purpose. A good rhetorical analysis conclusion sample acts as a final punch for the analysis.

Attributes of a good rhetorical analysis conclusion example

A good example of a rhetorical analysis conclusion should indicate the application of the analysis argument at a higher level. It should show readers why the argument is important and what it means to the broad, real world perspective- writingcenter.tamu.edu/Students.

Basically, a good example of a rhetorical analysis conclusion does the following:

This does not imply repeating the thesis that you stated in the introduction word-for-word. It simply means paraphrasing or rephrasing the statement using different terminologies while passing the same information. While restating thesis statement, a good sample should analyze how the creator of the original work brings out the purpose of his/her work. It should also ensure that audiences understand more about the restated thesis statement.

While stating the main ideas of the analysis, a good sample conclusion of a rhetorical analysis explains how they supported the stated thesis as well as their importance. The conclusion sample does this in a brief manner because the writer has been supporting the thesis statement in the body of the analysis.

If there is a need for further research to enhance comprehension or knowledge of the topic that the creator of the original work touched, a good sample of a rhetorical analysis will specify. The conclusion also indicates what the research should entail as well as how this would help. It also indicates the essence of the subject or topic and why it would be important to continue conducting research on it.

Examples of rhetorical analysis conclusion

“This biography lacks some details because the author covers Newton’s life pertinent details ranging from the troubled childhood that he had to endure all the way to his youth when he became a mediocre student and eventually a failed farmer as well as how he developed principia. Finally, the author presents him as the Royal Society’s president before his death. The exposition is written properly in a succinct and detailed manner. However, it covers the pertinent details of the life of Newton only using a creative style. Nevertheless, to understand Newton’s life better, there is a need for further research in other journals.”

Note that this rhetorical analysis conclusion example starts by summarizing the work that has been analyzed in the body. This includes explaining how the author presents information to the readers and what the work covers. The conclusion also shows how the author accomplishes the goal or achieves the purpose of the analyzed work which is to present the details of the life of Newton. The author concludes by indicating that the work is inconclusive and therefore further research is required to understand the life of Newton.

“Perhaps, the most important thing to note is not the functions that the techniques that Roiphe uses perform but how she uses them. For instance, if she had started by stating early in the work that she considers women as “female chauvinists” without first including a contrast, this would have had a completely different effect. This would have undoubtedly offended her readers especially women. Such an approach would have made her work less convincing. It is apparent that Roiphe used this technique purposely and in a prior-planned manner. This enabled her to come up with a special essay that enabled her to present ideas in a spectacular way”- sucomm.iastate.edu.

This sample conclusion of a rhetorical analysis summarizes the rhetorical analysis and the technique that the author uses. It paraphrases the thesis statement while showing the impact that the technique that the author uses has on the audience which is making her work more convincing. The writer notes that the technique is used purposely to present ideas in a more special way.

“By using rhetorical tools effectively and arranging the essay in a careful way, Solove succeeds in persuading his audience that a nothing-to-hide argument is one-sided and narrow way of getting privacy. Solove employs his expertise in rhetoric art by focusing the introduction of the essay on appealing to the intended audience ethically. Through the effective management of rhetorical distance between the audience and himself, he establishes a relationship and authority without seeming superior. He establishes credibility while portraying scholarly credit via quotations and literature citations from the privacy experts.

He follows this with a focus on logical appeal to his audience in the body of the essay. Through the display of deductive reasoning’s weaknesses of nothing-to-hide argument, he builds an inductive argument. Additionally, Solove presents two analogies to the audience and this enables them to come up with their own logical conclusions. While trying to make a strong impression, Solove reserved emotional appeals while writing the body only to include them in the conclusion. By using emotional and dramatic language, Solove appeals to the imagination and sympathies of the audience while reminding them that there is nothing that nothing-to-hide argument has to say”-uwec.edu.

This rhetorical analysis conclusion example shows the technique that the author of the original work uses which is to arrange the essay in a careful way. It restate thesis statement (by using rhetorical tools effectively and arranging the essay in a careful way, Solove succeeds in persuading his audience that a nothing-to-hide argument is one-sided, narrow way of getting privacy) while showing how effective the technique is because it enables him to establish relationship and authority without seeming superior. The conclusion sample shows that this technique also enables the author to establish credibility and build an inductive argument by displaying the weaknesses of nothing-to-hide argument. Thus, the conclusion shows that the author of the original work was effective and successful by using the technique.

Using rhetorical analysis conclusion sample to write your own conclusion

As you can see from these samples, a rhetorical analysis conclusion is not very different from the conclusion of other essays. It simply paraphrases the thesis statement while explaining the main idea which could be the technique that the creator of the original work uses. In some cases, conclusion of a rhetorical analysis can suggest further research- owl.english.purdue.edu.

When using a rhetorical analysis conclusion example as a guide for writing your own conclusion:

These are the most important aspects of a rhetorical analysis conclusion that you should master how to write or present while writing your own conclusion. Most professors look out for these aspects of a conclusion while marking rhetorical analysis essays.

Get help in writing a rhetorical analysis

If you encounter difficulties while writing a rhetorical analysis, contact us for instant assistance. You can also visit the home page of our website for more information about our writing services. Alternatively, continue reading for guidelines on how to write rhetorical analysis conclusion and rhetorical analysis conclusion example on this blog .






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