Rhetoric is the art of effective writing, speaking, or communicating. Therefore, a rhetorical analysis requires you, the writer, to analyze an author’s rhetoric. A rhetorical analysis is an essay that breaks a work of non-fiction into parts and then explains how the parts work together to create a certain effect on its audience—whether to persuade, entertain, or inform. A rhetorical analysis should explore the author's purpose, the techniques used to achieve that purpose, examples of those techniques, and the effectiveness of those techniques on the intended audience.
When writing a rhetorical analysis, you are NOT saying whether or not you agree with the argument. Instead, you’re discussing HOW the author makes that argument and whether or not the approach used is successful. Your focus should be not on WHAT the author writes but HOW s/he writes it. A rhetorical analysis explores an author’s use of rhetorical appeals. An appeal is an attempt to earn audience approval or agreement by playing to natural human tendencies or common experience.
There are three kinds of appeals: the pathetic (pathos), the ethical (ethos), and the logical (logos).