In rhetorical analysis writing, the author investigates a particular topic to try and validate or invalidate the perspectives presented in a piece of writing. In this regard, a rhetorical analysis essay presents the situation as detailed by the author, analyzes the subject matter, and the intentions of the author. Similarly, a rhetorical analysis essay also tries to understand the core audience that the author targeted, how and whether the content of the literature delivers a message, establishes a connection between the message and the approach, and finally argue whether the author has achieved their objectives through the approach they used.
For example, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” can be subjected to rhetorical analysis. Similarly, Dr. King’s arguments such as those criticizing the clergymen considering him as an outsider, lack of greater support for the protests in Birmingham, his preference for sit-ins and marches, and his inability to wait no longer for the city to grant constitutional rights equally. Furthermore, the techniques that Dr. King uses to make his arguments and counter the arguments of his detractors can also be analyzed. From the letter itself it becomes apparent that Dr. King voices an emotional appeal to make his argument. For example, by beginning his letter by stating that he received the letter from the clergymen while under confinement in a Birmingham jail, he is trying to appeal to the emotions of his opponents and those who may read the letter. Additionally, when he uses his now-famous saying, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he is appealing to the emotions by arguing that they all share a common destiny. Additionally, Dr. King uses appeal to authority and/or reputation as one of his tools to try and convince his intended audience. Therefore, once it is established that Dr. King employs the stated methods to make his arguments, it can be argued that he successfully, or not, managed to use these tools and how he achieved this at the end of the analysis.