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How Do You Write A Rhetorical Analysis Essay On The Great Gatsby?

In this type of essay you neither agree nor disagree with the major claims of the argument. Instead, you are expected to write about how the writer builds his argument. Is he successful? Is it persuasive? Did he supply enough evidence? Did he connect with the audience? How did he achieve this? You should also provide some direct quotes to show the rhetorical strategies used by the writer.

Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a novel which would turn out to be somewhat of an American literary icon. He was inspired by the parties he went to when he was taking a visit to the north shore of Long Island in 1922. After a series of ups and downs in popularity and following World War II and Fitzgerald’s death, the novel took off in popularity and became a standard literary work to study within American high school curriculum.

With this kind of information in mind, how do you write a rhetorical analysis essay on this great work?

  1. Read and know the book. Get to know F. Scott Fitzgerald and some of his background. It will help you to understand why he wrote the way he did. Analyze each character. Who stands out to you and why? How did the author develop each character?
  2. Examine how Fitzgerald used appeals. They are strategies involving ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos rely on the credibility of the writer and are considered ethical appeals. Logos make an argument using reasoning or logical appeals. Does Fitzgerald support arguments using data, evidence and undeniable facts? Pathos attempt to evoke emotion with the purpose of gaining approval. This is a pathetic appeal. The emotions could include anything from anger to sympathy to the seeking of love.
  3. Note how the author uses style details, which are another rhetorical strategy. This includes syntax, diction, tone and imagery. How are analogies and figurative language used? Are certain points repeated to make them more memorable? Does Fitzgerald use diction or word choice to increase emotion or provide rhythmic word patterns?
  4. You have been gathering information thus far. Before you start to write the analysis, decide what the information suggests to you. Has the author been successful in using appeals and style to achieve the purpose he set out to? Why do you think he chose the particular rhetorical strategies he used? Was he successful?

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