Chapter 4: page 24

Chapter 4: Why the Pen is Mightier, and the Art of Rhetoric

chapter written by Jolie Goorjian

with contributions from Robert Kohls of the SFSU English Department

Image Source: Álvaro Serrano on,

The Art of Rhetoric in Essay Writing

Learning Objectives

As you move through this chapter, I will either refresh your memory of or introduce you to the ways in which we use rhetoric and based on our use of rhetoric—the art of persuasion—how to construct an essay for the situation we are writing within.

Thus, you shall explore and practice with:

  • the rhetorical situation
  • Aristotle’s Rhetorical Techniques
  • the relationship of the rhetorical situation with Plato’s Rhetorical Triangle (thank you Dan, for touching on this in Chapter 1!)
  • the Components of an Essay for College Writing including TEA paragraphs, the Textual Evidence Sandwich and Counterarguments

In college, you are often asked to make a persuasive case in writing by convincing your audience of your point of view. The persuasive essay, like all genres of writing, has a predictable logical pattern in writing.

This logical pattern, which you and your audience are surely well acquainted with, begins with a brief introduction of the paper’s topic, leading you to state your argument—your thesis statement—often in one to two sentences. From there, the body of your essay unfolds with TEA paragraphing structure and closes with a conclusion that invites your audience to engage with your ideas in some form or another. Before we look at the specific components of an essay, let’s look at the rhetorical situation to understand how to determine what to include in the components of an essay.

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