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Sample Textual Analysis Essay: Gettysburg Address

Below is a sample outline and a well-developed textual analysis essay in APA on the “Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln. This sample is intended to help students write better essays.

Sample Textual Analysis Essay: Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”

Sample Textual Analysis Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
    • Briefly introduce the Gettysburg Address and its historical context.
    • Present the thesis statement: Explore the rhetorical strategies employed by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address to convey his message of unity and dedication to the nation.
  2. Body Paragraphs:
    1. Contextual Background
      • Provide historical context about the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the significance of the event.
      • Explain the purpose and occasion of the Gettysburg Address.
    2. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
      • Discuss how Lincoln establishes ethos (credibility and trustworthiness) in his address, considering his role as President and the solemn occasion.
      • Analyze the use of pathos (emotional appeal) in the address, examining how Lincoln appeals to the emotions and values of the audience.
      • Explore the logos (logical appeal) employed by Lincoln, looking at his use of reasoning and argumentation.
    3. The Power of Imagery and Symbolism
      • Examine the vivid imagery created by Lincoln’s language, including phrases like “a new birth of freedom” and “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
      • Analyze the symbolism embedded in the text, such as references to “four score and seven years ago” and “a great civil war.”
    4. Parallelism and Repetition
      • Discuss the use of parallelism and repetition in the address.
      • Highlight their role in reinforcing key ideas and creating rhetorical impact.
    5. Addressing Counterarguments
      • Acknowledge potential counterarguments or alternative interpretations of the Gettysburg Address.
      • Explain how Lincoln effectively responds to or anticipates these counterarguments.
    6. Impact and Legacy
      • Examine the immediate and long-term impact of the Gettysburg Address on American society, politics, and rhetoric.
      • Discuss how Lincoln’s rhetorical strategies continue to influence public discourse and political speeches.
  3. Conclusion
    • Summarize the key points of the analysis, emphasizing the rhetorical strategies used by Lincoln.
    • Reiterate the significance of the Gettysburg Address as a masterful piece of oratory that continues to resonate in American history.
  4. References
    • Include a list of references or citations in the appropriate citation style (e.g., MLA, APA).
    • Follow the instructions provided by your college/ institution.

This outline provides a structured framework for your textual analysis essay on the Gettysburg Address. Each section focuses on different aspects of Lincoln’s rhetorical strategies, ensuring a comprehensive analysis of this iconic speech.

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