Suppose you want to understand better some piece of writing that you are interested in or find important. Maybe it is an environmental impact statement, or a piece of fiction set during World War II, or a magazine article about the death penalty, or a proposal under consideration by the local school board, or even a routine thing that you see on a daily basis, such as the comics or advertisements in your local newspaper. The previous chapters in this book have given you several approaches for analyzing such documents. But especially if those pieces of writing have a persuasive intent, especially if (in other words) they have designs on your beliefs and attitudes (and nearly all writing does have that purpose, to some extent), the activity known as rhetorical analysis can offer you additional perspective and understanding. This chapter is designed to give you a good understanding of the key concepts involved in rhetorical analysis and to make you comfortable conducting instructive rhetorical analyses on your own.