I have found this phrase in a novel analysis.
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There are many different definitions for this, but I believe we are looking solely at it meaning in correlation to literature..... yes? When applying this phrase to a literary work, we're talking about communication.
'Rhetorical analysis may be applied to virtually any text or image--a speech, an essay, an advertisement, a poem, a photograph, a web page, even a bumper sticker. When applied to a literary work, rhetorical analysis regards the work not as an aesthetic object but as an artistically structured instrument for communication. As Edward P.J. Corbett has observed, rhetorical analysis "is more interested in a literary work for what it does than for what it is."