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1. An Introduction to Rhetoric Meaning or Manipulation?
2. “Rhetoric”: Poisonous Apple or Juicy Fruit? Negative Assumptions
Automatically suggests trickery, deception, and/or manipulation
Assumes speaker wants to obscure a point or create “spin”
“Empty Rhetoric” is a common criticism Positive Applications
Actually defined by Greek philosopher Aristotle as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.”
Can be a thoughtful, reflective activity leading to effective communication
Can include the rational exchange of opposing viewpoints
Those who can understand and use the available means to appeal to an audience gain a position of strength
have the tools to resolve conflict without confrontation,
Persuade audience to support a position
Move others to take action
3. Key elements of Rhetoric Lou Gehrig’s speech on Appreciation Day July 4, 1939
Had recently learned he was suffering from a neurological disorder with no cure
Fans chanted, “We want Lou!”
One of the all-time most powerful, heartfelt, and brief speeches of all time
4. Why was this an effective speech? He understood that rhetoric is ALWAYS situational
Maintains his focus: celebrate the occasion and get back to playing ball
Context: the occasion, time, and/or place it was written/spoken
Between games of a doubleheader
The poignant contrast between celebrating his athletic career and the life-threatening diagnosis
Purpose: what the speaker/writer wants to achieve
Remain positive by looking at the bright side
Downplaying the bleak outlook
5. Context and Purpose Both are essential to analyzing effective rhetoric.
Sometimes CONTEXT arises from current events or cultural BIAS.
Ex: someone writing about freedom of speech to a community that has experienced hate graffiti must take that context into account and adjust the purpose so as not to offend the audience
When reading any text, ask about the context in which it was written and then consider its purpose.
What are some various PURPOSES of a speaker/writer?
Persuade audience to take action
Make someone laugh
Inform, provoke, celebrate, repudiate, propose
6. Other Reasons It Is Effective It has a crystal clear MAIN IDEA: he’s the “luckiest man on earth.”
Main Idea A.K.A THESIS, CLAIM, ASSERTION
Gehrig knew his SUBJECT
Baseball in general
New York Yankees in particular
As a SPEAKER he presented himself as a common man
Not polished or sophisticated
Modest and glad for the life he’s lived
He considered his AUDIENCE.
His teammates and coach
His fans (in the stands and listening on the radio)
7. The Rhetorical/Aristotelian Triangle: The Subject One way to consider the elements of a text/speech
The interaction between subject (message), communicator (speaker, writer), and audience (listener, reader)
The interaction of these elements determines the structure and language of the argument (the text/image that establishes a position)
Skilled communicators first choose a subject and then evaluate: what they know about it, what others have said about it, and what evidence/proof will help develop an effective position
8. The Rhetorical/Aristotelian Triangle: The Communicator (Speaker/ Writer) Need to identify the speaker- not as easy as it may sound
Often assume a persona- the character that the speaker/writer creates which depends on the context, purpose, subject, and audience
Expert or novice
9. The Rhetorical/Aristotelian Triangle: The Audience Important to think about the audience
Each audience requires the writer/speaker to use different information topresent their argument effectively.
Consider the difference between:
Essay for college application
Letter to a prospective employer
Letter to a newspaper about an newly-proposed policy by an elected official
Questions to consider:
What does the audience know about the subject?
What is their attitude toward it?
Is their common ground between the writer’s and reader’s views on the subject?