Rhetorical Criticism – Final Reflective Blog Post

Having minor in professional writing and rhetoric, I had a clear concept of rhetoric going into this class. Since we started out by talking about the Neo-Aristotelian perspective, I was very comfortable because I had learned these concepts in other classes. After building up that foundation, we moved to perspectives that were more focused on social media and popular culture. As we learned more about different rhetorical perspectives, I began to notice that many, if not all, popular culture artifacts contain rhetorical arguments in them. By completing this course, I am much better at understanding different rhetorical perspectives and can point out rhetorical arguments in popular culture artifacts.

Throughout this course, we explored historical definitions of rhetoric. We started the class by looking at the Neo-Aristotelian perspective of rhetoric from our textbook, “The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture”. Having already taken a history of rhetoric class, I was already familiar with historical definitions of rhetoric, including Aristotle’s definition. This chapter provided a foundation of what exactly rhetoric is and how it is used, which was a nice refresher.

This course also delved into contemporary definitions of rhetoric and they are seen easily through the Symbolic Convergence perspective. With the Symbolic Convergence perspective, a rhetor must consider the fanbase of an artifact. The community of people that enjoy and talk about an artifact can be just as complex as the artifact itself. This community has an overall effect on the rhetoric of the artifact because it is linked to it by fan connection. This perspective causes a contemporary rhetorician to consider factors outside of just the artifact itself.

I have gained an increased awareness of the relationship between the nature and functions of rhetoric because I have learned how rhetoric is everywhere. It is not just in speeches and advertisements, where it is expected to be seen and where I have seen them in other rhetoric classes. Rhetorical statements are being made in children’s television shows, flyers, and movies. Our textbook analyzes the rhetorical statements in a poster for deodorant that barely has words on it. That helped me understand that rhetoric can come in any form and rhetorical arguments are constantly being made by so many popular culture artifacts.

This class allowed me to investigate and understand how rhetoric acts to persuade us and or shape our identities. I understood that advertisements persuaded consumers to buy their company’s products. I knew that they were showing customers that the company had something that they needed and the customer needed to buy it to be happy. This also was similar to how magazine convince readers to look or act a certain way in order for the reader to be better or happier. I didn’t realize that movies and television shows do the same thing, but instead of outright persuasion, they persuade by example. They persuade by showing a character that is desirable and this makes the view want to look or act like them. I didn’t fully understand this until I wrote my critical essay #1. When I had to write about the implications on my topic, I realized that I had to write about exactly was a view would get out of the topic.

I explored my own effectiveness as a rhetor throughout this course. Throughout the course, we were required to present our topic ideas to our class as well as provide online presentation. For the in-person presentations, I realized how much my delivery mattered. I was aware that I needed to sound confident if I wanted my audience to believe in the information I was presenting. I also noticed that I needed to make sure I clearly explained my ideas to the audience so they could properly understand the ideas that I wanted to share. For the online presentations, realized that my delivery would be lost so I needed to clearly communicate my ideas through text.

This class helped me learn important skills for my major because I am an English major with a minor in professional writing and rhetoric. I constantly write papers about books and movies. Going forward, I will be able to use the different perspectives I have learned during this course to analyze texts in a more in-depth way. I still need to work on my delivery as a rhetor. I sometimes have a hard time properly communicating my ideas to an audience because I know that I understand the concept I am talking about, so I assume my audience does as well. I needed to focus on explaining my ideas in more detail and not assuming my audience knows what I know.

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