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Post #2: Looking for Rhetoric

Due by 5 p.m. on Monday, January 25th

Our syllabus states that “Rhetorical criticism is a systematic analysis of rhetorical tools as they are used by a rhetor; 2) the examination of how those tools help to convey meaning; 3) and an examination of the effects, as far as they can be determined, of a rhetorical artifact under consideration.”

In order to identify the rhetorical strategies a rhetor is using in a text (speech, video, article, etc), we should first identify our definition of rhetoric and identify our “units of analysis” to guide our examination of the text. Review the definition assigned to you below. If this were the definition to guide your rhetorical analysis, what would your unit of analysis be? In other words, what would you be looking for in the text to help you identify the rhetor’s rhetorical strategies/tools/etc? Feel free to contemplate about this in any way you want–this is just to get our discussion started, so don’t worry so much about getting it right. Just think and freewrite about it.

Garrett Badgley>>Quintilian:  “Rhetoric is the art of speaking well” or “…good man speaking well.”

Tracey Burnham>>Plato:  [Rhetoric] is the “art of enchanting the soul.” (The art of winning the soul by discourse.)

Zachary Carmon>>Gerard A. Hauser: “Rhetoric is an instrumental use of language. One person engages another person in an exchange of symbols to accomplish some goal. It is not communication for communication’s sake. Rhetoric is communication that attempts to coordinate social action. For this reason, rhetorical communication is explicitly pragmatic. Its goal is to influence human choices on specific matters that require immediate attention.”

Chris Crider>>John Locke: “[Rhetoric,] that powerful instrument of error and deceit.”

Colin Deans>>Francis Bacon: The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.

Laikyn Farmer>>Erika Lindemann:  “Rhetoric is a form of reasoning about probabilities, based on assumptions people share as members of a community.”

Jake Hull>>Philip Johnson: “Rhetoric is the art of framing an argument so that it can be appreciated by an audience.”

Shelby Shelton>>A. Richards:  Rhetoric is the study of misunderstandings and their remedies.

Chelsea N. Smith>>Kenneth Burke: “The most characteristic concern of rhetoric [is] the manipulation of men’s beliefs for political ends….the basic function of rhetoric [is] the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents.”

Lacey Sullivan>>George Kennedy: Rhetoric in the most general sense may perhaps be identified with the energy inherent in communication:  the emotional energy that impels the speaker to speak, the physical energy expanded in the utterance, the energy level coded in the message, and the energy experienced by the recipient in decoding the message.

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