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Introduction to Rhetoric August 27-September 18 Introduction to Rhetoric Definitions of rhetoric: The study of effective, persuasive language use; according to Aristotle, use of the “available means of persuasion” (Shea 1). What does it mean to be skilled at rhetoric? One has the tools to resolve conflicts without confrontation, to persuade readers or listeners to support their position, or move others to take action. Examples? The Rhetorical Triangle Also called the Aristotelian triangle, because he first described the interaction among subject, speaker/writer, and audience. This triangle will help you to consider the different components of any written or spoken work and how they influence the final product. The Rhetorical Content Triangle Exigency Intention Expectations Exigency Exigency Speaker/Writer Tone Audience Context Exigency Canons Invention Finding ways to persuade. Arrangement Putting together the structure of a coherent argument. Style Presenting the argument to stir the emotions. Memory Speaking without having to prepare or memorize a speech. Delivery Making effective use of voice, gesture, etc. Einstein Letter Vote, raise your hand if: You found Einstein’s letter effective You did not find Einstein’s letter effective Why or why not? What elements of rhetoric are represented here? Ethos From the Greek for “character” Authors appeal to ethos to show that they are credible and trustworthy. They often use Appeals to shared values, A pre-existing reputation, A tone of reason and goodwill, Types of information that create a good impression. Examples? Logos From the Greek for “embodied thought,” or “reason” Requires a clear main idea or thesis, which must be logical and supported with evidence. Often, these appeals rely on an assumption and they acknowledge counterarguments. In acknowledging counterarguments, authors concede that opposing arguments may be true, but then refute the validity of all or part of the argument. This process strengthens the author’s argument. Examples? Pathos From the Greek for “emotion” Should be used in conjunction with another type of appeal, in which case pathos adds an important dimension because it engages the emotions of the audience. Arguments that only use pathos are weak by definition and are generally propagandistic in purpose and more polemical than persuasive. Examples? Warm Up Take a look at the image above, which at first glance depicts the familiar stars and stripes of the American flag. But a second glance reveals corporate logos rather than stars. Study the picture carefully and write for 2-3 minutes about the emotions that the image arouses in you. Do you respond first to the flag and then to the logos? What clash of emotional appeals do you see here? Try your hand at creating one or two possible titles or captions for this image. Exercise #1 To what specific emotions do the following slogans, sales pitches, and maxims appeal? “Just do it.” (ad for Nike) “Think different.” (ad for Apple Computers) “Yes we can!” (2008 presidential slogan for Barack Obama) “It’s everywhere you want it to be.” (slogan for Visa) Thinking Point: What is the benefit of striking the right emotional chord with your audience? What happens to your audience if they trust you? Appeals What is the emotional impact of a Newsweek cover like this one, which appeared on May 1, 2006, following initial indictments in what became known as the Duke University rape case? Does the magazine seem to be taking sides? SOAPSTone SOAPSTone is an acronym representing a series of questions you must ask yourself, then answer as you plan a composition. Some of these elements will be familiar from the rhetorical triangle. S – Speaker O – Occasion A – Audience P – Purpose S – Subject Tone SOAPSTone Practice Turn on pg. 12 of your Shea’s book. There you will find an excerpt from Homer’s The Iliad. Read the provided context, then perform a SOAPSTone analysis on the excerpt with someone sitting near you. Each person should write out the elements of the analysis. September 7/12 Objectives Assess the use of appeals in political language. Analyze visual rhetoric. Warm Up: Review Priam’s speech on pg. 12 of your Shea’s book and identify all elements of the rhetorical triangle in it. Return to your triangle notes to make sure that you address all pieces of the triangle and all of the elements that surround and influence it. In addition, do you think that Achilles would return Hector’s body based on this speech? Priam’s Speech Exercise #1: Practice recognizing appeals. Note: Authors use a combination of all three appeals in their writing. For the purpose of this exercise, determine the most dominant appeal and explain why it is effective in persuading an audience. 1. “Thank you, Ohio. It’s good to be back in the Buckeye State. And it’s a privilege to be here with two good friends - your great governor, John Kasich and your outstanding senator, Rob Portman. Governor Kasich is doing a great job despite the head winds from Washington. As President, I can't wait to work with Senator Portman to turn those Obama headwinds into pro-job policies that will help working families all across Ohio.” –Mitt Romney Ethos Exercise #1: Practice recognizing appeals. 2. “I tell the class, ‘I’m legally blind.’ There is a pause, a collective intake of breath. I feel them look away uncertainly and then look back. After all, I just said I couldn’t see. Or did I? I had managed to get there on my own—no cane, no dog, none of the usual trappings of blindness. Eyeing me askance now, they might detect that my gaze is not quite focused… they watch me glance down, or towards the door where someone’s coming in late. I’m just like anyone else.” -- Georgina Kleege, “Call It Blindness” Pathos Exercise #1: Practice recognizing appeals. 3. “The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations - and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.” --George Bush's war ultimatum speech from the Cross Hall in the White House Logos Visual Rhetoric We’ve talked some about war propaganda, but have focused our discussion mostly on speeches and written work. What do you think may play a role in visual rhetoric? Satire: An ironic, sarcastic, or witty composition that claims to argue for something, but actually argues against it. Visual Rhetoric Visual Rhetoric This cartoon was published on the occasion of Rosa Parks’s death in 2006. Elements of the rhetorical triangle: Who is the speaker? Who is the audience? How does Toles interact with his audience? What is his intention/purpose? What kinds of appeals do you think are present? Why? Tips for Analyzing a Visual Image from The Longwood guide to Writing, 4th ed. Ronald F. Lunsford and Bill Bridges, eds. 1. How does the image work with any caption or title given? Does that caption or title help explain the image or set a context for it? If there are other words in the image itself, how do they work with the graphic elements? 2. How is the image designed? What catches your eye first, second and so on? Why is your eye drawn to these elements in this order? 3. How does this image resonate with other images you’ve seen before? 4. What associations do you have with the image? Are these positive? Negative? Why? Answer these questions to analyze the two following cartoons. Visual Rhetoric Visual Rhetoric Visual Rhetoric Conduct a brief SOAPSTone analysis of the cartoon you are about to see. Do you think that the cartoonist is effective (does he reach his audience with this cartoon)? Why or why not? What appeals does the cartoonist use? Make sure to explain your answers. Visual Rhetoric Visual Rhetoric Conduct a brief SOAPSTone analysis of the cartoon you are about to see. Do you think that the cartoonist is effective (does he reach his audience with this cartoon)? Why or why not? What appeals does the cartoonist use? Make sure to explain your answers. Visual Rhetoric Visual Rhetoric Homework Think: What similarities were there in the two cartoons? Visually? Thematically? Write: A paragraph in which you compare the rhetorical effectiveness of the two political cartoons. What elements of rhetoric did the cartoonists use well? What appeals did they use or attempt to use? Why did it go well or poorly? Remember: This should not be a treatment of your own political preference. It should be an analysis of rhetoric. Quick Review Define the following terms: Ethos Pathos Logos Persona Closing Quickfire Questions: Where does intention fall on the rhetorical triangle? How does context differ from exigency on the rhetorical triangle? What is the difference between subject and purpose in a SOAPSTone analysis? Which kind of appeal focuses on emotions? Which kind of appeal frequently addresses a counterargument? This is the “character” or voice that a speaker or writer assumes.
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