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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
Triangle                                     Exigency

                 Intention             Expectations

Speaker/Writer                Tone               Audience


   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?
   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?

   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?

   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
   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?
   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 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
    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
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
   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

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”

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

Visual Rhetoric
   We’ve talked some about war propaganda, but have
    focused our discussion mostly on speeches and written
   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
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
3.    How does this image resonate with other images you’ve seen
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
   Quickfire Questions:
       Where does intention fall on the rhetorical triangle?
       How does context differ from exigency on the rhetorical
       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

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