Sept. 25

September 24, 2008 pottersp

“What is Rhetoric?”

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. As Aristotle said, it’s “the available means of persuasion.” It’s not about tricking the audience into believing something, it’s about using language in the correct way to achieve someting. It’s between an audience, the author, and the topic, or the text. The different appeals of rhetoric are pathos, logos, and ethos. Pathos is the appeal to emotion. It gives a story that the audience can relate to. They have to know who their audience is in order to share their values successfully. Logos is the logical appeals/means. The author has to argue as logically as they can and share the information clearly. Ethos is the author/speaker. The pursuasiveness of the argument depends on how the audience views the author and what they are writing about. There are also 3 focuses on the elements of argument. They are claims, support, and warrants. A claim is the mail idea, thesis, opinion, or argument. The support are the statements given to back up the claim. And the warrant is the connection often assumed between the claim and the support. So, the claim states something, such as, Bell Tower has a lot of different choices and is very satisfying. The support would then be that they have a lot of different choices, therefore it is satisfying, And the warrant/what’s understood is that Bell Tower is a dining hall. In order to persuade, you must known your audience, and say the right things.


I have learned that without establishing an audience, you will accomplish nothing. If you don’t know who you are speaking to, then you can’t persuade them into something. You have to break the information down and know it well (all sides of the argument), so that you can prove a point. Rhetoric is the interaction between the audience, the author, and the text. I can apply this to class by really trying to understand how pursuasive I can be. I have to be able to connect with my audience on a more personal/emotional level so that I can easily persuade them. I have to shape each aspect so that me, as the speaker, my audience, and the subject work together. I must know all angles of the argument, so that when the text shifts, I know the right thing to say.


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