Ready for Rhetoric

In public speaking classes they tell you that when you are aiming to persuade you must use rhetoric... specifically pathos, ethos, and logos. If all three things are used correctly without fallacy, your speech is guaranteed to at least make someone think about what your are talking about, assuming that your audience is even listening.

Trump, though it might not be so obvious, is very good at employing rhetoric, though some arguments seem to engage with fallacies. He is especially good with pathos.

Rhetoric is much more complicated than just those three devices, though they can be especially persuasive. Rhetorical analyzes are extremely extensive and take many different things into account. It is important to note that Rhetorical Analyses are not summaries of content, but an extremely detailed analyses of the way the writer achieved their point (Short).

The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to articulate HOW the author writes, rather than WHAT they actually wrote- Lindsay Short

In class we were given some ideas on what to write when doing the visual rhetorical analysis these things included: purpose, audience, stance, context, genre, tone, arrangement, location, scale, text, color, and readability. The thing that all of these things have in common is that they could be used to help the author achieve his point.

Once you know the types of things people are looking for when they analyze your work, it makes it infinitely more difficult to build something because you become obsessed with the details. Being able to do a rhetorical analysis and also create something for a purpose takes persistence and creativity. You have to also engage fully with a topic, and have full command of what you are trying to accomplish.

The creativity and persistence comes in when you have to make choices, and try to understand what others are going to get from that choice. The example given in class talks about how something as simple as how fast and often the video is cut away to another scene can change the way the person sees the information, whether they thing it is suspenseful, scary, or boring.

In high school the teachers always tried to get us to engage with the settings of the plot, and there is always something in it that the teachers think means something while we just kind of think the teacher is thinking too hard about it. For example she argues that the blue curtains mean the character is sad and depressed, while we argue that the character just liked the blue curtains because they were pretty. Potato potahto. In the eyes of the rhetorical analysis the curtains and everything else mentioned in that scene is part of the grand scheme of things, and most definitely could mean that the author made those curtains blue to reflect the emotions of the character.

You have to look closely at every aspect of a piece to really analyze it, thought this image takes that pretty literally

A misconception that I previously had about rhetoric, and rhetorical analysis, is that it only applies to writing and speeches. In reality anything can be analyzed, especially because almost everything we see today is designed to subconsciously persuade us. A rhetorical analysis is difficult and takes creativity because you have to be able to take a detail that seems negligible and fully understand its purpose. When you are reading a book for fun, you don't really think about how the author is making his point, but in a rhetorical analysis you have to find the details that might not have meant anything to you at the time, and figure out how they lead you to your opinions of the piece.

Rhetoric goes far beyond the pages of a book or the words of a speech, rhetoric is used daily in advertising (which seems to take up most of what we encounter). Images are one of the most powerful ways to get someone too feel something, using iconic images or emotional scenes that are relatable to the viewer. When we are doing our rhetorical analysis build in Minecraft it is going to be important to remember the multi-modal means of persuasion, and how they are used regularly to change our opinion of something.

Literature Cited

Lindsay Short, What in the World is a Rhetorical Analysis. NC State University. Fall 2007. Accessed April 10, 2017.

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