Wiki source for WhatMakesThisRhetorical

Show raw source

>>{{image url="" width="376px"}}>>=====What Makes This Rhetorical? An exercise =====
This exercise is //a trial run //at working with exercises like this one, observing, taking notes, and considering an artifact from a rhetorical perspective. A //rhetorical artifact// is a text, a web page, an image, a tweet, a video, a audio file, a transcript of an audio file, a CD cover and on. You should review the CourseStatement to get a sense of the method I'm asking you to engage for this exercises.
Read //Rhetorical Analysis// chapter 1 and chapter 2 to p 21.

Take at least an hour of close, studied work of observation and notes for this exercise. Two hours will yield even more. And three, even more.

If you're unsure how to proceed, don't worry. Take a breath and start taking notes. People learn to do this by actually doing it for a while, unsure at first, but gaining a sense of the task.

Contemporary rhetoricians take the perspective that any language artifact is rhetorical. A text or object might not be overtly persuasive, but it does influence attitudes, values, or beliefs. As in this definition from Stoner and Perkins:

Rhetoric: The art and science of creating and analyzing "messages that rely on verbal and nonverbal symbols that more or less intentionally influence social attitudes, values, beliefs, and actions." (Stoner and Perkins, 6).

For a message to be rhetorical, it must rely on symbols - natural language, typically, but the language of film, dance, spacial organization, and the like are all symbolic - but the rhetor need not intentionally or overtly attempt to influence. So, we can say that

Rhetorical messages aim to shape the way people think, act, feel, or believe.

To explore what this means, we'll look at a few artifacts that we don't often see as rhetorical.

==== How to proceed====
Go to your wiki name page and start a new page titled WhatMakesThisRhetorical - followed by your initials. (WhatMakesThisRhetoricalMCM, for instance). Work with this exercise in that page, making notes that others can follow. Your notes don't have to be letter-perfect. You can use bullets or sentences or fragments. But get your thinking down on the screen so you can see what you're doing. **Use headings to organize your notes.** You can copy and paste the heading below into your page to get started.

==== First Pass ====
==== Second Pass ====
==== Consideration ====

You are going to be composing //notes// - observations, things to notice - not essays. You're not arguing a point or coming to any conclusions, so relax and observe.

==== Describe ====
Choose one of the artifacts below to work with. Copy and paste the link to the artifact into your page so you and I can refer to it. Keep the artifact open in a second browser window as you work. Attention to the actual artifact is important in this exercise.

To start, //describe// the artifact. Use neutral language, move into detail, be methodical, and describe both the artifact and the situation, or situations, it is embedded in. Take notes.

Make two passes in describing.

=== First pass ===
Describe from outside the rhetorical interaction. You're not the rhetor, and you're not the audience: Describe as an outside viewer, observing the interaction between rhetor and audience.

From this perspective, consider the situation and the rhetorical elements involved. That is, identify the elements rhetors //can// use and //do// use to address rhetorical ends, consider what rhetorical ends they seem to be going for, and how they use the elements to meet the ends. All three of these considerations work together.

Hold off on evaluation: No need to judge the artifact, its aesthetic, its purported effectiveness.
Hold off on gut reaction: Stand outside the rhetorical interaction as an observer.

== A Few Guiding Questions ==
Use these questions to guide and extend your observations.

- Who are the rhetors - as far as you can tell? Who is the audience- as far as you can tell? What is the rhetorical situation that the artifact works in? What are the historical and cultural contexts for which the artifact is designed? What seems to be the rhetorical purpose of the message? And how do you know?
- Consider the forum and genre. The forum is the place or point for medium where the rhetor and audience meet with the artifact. A web page, a student union, a book, a video game are all forums. So is a gallery or a space where a rhetorical object is place. The genre names a recurring type of artifact: a sonnet, memo, country music video, weather information website are all genres. So are vending machines, role playing games, bobble-heads. (see Longaker, pp 13 - 14)
- Consider how the rhetorical situation unfolds over time of reading or working with the artifact and how that unfolding is controlled - by the rhetor, the audience, or the situation.
- In some cases, there will be more than one rhetorical situation at work. An 18th century poem, for instance, presented in a 21st century web page means you have to specify and differentiate between two rhetorical situations.

=== Second pass ===
In a second pass, consider the more implicit, unstated ends: those elements and ends the rhetors may not consider rhetorical but that carry a persuasive end anyway.

Look at
- the arrangement of the text, image, or object. In a text, this is the progression from section to section, para to para, sentence to sentence. In a magazine page or web page, it is the placement of chunks of text on the page and suggested or implied movement the audience is to make from chunk to chunk. For a painting or photo, it's the visual composition. For an object, it is the arrangement of the parts and the placement of objects in space.
- the //register// of the message: this includes the social and disciplinary domain or setting, the style of formal, informal, semi-formal, and the presence of the audience as //close// or intimate or more distant and impersonal. The Wikipedia entry on [[ | register]]. register in text chunks and interface elements. Visual images have register, too.
- the layout on the page, screen, canvas, or space: arrangement of visual elements such as text, navigation, images, use of color, images, and links ...
- any change, movement in the artifact, or interaction with the artifact
- selection of and placement of images
- anything else that comes to light as you observe ...

Observe, too, what's missing. What isn't in the artifact that could readily be.

=== A Consideration ===
Recall that rhetorical messages aren't always overtly persuasive, and that they aim to shape the way people think, act, feel, or believe.

Drawing on your notes of what you have observed, where would you place the artifact on a continuum of The Rhetorical from //no persuasion// to //overt persuasion//, and why.

""no persuasion ----------------------- hello ----------------------------overt persuasion ""

==== Artifacts ====
- [[ | A 19th century secret message]]
- [[ Rice University Homepage]]
- [[ Girl with a Pearl Earring]], Vermeer, 1660.
- [[ The Passionate Shepherd to His Love]], Marlow, //as displayed on Project Bartleby site//.
- National Weather Service [[ Forecast at a Glance Page]]
- [[ | Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress)]], Blake Fall-Conroy.
- [[,_Minnesota Wikipedia entry on Bemidji, MN]]
- [[ Start Seeing Motorcycles bumper sticker]]


== retired artifacts - used in pass classes ==
[[ | Oh mistress mine]], as displayed on the Poetry Foundation website.
Google page for sunlamp. (Search //sunlamp// on Google and consider that page.)
Cover of pop song
[[ | Paper Planes]], sampling The Clash, [[ | Straight to Hell]].
2 page spread from //Wired// magazine.
Facebook Profile
Saturday Fun Page, ''Bemidji Pioneer''
[[ This is to say]], William Carlos Williams - and a [[ rhetorical response]]
[[ Illuminated ms]]
[[ Skater at Play]]
[[ Lindsay Lohen Doesn't Change Facial Expression]]: Image mashup. Sound.
[[ BSU Home page]]
[[ | OK Go on treadmills]]
Saturday Fun Page, //Bemidji Pioneer//
[[ a grocery list]]

Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki