Quick Write

What do you think professors mean when we say audience? Why do you think it matters?

Ethos

Ethos is about values. In rhetoric we connect ethos to character, credibility, and trustworthiness. At their core, these concepts have to do with values. We tend to believe and trust those individuals who exemplify the values we cherish, who live the sort of life that we would want to live. Ethos Handout from University of Maryland

Ethos is inferred, NOT possessed. Five strategies for persuading through character.

  1. Personal info
  2. Sources
  3. Identification with Audience
  4. Point of View
  5. Balanced Presentation

5 Ways to Persuade with Character (Ethos) | How to Craft an Argument

Understanding Audience

Audience is quite possibly the most important thing to consider when writing an argument. You need to appeal to them, understand their problems, values, and beliefs, in order to convince them of your point of view.

Who your audience is should influence how you present your argument.

Who your audience is should influence how you present yourself.

Determine what is important to your audience. What do they really care about? What do they value?

Free Write

We are going to free write for a few minutes. This is a great brainstorming technique to develop your topic. 

  1. What topic are you considering?
  2. Write everything you know about the topic. Write for 5 minutes without stopping. Write sentences, bullet points, words, examples, etc.; anything that comes to mind regarding your topic. Just keep writing.

Rhetorical Analysis

  • What is the primary purpose of the text? To entertain, inform, persuade, demonstrate knowledge, something else?
  • Consider the topic. What point does it make?
  • Who is the primary audience? How well is it adapted to the audience?
  • Consider the author. What is her aim?
  • Consider the medium and design. What is the genre of the text?
  • Consider the occasion. Why was it created?
  • Media/Design. How does the medium affect the tone and organization?

Let’s apply these questions to the article we read for today. Take five minutes and answer the questions, individually or in groups of two. 

Apply the questions to the text Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Situation

rhetorical situation is the context of a rhetorical act, made up (at a minimum) of a rhetor (a speaker or writer), an issue (or exigence), a medium (such as a speech or a written text), and an audience. Source

The Rhetorical Situation, or context for writing. The author has a purpose and is writing for an audience. They each affect one another.

 

Author’s Purpose

We previously talked about having a purpose for everything we do. Now we can see that purpose is also important when writing. 

Rhetoricians agree that all writing should begin first with a purpose. 

Author’s Purpose is the reason for the text.

All good writing has a purpose. When we write anything, it can be for any number of reasons. When you read a story, try to figure out why the author wrote it. What motivated them to write it? What are they trying to achieve with it?

What possible purpose can the author have? What purpose does the text have?

  • To Entertain
  • To Inform
  • To Persuade

These are the three main purposes a text can have, but these are not the only reasons.

In college, we write to learn, to build knowledge, and to demonstrate learning.

  • To Learn
  • To Build Knowledge
  • To Show learning

When you are given an assignment, figure out what your purpose is. What is the text supposed to convey? Good writing is purposeful. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can figure out how to accomplish it and if you accomplished it.

We can also think about writing within a conversation. You can write to summarize a conversation in order to understand it. You can write to enter a conversation, or to add to an existing one.

  • To understand
  • To Enter a Conversation
  • To Join a Conversation

Quick Write

What is our purpose in writing a rhetorical analysis? Why are we doing this?

What is your purpose as an author in writing this rhetorical analysis? See the list above.

Homework

  • Reading Journal 4 DUE
  • Rough Draft of Rhetorical Analysis DUE for Peer Review
  • Read Chapter 6, Developing an Argument of Your Own (p. 221-260)
  • Read Case Study: Food Stamp Fraud