Based on the readings and videos that you read/watched during week one, how would you describe “rhetoric”? What is “the rhetorical situation” and how do you see an awareness of this concept affecting your writing and behaviors?
Many have described rhetoric in various ways. I would agree with Aristotle who describes it as a means of persuasion. The rhetoric situation is the context where rhetoric takes place. The fact, for example, that I write this journal on this particular e-portfolio is a specific context. If I this journal was part of a personal diary that would be a different context.
The rhetorical situation also depends on the purpose. The fact that I created this portfolio for the English Composition course changes the context. It would have another value if I had initially designed this portfolio for professional purposes only. In this case, the audience would be different, and I would probably differentiate the content. Given that I would not have to meet a deadline, I could probably spend more time to polish my post.
Describe a recent writing experience or activity where you used rhetoric to effectively convey a message to a specific audience. What was the purpose of the message? Who was the audience? How did you go about appealing to that audience?
A few days ago, I wrote an e-mail to the technical support of an online service I have been using, to ask for a change in my account type, that I had not figured out how to do. Given that the recipient would be a tech support employee, my style was formal but friendly. I also used terminology and provided information like account name and my username. My goal was to persuade the reader to help me with my request. Therefore, I pointed out that if I continued to have the problem with my account, there would be no reason to renew my premium subscription, as it would not serve me anymore. Rhetoric helped me to convey the message effectively and resolve the problem.
In what ways do you see your understanding of rhetoric and the rhetorical situation affecting your future writing projects?
Although I have been using rhetoric without being aware of it and in some cases even without intention, my understanding of it makes a difference. The rhetorical knowledge will help me be a mindful reader and writer in my future writing projects. Practicing this ability will help me make better choices and hopefully reach one of my goals, to create meaningful writings and express effectively what I have in my mind.
The WPA Outcomes lists “Rhetorical Knowledge” first in the list of outcomes areas. What does this say about the importance of rhetorical knowledge to writing? Given your experience of the course so far, how important does rhetorical knowledge seem to writing and the writing process?
The authors of the WPA Outcomes probably listed "Rhetorical Knowledge" first, to show its significance, even if it was a term that many of my peers found difficult to understand. As it is mentioned in the WPA Outcomes, the rhetorical knowledge is the foundation of the writing process. The context, the audience and the purpose of the writer define not only the content but also the process of writing. A formal text, for instance, requires a different language. The audience of the text would define the level of formality. The purpose of the text could affect our choice to use e-mail or send a letter. Therefore, rhetorical knowledge plays a significant role in the desired outcome of out writing.