The Art of Rhetoric

When properly addressing the rhetorical situation, you must focus on the influencing factors like audience, context, language, and purpose. Before reading through these articles, which explain in-depth the importance of each feature, I was fairly familiar with the concepts. In my experience, I have been taught to be very aware of the audience you’re addressing, the purpose of the message you want to convey, and the tone or language you need to use to be most effective. However, most of these writing assignments were very similar in style and audience. Most recently, I have only written academic literature intended for professors and scholars, which has a specific structure of tone and purpose. Because of this, I do feel very unexperienced and unprepared when writing material for a different group of audience members.

One part of the article caught my eye when it said, “When you write to all readers, you, in fact, write to no one at all.” I found this surprising and challenging, as I think it is many student’s inclination to write something with such range and depth that it can be highly generalizable across audiences. It is our human nature to want to be liked and approved by the widest multitude of people. Thus, this article is a good reminder that we need to have a specific audience in mind in order to demonstrate a good purpose.

In relation to Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation, the rhetorical situation is very important. We know that she must be using the words and tone that she does in order to speak properly to the intended audience. Especially for us, we can take this into account for our in-class discussions. It reminds me that we need to get to know our peers better so that we can utilize the best method of communication. If we don’t know who we’re speaking to, how can we engage in constructive conversation?

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