Available means of persuasion

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Rhetoric Notes
Rhetoricthe study of effective, persuasive language use; according to Aristotle, use of the “available means of persuasion.”
Rhetoric is situational. It must be in context (occasion, time, and/or place it was written or spoken) and have purpose (goal of the speaker/writer) in order for the audience to care about what is being said.

  • In order to analyze rhetoric you must identify the audience, context, and purpose.

Thesis/Claim/Assertion – a central/main idea that is to be supported later in a text; a declaration.
Subject – topic; you must evaluate what you know, what others have said, what evidence you have of either to support your claims.
Persona – the character the speaker creates when he/she writes or speaks.
Audience – evaluate what the audience knows; what is their attitude about the subject; is there a common ground between the speaker and the audience on the subject.
Ethos – (speaker/persona) Greek term referring to the character or a person.

    • persona leads to credibility

    • often emphasize a share opinion between the speaker and audience

    • give the audience a reason to listen

Logos – Greek term referring to an appeal to logic.

    • must have a clear main idea/thesis

    • must be specific and detailed

    • must be logical

    • must deal with assumptions – underlying beliefs

    • must acknowledge counterarguments – objections and opposing view by either conceding – agree to counterargument or refuting – deny the counterargument.

Pathos – Greek term referring to emotional appeal.

    • cannot be exclusive form; must include logos or pathos to maintain strength of argument

    • language choice important

      • use of figurative language or personal anecdotes

    • engages the audience

    • usually include vivid, concrete description

    • visual elements are usually draw strong emotional appeal

Visual Rhetoric

  • Often satiric – an ironic, sarcastic or witty composition that claims to argue for something, but actually argues against it.

  • Satire – an ironic, sarcastic, or witty composition that claims to argue for something but actually argues against it.

Political Cartoon Assignment

You will find, print or copy, a political cartoon either in a magazine, newspaper, or online. Analyze your cartoon by evaluating which appeals it contains. Your analysis should include specific details about ethos, logos, and pathos as it applies to your cartoon, and it should discuss the interaction of written text and visual images. The analysis should:

  • Come to class with a completed analysis, 2 to 3 paragraphs.

  • We will discuss your cartoons as a class.

  • We will grade as a class.


  • Refers to the organization of a piece.

  • Must have a beginning, a middle, and an end


  • Introduces to the discussion

  • Draws readers into the text by gaining their interest, challenging them, or getting their attention

  • Often where ethos is established


  • Provides facts and background

  • Establishes why the subject needs to be addressed

  • Detail is dependent on the audience’s knowledge

  • Often appeals to pathos


  • Contains the most specific and concrete details


  • Addresses the counterargument

  • Bridge between the writer’s proof and conclusion

  • Appeals largely to logos


  • Brings essay to a satisfactory close

  • Appeals to pathos

  • Reminds reader of ethos

  • Brings writer’s ideas together

  • Answers question “So what?”

  • What the audience is most likely to remember

Patterns of Development

  • Arrangement should be based on purpose


– telling a story; recount of events

  • Based on personal experience or knowledge

  • Usually chronological

  • Include concrete detail and point of view

  • Sometimes include dialogue

  • Supports thesis

  • Used as a way to enter their topics


  • Includes many specific details

  • Emphasizes the 5 senses; use of imagery

  • Used to establish mood or atmosphere

Process Analysis

– explains how something works, how to do something, or how it was done.


– use of multiple examples or one extended example to make a point

  • “Let me give you an example…”

  • Aristotle taught that examples are a type of logical proof called induction; a series of specific examples which lead to a conclusion

Compare & Contrast

– juxtaposing two things to highlight their similarities and differences

  • Analysis of information in order to reveal insight

  • Used to discuss subtle differences

Classification & Division

- the sorting of material or ideas into major categories; making connections between things that might otherwise seem unrelated.

  • Ensures that writers and their audiences are speaking the same language

  • Foundation to establish common ground or identifying areas of conflict

Cause & Effect

  • Analysis of cause that leads to certain effect(s); analysis of effect(s) that result from a certain cause

  • Determine what the cause is and what the effect is

  • Be careful to not mix up the two or jump to conclusions

Analyzing Style


close reading – analysis of the text

colloquialisms – informal or conversational use of language

tone – speaker’s attitude toward the subject or audience

style – the distinctive quality of speech or writing created by the selection and arrangement of words and figures of speech

diction – word choice

syntax – sentence structure

trope – artful diction; figures of speech

metaphor – when one thing is spoken/written of as if were something else, thus an implicit comparison

simile – comparison of 2 things using “like” or “as”

personification – assigning lifelike characteristics to inanimate objects

hyperbole – exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis

scheme – a pattern of words or sentences construction used for rhetorical (persuasive) effect.

parallelism – the repetition of similar grammatical or syntactical patterns

juxtaposition – placement of two things side by side for emphasis

antithesis – parallel structure that juxtaposes contrasting ideas



  • is created by tone, sentence structure, and vocabulary

  • contributes to the meaning, purpose, and effect of a text

  • when questioning style you usually will have 2 categories: 1. diction 2. syntax

  • 1. Diction – tropes (metaphors, simile, personification, hyperbole)

  • 2. Syntax – scheme (parallelisms, juxtapositions, antithesis

    • Periodic sentences – move something important at the end

    • Cumulative sentences – add details that support an important idea in the beginning of the sentence


    • as you read underline, circle, or highlight

  • Unknown words

  • Identify main ideas

    • thesis statement and topic sentences

  • Words, phrases, and/or sentences that appeal to you or that do not make sense

  • Tropes

  • Odd juxtapositions

  • Make comments in the margins that explain what you have underlined, circled, or highlighted

Elegiac – mournful over what has passed or been lost; often used to describe tone.

  • 1 page essay based on question #7 p. 473

  • Due Monday/Tuesday, 10/11 (A day) or 10/12 (B day)

  • 1 daily grade

  • Remember non-negotiable!!

Thesis Statement

  • One sentence that explains what the essay will be about (topic)

  • The order in which the topic will be discussed (organization)

  • The main idea to be presented regarding the topic (focus/assertion)

  • The thesis should be the only or last sentence in the opening paragraph

  • It should be a complex sentence

  • The framework of the thesis will come from terms underlined while reading the question

Another way to think of the thesis:

    • It is

  • an assertion

  • the presentation of what you believe to be fact

    • It is

  • topic + opinion + elements that support/prove the opinion

Satire – an ironic, sarcastic, or witty composition that claims to argue for something, but actually argues against it; it is meant to affect social change.

Characteristics of Satire

  • Satire is concerned with ethical reform. It attacks those institutions or individuals the satirist deems corrupt.

  • It seeks reform of public behavior, a shoring up of its audience's standards or at the very least a wake-up call in an otherwise corrupt culture.

  • It works to make vice laughable and/or reprehensible and thus bring social pressure on those who still engage in wrongdoing.

  • Satire is often implicit and assumes readers who can pick up on its moral clues. It is not a sermon.

  • Satire in general attacks types -- the fool, the boor, the adulterer, and the proud -- rather than specific persons.

  • If it does attack some by name, rather than hoping to reform these persons, it seeks to warn the public against approving of them.

  • Satire is witty, ironic, and often exaggerated. It uses extremes to bring its audience to a renewed awareness of its ethical and spiritual danger.

  • If the satirist is in danger for his or her attack, ambiguity, innuendo and understatement can be used to help protect its author.

Types of Satire:

  • Horatian (named for Horace): A gentle, sympathetic form of satire in which the subject is mildly made fun of with a show of engaging wit.  This form of satire tends to ask the audience to laugh at themselves as much as the players.

  • Juvenalian (named for Juvenal): A harsher, bitter form of satire in which the subject is subjected to contempt and condemnation.   This form of satire is more judgmental, asking the audience to respond with indignation to the events it portrays.

  • Menippean (named for Menippus): A chaotic, often formless satire that satirizes the structure of the world as well as its subject matter.  It tends to mix genres, collapse categories, and intentionally ridicule everything.  Its exact target is often hard to locate because it seems to attack everything, and it often includes a preoccupation with sexual malfunctions and bodily fluids.

Satirical Sections or Chunks
1. Introduction/Orientation – statement of the nature of the problem and of the possible solutions that are rejected.

2. Narration/Proposal – statement of the proposal the writer feels will best solve the problem.

3. Confirmation/Merits – demonstrates the worth of the proposal.

4. Refutation – Consideration of possible objections and rejections of the proposal.

5. Conclusion/Summary – Summary of the strongest arguments.
Prompt: Identify and discuss at least 2 rhetorical strategies/devices ______uses to develop a satirical tone.

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