For my formal analysis, I plan on writing about sexual consent on college campuses. Specifically, I will be analyzing news articles about a bill that was just passed in California stating how affirmative consent must occur before any sexual contact between two people occurs. The two articles I will be analyzing discuss their views on the bill being passed and how they both think it will affect society, especially students on college campuses. This topic motivates me because it is a big issue in today’s society, and it affects students that are around the same age as I am. I know people who have personally been affected by situations such as rape and sex without consent, so that is another reason that motivates me to learn more about this topic. California is the first state that passed a law about this topic, and although many people doubt it, there are many supporters also, and I want to know why each one believes what he believes. This law has already held many doubts, and many people believe that it will just create more stress for people, especially those in a relationship, so I want to learn more about this to discover why people think these things. The only questions I have about the assignment are what are we specifically talking about in our rhetorical analysis? Are we discussing both the articles and the incidents, or are we only focusing on the articles themselves and how they have different views from one another? Also, we aren’t allowed to state our opinions, right? I feel like I need an example, and that I’m making this more complicated than it actually is, hahaha.
“The Rhetorical Situation” by Bitzer
In “The Rhetorical Situation,” Bitzer discusses rhetoric as a whole and asks the audience the question “What really is rhetoric?” and “What is a rhetorical situation?” Bitzer talks about a situation and that “a work is rhetorical because it is a response to a situation of a certain kind.” He gives the reader an example of rhetoric occurring in a situation, and then he concludes with statements that altogether explain what situational rhetoric is. Along with that argument, Bitzer describes the three main characteristics of a rhetorical situation, which include exigence, audience, and constraints, and he discusses how each of these affect a situation and make it rhetorical. Bitzer concludes his argument with another set of statements that help organize his thoughts and knowledge of why a situation is rhetorical.
Bitzer did a great job in explaining how a situation can become rhetorical and why that is. My favorite part was when Bitzer stated that “rhetoric is a mode of altering reality, not by the direct application of energy to objects, but by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thoughts and action. The rhetor alters reality by bringing into existence a discourse of such a character that the audience, in thought and action, is so engaged that it becomes mediator of change. In this sense rhetoric is always persuasive. (3-4) ” I liked this the most because it describes how rhetoric and a situation are one and the same. I also like how he touched on the three characteristics, and I agree with him in that aspect because all three characteristics affect one another, and without one, rhetoric wouldn’t be rhetoric.
If there is no response to rhetoric, then does that mean the rhetoric itself wasn’t good enough?
Emma Watson’s speech about Feminism
The exigence in Emma Watson’s speech target feminism in general and how women are mistreated in society today. Emma’s direct audience was the United Nations, but it was also meant for everyone around the world. The constraints regarding her speech include anti-feminists and people who didn’t take her seriously because she is an actress in today’s society.
In the Fox News article regarding Ferguson, we believe the purpose of the article focused more on the media coverage of the case, rather than about the case itself. Fox focused on why this case is getting more coverage than any other case, and because of that, why many schools today are taking action regarding the issue. The main argument of the article was about the issue of race today. This article took a red herring approach where Fox decided not to talk about the issue directly, but instead took a different approach and discussed the reactions and influences that this case has had on the country. The exigence for this piece was the actual shooing of Michael Brown, as well as if the police officer should have done what he did, although that could present an argument. A brief cultural context could include talking about racism today and how it still exists. People sugarcoat racism, but they are still victims of it in their everyday lives. Fox’s constraints were that they couldn’t outright discuss their opinion, so they indirectly brought it up. They discussed Malcolm X and hinted that his actions were violent, and they related it to this issue. This article appeals to pathos, or an emotional appeal to people where it sort of scared them into thinking what will happen in the future. Also, there was a lack of anything to do with Michael Brown. Fox only provided media of people talking about the issue.
In Democracy Now!, the main argument is talking about the misuse of the military equipment that was given to state and local police. The purpose of this argument is to inform the country of how Obama provided state and local police this military equipment and how they have misused this equipment, rather than Obama. The exigence of this article is the how big this issue was and how many things have gone wrong, including how much of the military equipment was used during the protesting of Ferguson. (Discussed the rest in class).
Amanda Dingman, Steven Chow, Tanzila Mahmood
Ethos, pathos, and logos are all very important aspects of rhetorical writing, but without each other, they would be useless. The three characteristics work together as a team, and without one, none of them would make sense, so therefore the rhetorical triangle should not be a triangle, but a circle, since they all work in unity. Also, as stated in the passage someone who “analyzes who writes, what she writes, and how she writes it, and to whom she writes it at once…” is a very powerful writer. She understands what rhetoric is and uses all of the characteristics of it to understand what she is reading.
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