“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.