Response to “The Rhetorical Situation” September 30, 2014

“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.

3 thoughts on “Response to “The Rhetorical Situation” September 30, 2014”

  1. I like the question that you brought up. It is interesting to find out what factors make a rhetoric and a situation good and allow it to be successfully executed.I also agree that the exigence, audience and constraints wouldn’t make rhetoric, rhetoric. Also I will add that if one part isn’t strong, another part can make up for the weakness.

  2. You talked about how you thought rhetoric and situation are “one in the same”, which was interesting and really connected to the piece. I to, would agree with this notion and feel that the two are extremely relevant to each other.

  3. I think your problem can be analyzed in two dimensions.On the one hand, if no respond appear to a rhetoric, the author may think about his/her target audiences. Maybe the author doesn’t combine pathos in the article. On the other hand, as rhetorical situation sometimes decay when the time goes by, a rhetoric may also be effective only in few seconds. Maybe this can explain the reason that there is no response to a rhetoric.

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