I. A Useful Definition of Rhetoric II. The Rhetorical Triangle Directions

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I. A Useful Definition of Rhetoric
II. The Rhetorical Triangle
Directions: Read and study I. A Useful Definition of Rhetoric; and II.
The Rhetorical Triangle. Use the features and terms of rhetoric to
effectively explore fiction and nonfiction texts and to write strong essays
this year in Honors English Language Arts.
Rhetoric refers to two things:
•
the specific features of texts, written or spoken, that cause them to be
meaningful, purposeful, and effective for readers or listeners in a situation.
•
the art of analyzing all the choices involving language that writer, speaker,
reader, or listener might make in a situation so that the text becomes
meaningful, purposeful, and effective.
Being Skilled at Rhetoric
•
Being skilled at rhetoric not only means being able to make good speeches
and write good papers, but it also means having the ability to read other
people’s compositions and listen to their spoken works with a discerning eye
and a critical ear.
•
Being skilled at rhetoric means reading not only to understand the main and
supporting points of what someone writes, but also to analyze the decisions
the writer makes as he or she works to accomplish a purpose for a specific
audience.
•
Being skilled at rhetoric means being able to examine a situation—in school,
in the community, in society as a whole—and to determine what has already
been said and written, what remains unresolved, and what can be said or
written to continue the conversation, to raise awareness in other areas, or to
persuade readers to take action.
SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR II. THE RHETORICAL TRIANGLE
From: Rothskelly and Jolliffe: Everyday Use, © 2005 by Pearson Education
II. The Rhetorical Triangle
Rhetoric: Rhetoric is the study and the art of using language effectively. Rhetoric
encompasses the language choices authors and speakers use to create meaningful
fiction and nonfiction texts worth reading and hearing.
The Rhetorical Transaction: According to Aristotle, the rhetorical transaction
consists of three basic components: logos – representing the author’s ability to
reveal logic and reason in the text; ethos – representing the author’s ability to reveal
his or her credibility in the text, and pathos – representing the author’s ability to
appeal to the audience through the text. These components are suggested by the
rhetorical triangle or Aristotelian triad:
Word / Logos
Author / Ethos
Audience / Pathos
Logos
 Note the claims the author makes
 Note the data the author provides in support of the claims
 Note the conclusions the author draws
Ethos
 Note how the author establishes a persona
 Note how the author establishes a credibility
 Note any revelation of the author’s credentials or personal history
Pathos
 Note the primary audience for the text
 Note the emotional appeals the author makes
 Note the author’s expectations of the audience
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