Reaction to Rhetorical Analysis

Over the last few weeks, we have been working on rhetoric in terms of textual and contextual analysis in preparation of writing an essay analyzing some form of rhetoric on campus or in a specific event. Reflecting back on the essay I wrote for this topic I think my essay went fairly well. In the beginning of examining rhetorical analysis I was slightly confused. This was mostly due to the fact that the articles I was reading to explain rhetoric were very on the more difficult side to read. Regardless, I was able to differentiate between the different ways of using rhetoric and means of analyzing it in order to craft an essay.

I chose to do a textual analysis for my essay. Though some of my friends told me that this would the harder option I felt more comfortable at analyzing text than pulling context from an event. I think it is interesting that once examined text can have a specific meaning behind it and how the phrasing of certain things and the formatting of certain elements can have an impact on the audience.

Once again I found that I had too many things to say and not enough space to say it. However, this time I didn’t go over the limit a crazy amount (only a paragraph this time, not two pages). I feel like I am beginning to become more concise in the phrasing I use and getting to my point quicker and more cohesively. A difficulty I found while writing this essay was that I didn’t know how to begin my introduction. It’s sometimes hard to start an essay when you don’t know exactly what your essay is going to turn in to. Despite this, I think for the future when I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about, I will try my professor’s route an try starting in the middle and then go back to the introduction after I have established my topic.

Overall, though there were a couple bumps along the way I think the essay went fairly well. It certainly has helped me better understand rhetoric and how it can be applied in the world.


Parents Weekend Fun

This weekend went so fast.

This past weekend was parent’s weekend up at Syracuse, and so for the first time since August I was able to see all of them (all the people at least) in the same place at the same time! They came up late Friday night and so I got to say hi to everyone before they had to go check in.

Saturday was where all the fun happened. FINALLY, I got to show off the brutally hard work I have been slaving away on for the last month and a half: my three dresses for the fashion show! I had my sister and two of my friends model for me and got to style them, do their hair and makeup and take lots of pictures. After the show we had a late lunch at Varsity’s and then we hung out on campus until we went out to dinner that night.

Sunday was more laid back and I took them to an awesome breakfast spot, Funk’n’Waffles, on campus and we went to the mall in the afternoon. As we said good by I could tell that they were sad to have to let me go all over again, but it’s really not for that long. As of today there are 18 days until my dad drives up on a Friday night to bring me home for Thanksgiving! And then I get to help my mom set up our house and decorate since we are hosting her side of the family this year. I have a feeling that these next two and a half weeks will go by fast. 🙂


Post #11: Podcast Update

In class, we have been assigned to create a podcast where we basically talk about what ever we want for 45 minutes. Even though this assignment won’t be due until the end of the semester, we are starting to prepare now to eliminate the work we’ll have to do later by starting early.

For my my podcast I will be working with my friend and classmate Alvin. At first we had a pretty hard time coming up with ideas for our podcast. We talked about doing fashion, travel, current events, the environment/ climate change, and a bunch of other ideas. Now, I think we have settled on using the topic of discussing the different types of relationships in college, whether it is long term or short term. I think we are going to start planning out how we are going to tackle this project now.

The idea behind out podcast is comparing relationships that are long distance that are held up through college and relationships that are very spur of the moment and short term. To tackle this we want to interview two of our friends, one of which is in a committed long term relationship and the other who just started dating someone a few weeks ago. To compare and contrast the two of them we want to ask each person in the relationship about some of the benefits and hardships of each type of relationship and ask them how it is going for them so far. In doing this I think Alvin and I will be able talk about how each has its positives and negatives, but ultimately it is up to the two people in the relationship.Hopefully Alvin and I will be able to stay on track in order to eliminate any last minute crammed in recording sessions.


Little Puppy

With parents weekend coming up I wanted to talk about something for a little bit. I am super excited to see my parents and my sister (especially since they are going to come to the fashion show that I have talked about in previous posts), but it makes me sad that I won’t be able to see the fourth member of my family: my dog, Rocky. Since I get to talk on the phone and text with my parents and sister it’s not that huge of a separation since we are still talking and keeping in touch. I can’t do that with my dog.

Rocky is a toy poodle, and even though he is ten years old I still call him a little puppy. Whenever I would go to sleep I would go to brush my teeth and as soon as he heard the water turn on he would wait at the door of the bathroom for me to be done and then follow me into my room. This is only one of several adorable things he does like chasing after squirrels in the backyard, sticking his nose up peoples pant legs to beg for food, and burying himself in the blinds to get our attention while we are eating.

I can’t wait to see my little puppy over thanksgiving. Only one more month, Rocky!:)


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Post #10: SU as the author

Keeping with the theme of rhetorical analysis, after doing an analysis of a Syracuse athletic schedule, I was assigned to pick some other Syracuse flyer or poster to perform a rhetorical analysis on. For my rhetorical analysis I decided to examine a water conservation flyer posted on the bulletin board on my residence hall floor.

When first looking at the small poster, the first thing that catches my eye personally is the logos at the bottom, not necessarily the words above. My eye first goes to the logo on the bottom right that says “Be Orange, Think Green” so I know immediately that the flyer has something to do with helping the environment. After this I begin to look at the top section of words. However, because of the choices in font colors I am more drawn to reading the longer passage with the white color than the heading in the blue color because of the contrast it has on the background. I think that these passages can be arranged in either way but if they want the first thing you read to be the big passage, I would place the small one below it.

Immediately the flyer utilizes the logos appeal with the statistic that “on average each of us uses about 80-100 gallons of water everyday” which is a good way to grab the attention of the viewer. Then the flyer addresses the viewer directly by saying how “you” can make a difference. This can be argued as being an ethos approach since it is appealing to how you behave ethical and stating that the things you do now that are bad for conserving water can be easily changed, making the person want to try out some of the water saving techniques. Finally, in the heading in dark blue pathos can be seen being utilized in the specific word choice of “precious”. By using this word the viewer is made to associate water with something that is sacred, treasured, beloved, and cherished all connotations of the word “precious”. This in turn makes the viewer feel protected over the water and therefore sets them up to be more likely to listen to the rest of the flyer since they have already experienced this emotional response to the header.


Post #9: Rhetorical Analysis of SU Athletics

As seen through the last few posts I’ve made, currently in my writing class we have been focusing on understanding rhetorical analysis and it’s applications in different aspects of society. As practice for an upcoming essay we will be writing, we were assigned to do a rhetorical analysis on a schedule of a Syracuse athletic team’s schedule. For my practice, I chose to analyze the schedule of the football team which I have photographed below.

The first thing I notice about this schedule is its utilization of color. Immediately on the listing of games, the person viewing can take note of the games highlighted in orange. While these games are this way because they are home games, I also believe that it is printed this way to make people viewing the schedule pay more attention to these days and therefore be more likely to attend these games

Next, the middle section of the schedule includes information on how to buy tickets. Here it is clear that they put in very bold lettering how to order and the different types of tickets they offer, however the put the actual pricing of tickets very small so that way people who view the schedule are more likely to overlook this part, especially since the pricing is stated in a not so bold white colored font. This can also be applied to the left side which displays the different types of seating at the carrier dome, but has the pricing of each section very small so patrons are more likely not to notice it or notice it after the initial appeal of buying tickets so that way they are more likely to buy the tickets.

Overall, I noticed that throughout the schedule the printers used a very bold orange colored sans serif font. I believe the reasoning behind this to be that the orange color makes important parts of the schedule catch the patron’s eye immediately. Additionally, it is known that sans serif fonts are easier to read, which would explain why they would use it throughout the schedule so people can get all the information they want to get, faster and easier.


Busy Bee

I have been so extremely busy lately! Even though this week is coming to an end, I want to reflect on last weekend.

Last weekend, I was graced with a visit from my mom and two grandmas. On Saturday when they came up we went out to dinner and I was able to stay over in the hotel with then (which was nice since I didn’t have to worry about communal bathrooms for once). Then on Sunday I took them touring around campus and we went to the mall Destiny USA to go shopping. I spent all of Sunday with them until 2 am when my mom dropped be off back at my dorm.

I’ve definitely missed having my family around to spend time with, but it was a really nice experience to show them all around and show them what I have been doing so far at Syracuse. I can’t wait until my mom, dad and sister come up for parent’s weekend so I can spend more time with them and show them the three dresses I have made for the fashion show!

14 more days!

Post #8: The Rhetorical Situation

Let me first start off by saying this: What did I just read?

Taking on the unit of rhetorical analysis in my writing class, tonight I read an essay by Lloyd F. Bitzer about the rhetorical situation. My first thoughts on the essay were, “Am I missing something? Why is this so hard to understand?”. Throughout the entirety of the essay, while Bitzer argues an extremely thorough and well developed idea about rhetorical situation, he does so using very complex sentences that make it difficult to understand sometimes. So since I spent more time translating this essay than reading it, let me break it down for you in simple terms.

In the first chunk of the essay, Bitzer introduces the topic of his essay which will be about explaining rhetorical situation in an easy way to make it possible for readers to understand while also communicating why and how it is an important part of studying rhetorical analysis. Following this, Bitzer goes on to talk about a sample passage and then explains to the audience how the example is proof of how the situation influences the observations to be made. He finishes this section by establishing that rhetorical communication, or as his calls it discourse , comes in to play in response to a specific situation.

After several passages, Bitzer finally begins defining what he has been talking about since the beginning. Not very helpful for the reader. Here Bitzer answers the question: what does rhetorical situation even mean? A rhetorical situation is people, events, objects and relations that present a demand which can be removed if rhetorical language is applied to change people’s opinions. Every rhetorical situation contains three elements: the exigence, the audience, and the constraints. The exigence, latin for demand, is the obstacle or problem trying to be solved. The audience is the people listening to the argument that can be influenced by the speaker. And finally, the constraints are the preconceived beliefs that the audience comes to the table with: attitudes, facts, traditions, interests, motives, etc.

The next thing Bitzer does is talk about and explain some general characteristics of rhetorical situations. Big ideas that he touches on are that rhetorical language is brought about by the situation, any rhetorical situation is trying to invoke a specific response but the situation must motivate the specific response to be made, and finally all in all rhetorical situations all have a very dignified structure that organizes it. In the end, Bitzer concludes by saying that in a perfect world there would be no need for rhetoric, however since the world presents problems that can be changed through communication there is a practical need for practicing the rhetorical situation.

To Be or Not To Be

In this most famous soliloquy of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet ponders what the better option is for his future: facing his grievances, blights and adversity or ending it all, committing suicide and enter the unknown. His train of thought starts in the beginning as weighing the options and then turns into how death may be the most favorable option. This is until towards the end when he realizes that his conscience will prevent him from doing this.From the perspective of rhetorical analysis, these thoughts of Hamlet do a very good job at using logos, ethos and pathos to engage the reader. I worked with my classmate Alvin to identify where each technique is utilized.

Perhaps the most prevalent technique used throughout is pathos, which is seen nearly every line with Hamlet’s use of romantic language that creates strong images seeping with emotion. A line that most captures this emotion can be seen when Hamlet says, “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” using hyperbole to exaggerate the emotion. Additionally, Hamlet uses logos as he debates the pros and the cons of each options. A very clear example can be seen when he talks about the dread of the unknown and how “conscience does make cowards of us all,” ultimately saying that the logical argument, to stay living, is the one that makes the most sense. Finally, Hamlet appeals to ethics using ethos when he talks about the benefits of dying and making is seem appeal and even pleasant to the audience when he says, “to sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come.” This technique makes dying seem like the better option and even appear to be not that bad.

Besides this three main techniques, Hamlet’s soliloquy progresses through the five canons of rhetorical analysis. One that I noticed was the use of disposito, or arrangement. This soliloquy is arranged in four chunks: talking about the “side effects” of living, the positives of dying, hesitation in his choice, and redeciding what to do. This arrangement favors to the appeal of death and makes it seem “nice” or favorable to the audience with visions of dreams and sleep.Ultimately, though, he comes to the realizations that death might not be the best way out during the third chunk where he hesitates his decision and then finally decides to take the “coward’s way out”.

Post #7: Rhetorical Analysis

Since middle school, students have learned to further analyze text using different methods. One of the most popular means of doing this at my middle school and even into high school was a method called “Talking to the Text” where students would would write notes in the margins about what they thought the underlying meaning of the writing was or what the author was trying to convey. Today, in college, a new method of analyzing text has been introduced to me through an article by Jack Selzer, “Rhetorical Analysis: Understanding How Text Persuades Readers.”

Right at the start of the article, Selzer says that there is no generally accepted definition of what rhetorical analysis is. So how are we supposed to understand it then? Selzer further goes on to explain how the term “rhetoric” has several different meanings whether it is defined by the general public or defined in terms of reading and writing. A good quote I found from the University of Arizona that provides a good explanation of rhetorical analysis in a common sense says that it is “identifying the particular strategies an author uses to appeal to or persuade a given audience.”

After this, Selzer goes on to explain that there are different methods of rhetorical analysis: textual analysis and contextual analysis. Textual analysis emphasizes the text of the piece rather than the context of the writing, whereas contextual analysis emphasizes context of the writing over the text it is written in. Then, to get the reader to further understand the difference between these two methods, Selzer goes in to two examples where he uses the textual analysis approach to analyze “Education” a short essay  by E.B. White using the textual method, and “An Open Letter to Bill Bennett” by Milton Friedman using the contextual method. Overall, Selzer is able to show that rhetorical analysis is a blend of both of these methods and both of these techniques can be used together or apart to gain further insight into the thoughts of the author and what their thinking was behind their writing.