Notes Luke Fox

Backpack vs Briefcase

  • Media is one of the most important places where this kind of analysisneeds to happen.Rhetoric—the way we use language and images to

persuade—is what makes media work.

  • Because media rhetoric surrounds us, it is important to understandhow rhetoric works. If we refuse to stop and think about how and why it persuades us, we can become mindless consumers who buy into

arguments about what makes us value ourselves and what makes us
happy.

  • Our worlds are full of these kinds of social influences. As we interact with other people and with media, we are continually creating

and interpreting rhetoric.

  • One of the first places to start is context. Rhetorical messages always occur in a specific situation or context. The president’s speech might respond to a specific global event, like an economic summit; that’s part of the context.
  • In an article called “The Rhetorical Situation,” Lloyd Bitzer argues that there are three parts to understanding the context of a rhetorical moment: exigence, audience and constraints. Exigence is the circumstance or condition that invites a response; “imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, athing which is other than it should be” (Bitzer 304).
  • The rhetorical situation is just the beginning of your analysis, though. What you really want to understand is the argument—what the rhetor

wants you to believe or do and how he or she goes about that persuasion.

  • Logos is commonly defined as argument from reason, and it usually appeals to an audience’s intellectual side.
  • Emotional appeals can come in many forms—an anecdote or narrative, an image such as a photograph, or even humor.
  • The bottom line is that the same basic principles apply when you look at any piece of rhetoric (your instructor’s clothing, an advertisement,the president’s speech): you need to consider the context and the argument.
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