Summary Of The Myth Of The Rhetorical Situation

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One of the biggest complications that arises while studying rhetoric involves creating a definition of the term that encompasses a variety of different methodologies and schools of thought that can be applied to a wide range of texts and examples. Many great philosophers and thinkers, such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, have weighed in on the discussion but no one has succeeded in finding an all-encompassing definition that remains applicable in every situation. The key to understanding rhetoric is recognizing that rhetoric can mean different things to different people and certain methodologies are more appropriate in certain contexts. After analyzing several different texts that comment on rhetoric and create a specific methodology for…show more content…
For example, Richard Vatz argues in, “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation,” that for something to be considered rhetorical, words must be involved. This is not the case, however, considering the powerful effect that pictures, images, and sounds, all have in the persuasion of an audience. Since images and sounds have the power to appeal to an audience’s pathos, logos, and ethos, they are in actuality, rhetorical objects. Vatz also argues, “We view the communication of an event as a choice, interpretation, and translation, the rhetor’s responsibility is of supreme concern” (158), which is more accurate when defining rhetoric because he articulates the necessity of a purpose behind each piece of rhetoric and the importance of the way the rhetor chooses to translate certain aspects of the situation into meaning to create salience. His emphasis on salience in regard to certain instances recognizes that some situations are more relevant and have a greater power to persuade or change things than others. Lloyd Bitzer argues in, “The Rhetorical Situation,” that many situations simply are not rhetorical, but Vatz negates that idea by suggesting some are just more easily recognized and more salient. Vatz writes, “Thus rhetoric is a cause not an effect of meaning” (160), further stressing the necessity of a purpose behind communication for something to be…show more content…
Republicans across the nation are fighting for the action to be blocked or reversed, and recently seventeen states have opened lawsuits to fight the act. They cite the action as having the potential to cause a great deficit in state budgets across the nation because the action will supposedly lead to a surge in illegal border crossings, and more illegals generally cause a greater drain on healthcare, law enforcement, and education resources (Montgomery, 1). Due to the issues that they foresee the action will create, Republicans are taking not only legal action but they are making public statements that aim to demonstrate to the public that they should see the action as a threat to justice and a overreach on Obama’s part. They do so using the definition of rhetoric posited above. They are changing the definitions to portray the immigrants in a negative light, using phrases such as “illegal immigrants” or “illegal aliens” rather than “undocumented workers.” Once they succeed in persuading their audience to accept this definition, the audience already has a negative portrait of the immigrants in their minds. Then they use logos to convince the audience that the executive action creates a logistical strain and will spend money that states do not have. Finally

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