Vatz's Rhetoric Pentad

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What is Rhetoric? Our interpretation of the world and our reality is shaped primarily through how we describe the situation under discussion. We think of desks as desks, computers as computers, people as people, and the words we use to describe these objects are the ideas that twist reality into what we see. While I predominantly subscribe to Vatz’ views of rhetoric as the tool that shapes our reality and his view that reality is not real without rhetoric, Burke’s explanation of that reality, the Dramatic Pentad, effectively gives rhetoricians the ability to easily analyze many different rhetorical situations. This pentad; act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose, help us to better explain why we see reality in the way that we do. One of Vatz’…show more content…
He argues that words and definitions are “linguistic propositions and as such are unavoidably historically situated and dependent upon social interaction” (Schiappa xii). Furthermore he argues that those words’ and definitions’ social meanings matter to us as much or more than the stimulus itself from the object. It is impossible to describe perfectly your experiences over the past year. Your brain instead categorizes all that happens to you and “‘manages’ all of the manifold possible sensations and cognitions that one could have into specific experiences identifiable” (Schiappa 14). You then in turn generalize that specific experience into an easily digestible phrase such as “I am writing a paper” or “I am late to class”. These phrases sum up the general idea of the experience but in no way are complete descriptions. The words that are used to describe the incident can influence how the situation is viewed in the future and thus influence your perception of reality. Generally, this is seen in how people describe bad experiences. While most police officers are generally respectful when they pull someone over, that person may still complain about it to their friends, repeating a story in which the officer was extremely rude. This can change that individual’s view of the event, ultimately culminating in an increased hate and distrust of the police even though nothing happened. This can be a permanent restructuring of reality just due to the false generalization of the

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