Writer’s Journal #5 – Understanding Rhetorical Concepts

As far as I understand it, rhetoric is a mental state we enter when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to persuade someone, and this state triggers a selection of words and forms in our brain that helps us complete the task. This moment is the rhetorical situation. This mechanism heightens your sense of logic, lexis and style so as to prepare you to engage your audience. In writing, it will allow you to think of pros and cons of the matter, as well as cause-effect relations.

Personally, it puts me in a sort of state of trance, in which I feel like I’m playing a part and I try to do it at my best. Being a rather kind-hearted and calm person at the core, I find arguing difficult, though when I lunge into one, I generally try to get out of it with minimal damage and, hopefully, more knowledge than when I started.

The last time I needed to write something rhetorically was a few days ago, for this course. I replied to a post by a peer about the learning process and I gave my experience on the subject of memorization. I think at this point I’m in the mechanical part of the rhetorical aspect: identifying the purpose, audience and how to appeal is almost instantaneous. In this case, my aim was to give my experience on the topic of studying in school and my view on the methods teachers use to assign study work; my audience was peer students with a variety of academic backgrounds, as well as nationalities; and the way I went about doing it was by being as clear and detailed as possible with my examples.

I think that this section on rhetoric has put in order what I felt and almost instinctively knew from experience about discussing, be it in writing or orally. I am used to doing it, though it rarely happens: to this day, I still argue with my mother (it’s not a prerogative of teenagers) and need to find all the rhetoric I can find to be able to persuade her of my point of view. It goes without saying, this will help me in all my future writing endeavours as well, now that I have had written confirmation from scholars that what I was doing was accurate.

I believe rhetorical knowledge is key and should be addressed first because it’s what you do before you start writing and the efficacy of the piece comes from it. I can’t expect this argumentative text to convince you that I have read all the rationales and done the other assignments if I don’t consider first all the elements we have seen this week, which I know you know, dear reader, because I have considered my audience for this post and it’s of peers who have completed the first week and the professors. And trying to use new techniques immediately is the best way to get them tattooed in your brain. It really works.

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