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Rhetorical Elements: Analysis Strategies

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1 Rhetorical Elements: Analysis Strategies
Exigence, Persona, SOAPStone and DIDLS

2 Exigence Why did the author write this? What was “getting under his/her skin”? What was he/she thinking about? What emotional reaction was the author having? Shakespeare and Macbeth: New Scottish/English king who believed in the supernatural as elements of the devil. In addition, this king also happened to be the patron of Shakespeare’s acting company.

3 Exigence continued: Martin Luther King and “I Have a Dream”: He wanted to inspire the people in the civil rights movement; he also wanted to present the idea of a country without prejudice to the US as a whole Mark Twain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: He had a successful “boys’ book” in Tom Sawyer; as the writing of the book continued, he became disgusted with certain aspects of society, including violence, gullibility, and greed. Later part of the book reflects this.

4 Persona The role the author chooses to play. Not the same as the author. Similar to point of view in fiction To Kill a Mockingbird: Scout’s role The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huck’s role A Modest Proposal: Swift is playing the role of a well educated, thoughtful Irish politician who believes he has a practical solution to poverty in Ireland. The author can “be” him/her self yet still play a role. Parents can “play” dumb, tough, etc. Politicians can “play” family person, hero, villain, common person,etc.

5 SOAPStone—an overview
S—Speaker O—Occasion A---Audience P---Purpose S---Subject T----tone

6 S--Speaker The individual or collective voice of the text:
Is it the author’s own voice? Is it a certain persona the author chooses? Is it reflecting a group? Is it reflecting a governmental body? (“We the people……”) Most likely it is a combination of all or some of these

7 O--Occasion The event or catalyst causing the writing of the text to occur “The Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson “Second Inaugural Address” by Abraham Lincoln “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. “We Have Nothing to Fear….” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

8 A---Audience The specific group of readers to whom the text is directed Marc Antony and Brutus: Roman citizens Macbeth’s letter: Lady Macbeth Atticus’s closing argument: the jury –but a specific jury Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”—Revolutionary War Soldiers Patrick Henry, “Speech to the Virginia Convention”—a colony largely opposed to war

9 P--Purpose The reason behind the text
What the author wants us to do with the exigence placed before us A certain verb….. To free the prisoners To find the defendant not guilty To kill Duncan To mutiny against Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators

10 S--Subject The general topic and/or main idea:
Today’s campaign messages: our candidate and why he/she is the best choice NFL Sunday Football: Football is cool, great, exciting, fun, etc. Gary Larson Cartoons: Life’s more interesting through a unique perspective Brutus and Antony: Caesar is dead; what are we going to do about it?

11 T--Tone The attitude of the author/persona toward his or her subject:
Lincoln: somber—Gettysburg Address P. Henry: urgent---Speech to the Virginia Convention Lady Macbeth: disgusted—her husband is a coward if he doesn’t kill Duncan Marc Antony: hesitant at first; then strong Atticus: practical—it makes sense to believe Tom’s version of things

12 DIDLS—an overview D—Diction I----Images D-----Details L----Language
S----Sentence Structure

13 Diction What words does the author use?
“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” “The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country.” “Yesterday, December 7, 1941: a day that will live in infamy.”

14 Images What images does the author create?
Visual, olfactory, auditory, tactile, gustatory, kinesthetic How do these images imbue (permeate) the piece with sensory images? “I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.”

15 Details Which details does the author include and omit?
Lady Macbeth mentions he had made a promise (which he had not)…. Atticus points out Tom can only use his right hand, while Mr. Ewell writes left handed Lincoln mentions “four score and seven years ago”

16 Language What type of language does the author use?
“All right, then, I’ll go to Hell.” “Ask Not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country….” “We are apt to listen to that siren till she turns us into beasts…..” “You are not wood, you are not stones, but men…….”

17 Sentence Structure Simple, compound, complex, compound-complex
Use of phrases Sentence variety Vivid verbs, etc. Active or passive voice

18 Additional element: Design
Dictionary definitions: verb (used with object) to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of: to design a new bridge. noun the combination of details or features of a picture, building, etc.; the pattern or motif of artistic work: the design on a bracelet.

19 Design: as it applies to media
The overall look, feel, and sound of the piece: Color? Camera angles? Use of pausing? Music and/or sound effects? (soundtrack) Special effects? Key question: what design choices did the director make to convey certain ideas? Example: Shindler’s List—the girl in the red dress

20 Design Example: Schindler’s List—the girl in the red dress


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