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Rhetorical Strategies: The backbone of persuasion

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Presentation on theme: "Rhetorical Strategies: The backbone of persuasion"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rhetorical Strategies: The backbone of persuasion

2 How would you define the words rhetoric or rhetorical?

3 Classic Definitions of Rhetoric
Aristotle: Rhetoric is "the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion.” Cicero: Rhetoric is "speech designed to persuade." 11IB teachers: “Rhetoric describes any speaking or writing that may be persuasive in nature and may contain specific language devices used to argue one’s points more effectively.”

4 Questions to consider when reading any text – what is being expressed and how?
CONTENT – WHAT What is the purpose of the text? What questions/topics does the text address? Who is the intended audience? What are the author’s basic values, beliefs, and assumptions? METHOD – HOW How does the author support his/her thesis with reason and evidence? (What views and counterarguments or counterevidence are included? Which are omitted?)  logic How does the author make himself seem credible to the intended audience?  ethics How does the author make the argument emotionally compelling?  emotions ______________________________________________ *Once these questions are answered, you have formed the basis for a closer analysis of rhetoric/persuasion.

5 Rhetorical Appeals/Modes of Persuasion
Aristotle outlined 3 overall ways to persuade: Logos: appeals to logic/reason – the “power of proving a truth, or an apparent truth”. Ethos: appeals to ethics/values, or the ethical credibility of the speaker – “the speaker's power of creating a personal character which will make his speech credible”. Pathos: appeals to emotion – the “power of stirring the emotions” of the audience. *GOOD WRITING CONTRIBUTES TO ETHOS Source for quotations: Honeycutt, Lee. “Aristotle’s Rhetoric: Index to Book One.” Rhetoric and Composition. 9/27/11. Web. Accessed 9/8/12.

6 Rhetorical Strategies/Devices
Rhetorical strategies used include: Charged words (diction) Restatement Repetition Rhetorical questions and hypophora Aphorisms Allusions Analogy Parallel structure and antithesis *We will now explore all these using examples from articles we have read thus far.

7 Strategy/Device: Charged Words
Charged words (diction) are those producing an emotional response: “even arbitrary damaging labels have the power to turn the brightest people into meek shadows of their potential selves” (Alter para 11). “It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts” (Orwell 1, para 2). “If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy” (Orwell 5, last para).

8 Strategy/Device: Repetition
Repetition is the direct repetition of words or phrases, often added for emphasis, to establish tone, and convey perspective: In “Politics and the English Language”, Orwell repeats the following words: bad, decay, meaningless, political, stupidity, etc.

9 Strategy/Device: Restatement
Restatement is repeating an idea in a variety of ways. Consider the number of ways Orwell stated that people misuse the English language: “Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse” (Orwell 1, para 1). “When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning” (Orwell 5, para 2). “A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better” (Orwell 4, para 5).

10 Strategy/Device: Rhetorical Questions/Hypophora
Rhetorical questions are those whose answers are self-evident: “Many [metaphors] are used without knowledge of their meaning: what is a ‘rift’ for instance?” (Orwell 2, para 2) Hypophora is when a question is asked and immediately answered: “Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognise that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end” (Orwell 5, last para).

11 Strategies/Devices: Aphorism & Allusion
Aphorisms are pithy statements expressing a wise observation. Basic example: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” From “Politics and the English Language”: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought” (Orwell 4, para 5). Allusions are references to other well-known works, people, etc. “During the height of the civil-rights struggle, one teacher showed just how willingly children adopt new labels. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, and the next day thousands of American children went to school with a combination of misinformation and confusion. In Riceville, Iowa, Stephen Armstrong asked his teacher, Jane Elliott, why "they shot that king." Elliott explained that the "king" was a man named King who was fighting against the discrimination of "Negroes." The class of white students was confused, so Elliott offered to show them what it might be like to experience discrimination themselves” (Alter para 9). “Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’” (Orwell 4, para 2).

12 Strategy/Device: Analogy
In rhetoric, analogies are reasoning or explaining from parallel cases. They are also known as extended metaphors. “…any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes” (Orwell 1, para 1).

13 Strategy/Device: Parallelism/Parallel Structure
Parallelism or parallel structure is the use of words, phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar in structure: “The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not (Orwell 1, para 9). “To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from (Orwell 5, para 2).

14 Strategy/Device: Antithesis
Antithesis is the juxtaposition (purposeful placement) of opposing ideas in balanced (parallel) phrases or clauses; in other words it is a mixture of loose parallelism and opposing charged words. “But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails” (Orwell 5, para 2). NOW YOU TRY: “Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind” (Orwell 5, last para).

15 Lastly… Tone and other types of figurative language (metaphor, hyperbole, understatement, etc.) can also contribute to the rhetoric of a text. Make sure to take notice of those aspects as well. Anything that is a literary device could be used as a rhetorical device as well depending on the audience and purpose of the text.

16 Review Now…we will link the specific rhetorical strategies (charged words, allusions, etc.) to the three rhetorical appeals/modes of persuasion (logos, ethos, and pathos). Which rhetorical strategies are likely to be used in a logical manner and will therefore contribute to logos? Which are likely to be used to tap into ethics or credibility and therefore contribute to ethos? Which are likely to be used to tap into emotions and therefore contribute to pathos? *Some strategies may be used for more than one mode of persuasion.

17 Logos strategies Ethos strategies Pathos strategies

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