Blog 7 – Unit 1 Reflection

After completing Unit 1 in my CO300 Writing Arguments class I feel a lot more informed about the topic of rhetoric, itself. I always heard the term thrown around, and thought I had a decent grasp of what rhetoric actually means, or what it is, but until the past few weeks, I apparently did not actually really understand the term or its implications. The analyses of Toulmin and Bitzer, in particular, helped me grasp the concept of rhetoric and its effectiveness in written pieces, especially.

Of the different analysis types or ways to decide if a piece is effective rhetoric – it could be that he was the first assigned material in class from when I was excited to be back in school – I enjoyed the Bitzer analysis the most. His writing was slightly complicated but if you took the time to read it consciously he seemed to have a lot of interesting ideas. I liked that he had straight-forward rules to follow when analyzing written material to decide whether or not the piece is rhetoric and if so, whether or not it is an effective piece of rhetoric. For my analytical mind, these rules were perfect to help me in identifying and analyzing different rhetorical components. He was also very clear and concise in exactly what the pieces of a rhetorical argument are, which made it very easy to dissect an article and find each individual component.

I also really enjoyed the Rogerian article, though for different reasons than the Bitzer article. I enjoyed the Rogerian methodology of discussing an article’s rhetorical effectiveness because it makes the most sense to me to get someone on an opposing side to at least understand your viewpoint, if not start to switch sides themselves. I found his method to be most effective when looking at or discussing a philosophical piece of writing, or to use his method when writing this type of article, paper, or essay. I also find this method to be slightly sneaky or manipulative of the audience due to the fact that the goal is to show that you understand the opposing side and by showing so, it helps to get those opposing to switch sides.

Knowing more about how rhetoric is “supposed” to work, according to multiple different “analysts” has helped me in my subject matter: fracking. The problem I now see is that while I feel more informed about how to analyze an article or piece of writing or rhetoric and as such can decide whether or not a piece is effective to a target audience, I feel that the general American population is not aware of how to analyze an article properly. I feel that this is a frustrating point – not only is a good portion of our culture uneducated to a higher-education level, but they also cannot necessarily determine the credibility nor effectiveness of an article. I feel that politicians take this into account and tend to use the Rogerian method of rhetorical writing to manipulate this uneducated population into believing whatever it is that they wish you to believe. I suppose it is just people who argue a point when they are uninformed or uneducated about the subject who frustrate me most, and this Rogerian form seems to really enhance misinformation when you want it to.

I guess that’s really all I’ve got to reflect on for now – I feel better about reading articles and journals, especially, now that I have knowledge of rhetorical effectiveness, and just having a mindset to really take apart and analyze a piece of writing or other multimodal forms.

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