Rhetoric as Communication
As a communication major focusing on public relations I can agree with theorists that claim rhetoric to be persuasive. Actually, I see most language as persuasive. As humans we are focused on life’s outcomes hoping that those outcomes are positive. According to Bitzer rhetoric is a modifier of situations that get in the way of our positive outcomes. I think rhetoric is a person’s manipulation of their language or writing in order to persuade another person or event to turn out the way they want it to and to avoid dissonance.
When babysitting my 3-year-old niece instead of asking her if she likes the dinner I made her and then potentially getting a negative response and having to make her an entirely new meal I say, “this chicken is really yummy, right?” In most cases she agrees. In my opinion this is a use of rhetoric by using my language to persuade her into thinking something she may not have thought before. To me that is what rhetoric is, taking something and turning it into different things by changing the ways you explain it or analyze it. People don’t always see things the same way as you do, we take different steps to coming to a conclusion and rhetoric uses language and writing to persuade a person to come to the same conclusion as you.
Learning about rhetoric has helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses within my writing and how I can further improve it and gain confidence in it. By looking so closely at composition and rhetoric I have been able to see why I never had that confidence before and am less likely to compare my own work and writing ability with my peers.