Rhetoric is the artistic way in which speech and writing has the capability to persuade or inform.
Definition and History Edit
"In its long and vigorous history rhetoric has enjoyed many definitions, accommodated differing purposes, and varied widely in what it included. And yet, for most of its history it has maintained its fundamental character as a discipline for training students 1) to perceive how language is at work orally and in writing, and 2) to become proficient in applying the resources of language in their own speaking and writing." (1). In Writing Across Media, we learn of early forms of rhetoric as well as how it is used today. Rhetoric can be analyzed to interpret content by separating what is being said and how it is being said. Before the creation of modern media platforms, rhetoric was mainly apparent in art, speech, and writing. Now, however, rhetoric is found in various forms. In Writing Across Media, we see the different ways in which audio, visual, and in video can be rhetorical. In "Rhetoric of the Image", author Roland Barthes discusses rhetoric and how it is used in advertisements and images. For example, there is a linguistic message that appears through the use of text, there is an image that carries a message, and a symbolic or cultural message that is denoted from the image. This is only one example of rhetoric; there are many other methods people use to persuade, inform, and communicate with audiences. In "Sound Engineering", for example, author Jody Shipka explains how the affordances of sound can be used as an effective form of rhetoric in different situations. In "The Reservations of the Editor" by Laurier and Brown, we see a discussion of how the technique of film editing can illustrate concepts differently. Film can be used to illustrate stories and speak about issues. Depending on cinematic and editing techniques, messages can be clearly portrayed and hence interpreted by audiences. The modern world gives us the ability to find rhetoric within a wide variety of speech and writing, whether it be in aural, visual, or film compositions.
Below are three examples of rhetoric in different forms. The first is an anti-war song, the second is an anti-war movie, and the third is an anti-war image/text. Each example uses a different method, but each displays the same message. This shows how rhetoric can be used effectively in different media.