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Rhetoric and Pentad

Rawd Alach


Response Paper: Rhetoric and Pentad

“Summarize the three rhetorical theories (Aristotelian, Austin’s Speech-Act, and Burke’s Dramatic Pentad), along with their uses and elements, in no more than 150 words, altogether.”

Aristotelian rhetoric states that there are three appeals: pathos, ethos, and logos. Pathos is emotional appeal. Ethos is ethical appeal which establishes the author’s credibility. Within ethos is: phronesis or “practical wisdom”, arête or “virtue”, and eunoia or “goodwill”. Logos is the logical appeal.

Austin’s speech-act theory states that every time one speaks they are trying to do something with their speech. There are explicit and implicit performatives. Explicit means what one is saying is exactly what one is doing. Implicit implies two acts. There is the illocutionary act which is literal and textual in meaning. Then the perlocutionary act which is non-literal, implied, and unspoken.

Burke’s pentad breaks up motive into five sections: act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose. They are as follows. Act: what happened, scene: context in which it happened, agent: who committed the act, agency: means by which the act was committed, and purpose: motivation behind act.

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An Approach to Writing

Response Paper: An Approach to Writing

“How would you describe the overall work of our class, this semester? What have we been working on, in your words? And how, specifically, has that work affected your approach to writing (at least this semester)?”

A field of fresh-fallen snow is whiter than the full moon. It has no footsteps in it, no dirt specks, and no yellowed circles. The field looks smooth and royal in its whiteness. Then, when the children run through it, and the sun touches its every corner, it is transformed. Fresh fields of white snow are the palettes of each writer.

Then letters come along with periods and commas, transforming the landscape of the work.

Writing has always been a process. First one must gather their thoughts and arrange them. Then editing takes over. For most of my papers in previous classes, I have always tried to get all these steps done in one sitting. While I may have produced papers like a printing press, I knew something was wrong with my approach to writing. Therefore, during the course of this semester I actively decided to change that flawed approach.

Whenever I sat down to write a paper, I would be pressured by what the professor wanted or what he/she expected and accepted. These menacing thoughts disturbed my writing. Everything became bland and gray. So I decided to let all those thoughts go and I let my inner voice flow. Response papers were a great practice for my new approach.

The overall work of this semester has been well diversified. The response papers allowed for personal thought and reflection. They were a good way for me to develop my writing style. I enjoyed thinking about what I would come up with for each topic. The challenge was not to bore myself with what I wrote. That challenge is what kept me thinking.

As for the other works of this semester, they were divided between personal writing and research writing. I have never enjoyed writing a research paper.

I find that I do not even like explaining things to people verbally, much less on paper.

But that is a shortcoming I am willing myself to overcome. I am capable of looking the big picture of a topic then criticizing it down to its details. Presenting all those thoughts on paper in a coherent flow of sentences is where the intimidation begins.

However, I must check my intimidation at the door.

The only way I will write a decent research paper is to try to write a semi-decent research paper, and then edit it. I learned editing can often be a writer’s best friend.

Also, the practice of asking “how?” and “why?” about my sentences helped me greatly in increasing the subject matter of my papers without me feeling as if I am rambling without purpose.

Sometimes I wish to leave the smooth snow as it is and hold all my words inside. But that is no good for a writing class. Then again, sometimes I feel like transforming my white landscape into a colorful field of dahlias, and now I know clearer than ever that my field of dahlias may become specked with sunflowers and dotted with cala lilies, due to editing.

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