Professor Belli | Fall 2022 | City Tech

What is Rhetoric?

In this workshop, we’re going to dive a bit deeper into rhetoric, which at its core is all about how we communicate. Mike Bunn, in “How to Read Like a Writer,” introduces some of this material (including aspects of the rhetorical situation, starting on p. 76), and reminds us that “all writing consists of a series of choices” (72). He also stresses of making “appropriate” and “effective” choices in our writing.

*READ + ANNOTATE the following short texts about rhetoric (don’t forget to click all links and review all resources in each text):

*PARTICIPATE + COMMENT: Add your voice to the mix by commenting below! Comments can take many forms, so there is no one right approach. The goal is simply to engage with the readings about rhetoric and our discussion here about it.

Some suggestions for getting started:

  • reflect on your use of rhetoric in your life
  • reflect on your use of rhetoric in your Education Narrative
  • offer an example of one of the rhetorical appeals (logos, pathos, ethos, kairos)
  • offer an analysis of rhetoric in the news or popular media
  • ask a clarifying question about rhetoric (the rhetorical situation, the rhetorical context, rhetorical appeals, rhetorical strategies, etc.).

In all cases, the goal is to be as specific as possible. If you’re referring to another text, don’t forget to cite by introducing the (example) text you’re referring to and providing a link to it (if possible).


  1. Jasper Cheung

    Reading through the articles, I can definitely see how I shape a narrative depending on the rhetorical situation. As seen in the article, “What is Rhetoric? (A Guide to Technical Communications),” the hypothetical version of me shapes the story told depending on who his audience is.

    Reading that example, I can see how I use this in my daily life. For example, when retelling a story of a weekend out with my friends, there are certain details I would highlight, downplay, or leave out depending on who I am telling the story to. For example, when retelling the story to a friend who did not join us, I would highlight how much fun we had over the weekend by making an appeal to pathos, by showing the excitement of the weekend so that they will more strongly desire to join us the next time we go out.

  2. Lizbeth

    After reading the articles, I thought of how the use of rhetoric can be used in my education narrative. Rhetoric is the way we communicate in our everyday life. The way we commentate can be persuasive, there are many ways we can do this like by text, images, videos and more. Using rhetoric improves our communication skills so people can understand the purpose or our perspective about a the first article I learned that a rhetorical situation includes purpose, audience, topic, writer, context, genre, and other aspects. For my narrative I noticed after reading my first draft again I didn’t include the overall purpose for the narrative, logos. “What am I trying to communicate with my narrative to the audience? What is the purpose of my narrative?” I can add another paragraph at the end to explain the message or purpose for my narrative.

  3. Brent Regis

    In my Education Narrative I believe that I definitely appealed more to logos and pathos. I’m not really an authority in the education system so appealing to ethos would’ve been pointless. I can also see how timing does matter. I mostly appealed to logos because I was trying to get people to think about what they were reading. However the Aristotle quote state that people also make decisions with emotions so it made sense to appeal to those too.

  4. Jiacheng

    Before reading the articles, I never realized that rhetoric had such a meaning. The only defintion of rhetoric I had was repeating something in a writing and I saw it as something bad. The article explains that rhetoric is actually about when you approach communication in different ways, depending on who your audience is,the purpose, the topic and so on.

    When writing a research paper or some sort of statistics, you would appeal to Logos, the appeal to logic and reasoning. When you use logic, evidence. statistics and such to support you, you’re making an appeal to Logos.

  5. Jayleen Perez

    Everyone uses rhetoric in their day-to-day lives. People chose specific rhetoric to convey specific events or ideas to an audience. For example, I would use pathos when speaking to a person about the amount of homework I have to do, it’s stressful and they might also relate to being stressed if they are also a student. In my education narrative, I did use rhetorical strategies. You can see that I used pathos when talking about how I felt in my essay and I used logos when explaining my views on the education system. One rhetorical source of news is the Queen of Britain’s passing, it can appeal to pathos since it’s sad and her whole country is mourning right now.

    • Jill Belli

      Great example Jayleen of all the rhetoric surrounding the Queen’s passing, and the role that pathos has it in!

  6. briansook

    Rhetoric writing is the way the author communicates with the reader when in a persuasive and engaging nature. This use of writing in my eyes requires a lot of understanding so that you can make sense of the intended message. Rhetoric writing allows you to think critically and engages the reader.Its a great way of catching your audience’s attention as regards to things in a certain setting.

  7. Karen Hermita

    When looking at the phrase, “However, all human activities are rhetorical, whether or not we are conscious of it”(What is Rhetoric). I realize that I can completely agree with this. Each person gets persuaded by certain things in a different way than others. Rhetoric is not only in our Education Narrative but in what we type, write or say. Put it like this while talking or writing something for other people. Some people will love it meanwhile others will wish to get over it, and it is how I always think about it have to select a group that I will entertain because it is kind of impossible to make everyone like it. 

  8. Brandonyu

    Having read through the articles, The way rhetor is used how you communicate in everyday life. Using the three rhetoric appeals ethos, logos, pathos in the way you communicate. This reminded me on how my high school teacher was communicating to us. The teacher made us read Julius Caesar and made us analyze how the conspirators were using Brutus. They wanted t use Brutus since he had ethos. Brutus was not the only example their was more in the book using the three appeals

  9. Mozeer_U

    One of the examples of rhetorical in my narrative is that how my teacher persuaded me and showed me how to look at things in a different way so it would change my thinking. One of the ways rhetoric affected my life is when my brother told me to help him with something and persuaded me how it was going to help me and him and he used pathos by giving me money every time I did it that would then show me excitement.

  10. Indira

    Reading the articles, which are very interesting by the way. I see definitely and without realizing that every communication or action in our daily life includes a rhetorical situation. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion which has a connotation to influence. The rhetoric will influence the reader in different aspects such as their beliefs, thoughts etc. The precise way of the examples of how we can choose different strategies to express a rhetorical situation based on the audience and still have an exact representation of the topic including the rhetorical appeals ethos, pathos and logos, guided by kairos surprised me. These information for sure will be very helpful on our education narrative essay and to future ones.

  11. Brianna Santiago

    The use of rhetoric in my life is everyday for example when I told my mom about me being one of the first to go to college I told her very excitedly and nervous. Then I told my best friend and said it in a more happier toon since I know how she would be react . I used rhetoric in your Education Narrative because it gave to verbal choices ( according to “What is Rhetoric A guide to techniques ”)and any audience would understand when reading my Education Narrative .An example of one of the rhetorical would be Pathos because am I rhetorical educational narrative I use the emotion that I thought of my experience so readers can understand my point of you/narrative.

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