Jamirka De León – Response to “The Rhetorical Situation” by Lloyd F. Bitzer

          Before I began reading “The Rhetorical Situation” by Lloyd F. Bitzer I thought a rhetorical situation was a situation that has not occurred in reality but that society was talking about it or giving a response based on something that only existed within their imagination.  However, after reading the passage I learned that a rhetorical situation is a discourse that inspires change when Bitzer states, “ . . . it functions to produce action or change in the world; it performs some task.” In a rhetorical situation the discourse inspires change surrounding the topic of discussion.  For example, a discourse on basic human rights would cause the public to persuade lobbyist to speak on the enforcement and further respect of people’s rights. He goes on to explain that “ . . . it is the situation which calls the discourse into existence” (Bitzer 2). In other words, a situation is what inspires discourse that will then inspire change and action.  A discourse can not inspire a situation and then inspire change, the situation already needs to be in place for a discourse to be written. Furthermore, I found it interesting when he mentioned that a rhetoric is pragmatic and always persuasive. On page three Bitzer mentions that, “ . . . a work of rhetoric is pragmatic; it comes into existence for the sake of something beyond itself . . .”  A rhetorical situation comes into existence as a way to deal with things sensibly. It is created not only for the sake of writing great discourse but in order to have some kind of impact.  He also mentioned that a rhetoric is always persuasive. I was confused at first as to why a rhetoric would be persuasive but as I continued to read it became more clear. The exigence inspires the utterance based on a issue or problem which will in a sense be used as a means to persuade the public to take action and to speak out in relation to the context of that exigence.  In a rhetorical situation the written piece will lead to a response in which the public will speak out and take action therefore making it persuasive. In whole I found the article repetitive but oddly enough the repetition of the concepts of the essay was what finally made me comprehend a rhetorical situation and how a rhetoric comes into existence.

Comments ( 3 )

  1. Michelle Ortiz
    I also was confused when I first saw the title. I did not have a clue on what it meant for a situation to be rhetoric. At first the passage was very unclear and confusing and then it became clearer. You explained a rhetoric situation very well! A rhetoric situation inspires change and utterance. It has the ability to cause a positive modification in today's world. Additionally, I was also confused when the author said a rhetorical situation was persuasive until Bitzer explained how the individuals/groups must persuade the his/her audience to motivate a positive change in the rhetoric situation. Overall, great, well written response to the text.
  2. Kayla Cason
    I also found the article repetitive. I feel like the Bitzer could have established his points in a more concise manner that would have impacted his audience in the same way. However, the way he composed is work was effective in conveying his message. Also, your analyzation of your misconception was well executed and it was good that you cleared up your confusion. Good job!
  3. Anahis Garcia
    I completely agree! I found the article very repetitive, but as you said it helped me comprehend what a rhetorical situation truly is. The examples he uses though repetitive do a good job at getting his point across and really painting a picture of what a rhetorical situation is. Good job on the comparison between what you believed it once was and your understanding after reading.

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