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Writing Resistance – Fall 2020

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Discussion Forum: “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World” (DUE 9/4)

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  • In Phyllis Mentzell Ryder’s “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool”, Ryder gives us examples where rhetorical analysis can be beneficial to one’s comprehension of the world. First, how to respond to a puzzling encounter, and second, how to correctly approach an encounter. Rhetorical analysis allows us to understand people’s behavior and better utilize our words to convey our ideas in a way that can be heard. We are encouraged to confront what puzzles us, instead of shy away from it. 

    Should the public be distrustful of political organizations since we know they have agendas? Because we know political organizations try to persuade our opinions, should we dismiss politics in the name of thinking for oneself? Well, aside from political organizations, people in general try to persuade people all of the time for their own agendas. Does that mean it is not necessarily bad?


    In the article “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool”, the author, Phyllis M. Ryder, explains how rhetorical analysis has shaped the world’s preview of social issues, and how it has helped people we aware of social issues. Ryder points out how the language is a powerful tool to construct the future of the social issue by saying “rhetorical analysis is a valuable tool for understanding and preparing to engage in the world”. I also find it very interesting this idea of finding something or having read/watched/witnessed something, so to better understand that, we have the rhetorical analysis that helps us determine further aspects/ideas/points. However, I came across this point when she relates assumptions to a rhetoric analysis. She claims that assumptions and its structures guide us with the language we use: the words we say and how were communicate the issue. On the other hand, I was confused by the idea of puzzling encounters.  


    Hi Faith, I strongly agree with your summary and the part where you said you felt more knowledgable about rhetoric analysis because I felt the same way. I liked how Ryder used pictures and examples to try to explain her arguments better to the audience and I think that is a part of how to write and construct the rhetorical analysis. To conclude, she explained every detail of rhetorical analysis in a spectacular manner.

    In “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool”, Phyllis Mentzell Ryder goes in-depth on rhetorical analysis by discussing its everyday uses and importance. She introduces us to a real-life situation where she was walking along the beach with her boyfriend and offered to help a young man with a task he was having trouble with. But as soon as she asked him, he gave her an abruptly angry look. After this experience she noted that her own view of the world was just one dimension in a world filled with billions of dimensions. After discussing her personal experiences and viewpoint, she introduces us to two categories of rhetorical analysis: puzzling encounters and tricky situations. These categories elevate rhetorical analysis’ status as not just something we study and use in school, but something that can also be applied in real life. Puzzling encounters encapsulate a situation that catches you by surprise in which you subsequently necessitate a better understanding of what occurred. Tricky situations encapsulate the urge to engage on a controversial or multifaceted topic. An idea from the article that interests me is how while rhetoric is viewed as partial and manipulative by the general public, scholars of rhetoric view it as neutral. Rhetoric scholars see language as something that is inherently neutral but falls into the assumptions of the world around it. This was something that I had to wrap my brain around. As someone who enjoys pro-wrestling, I experience the use of ‘rhetoric’ on a daily basis. For example, when watching a wrestling show/episode, I always encounter a wrestler talking about their opponent in a negative way using strong and aggressive language. This is in an attempt to discredit them and garner support. While some may see that as ‘rhetoric’, it is merely just language and not everyone will buy into it. Various assumptions about the language being used will either support or detract from the words the wrestler is using. After having read this article, I look forward to further studying rhetorical analysis and the use of rhetoric in everyday life.

    I also try to put myself in the author’s shoes when reading an article! It helps me to understand their point of view better and allows me to further connect with the words in their writing. For someone like myself who is interested in global affairs, it allows me to feel like I am on the front lines of these events.

    I also use “Puzzling Encounters” too. I love to dissect each detail of any confusing experience that I have. I feel like detective trying to understand why a person said or did something.

    I totally relate to you on overthinking. I do think it certainly relates to rhetorical analysis, as it takes a good amount of intuition and analytical skills to consider all the possibilities of an impending situation.

    I agree with your statement that the importance of language is how the author is representing a piece of writing rather than what he/she is trying to say. I think it is important to remember this while writing the rhetorical analysis.

    Andrew I really liked how you applied the article to something that you enjoy and were able to break it down and make a new concept relatable and engaging. Oooh yea, dig it!

    “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool,” by Phyllis Mentzel Ryder explains the importance of using Rhetorical Analysis in our day to day lives. She explains how she uses rhetorical analysis to “sort out questions about politics and relationships.” In her article, she explains how rhetorical analysis is a valuable tool to help people understand and engage in day to day situations. The writer uses her real-life experiences to explain how integrating rhetorical analysis was useful in her personal life. By using rhetorical analysis in her life she gains a deeper understanding of the different perspectives that people may have in different situations, this allows her to understand the different points of view other people may have in that specific situation.

    She explains how words and actions can create unnecessary assumptions which can lead to unnecessary conflicts between people, and by using rhetorical analysis you can understand the values, assumptions, and expectations other people may have in that specific circumstance.

    What Interested me specifically was when she stated: “… even if they don’t call it by the same name. Rhetorical analysis is a tool for digging into language-infused moments to uncover the networks of values, assumptions, and expectations that shape how people experience such moments.” This quote specifically interested me because In high school I was taught to “Critically think” which is extremely similar to rhetorical analysis. In critical thinking, it teaches us that before a person takes action to understand the purpose of that action, the question at issue, the information at hand, interpretations, and inferences people can get from said action, concepts that are introduced, assumptions that may be made, implications and consequences that can happen, and the point of view of others.

    “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool” by Phyllis Mentzell Ryder explains to us how her personal experience led to her having an understanding of rhetorical analysis. She believes that rhetorical analysis plays a crucial role in our daily lives and its a skill that we must develop. She provides us many examples of how rhetorical analysis can help people. For example, she mentions the first type of rhetorical analysis begins from a puzzling encounter with language. Ryder believes that we are surprised by something we have experienced. Therefore, this makes us curious about wanting to have a better understanding of what we just experienced. Rhetorical analysis allows us to successfully engage someone about a specific topic. She mentions that we have to carefully observe our situation before we make a mistake. Ryder gives an example of a photo of a woman standing in front of 2 police officers. She states that “Cole’s analysis enables me to peek under the surface of that photo and see the visual, historical, and cultural allusions that the image invokes.” This initiated in Ryder having to respond and be compelled to be persuaded which is the significance of rhetorical analysis and what it can do to change a person’s behavior. Another category she provides is “when we anticipate an encounter and want to set ourselves up for a positive experience.” Rhetorical analysis can be pretty overwhelming since we have to figure out how to speak to persuade the audience. In conclusion, rhetorical analysis can provide you with an arsenal of engaging and communicating with anyone on a higher level.

    “Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool” written by Phyllis Mentzell Ryder is a very interesting article that brings up the importance of words and rhetorical thinking. The whole concept of Rhetorical Anaylsis is described by the author using her own experiences as well as social events or medias in which it can be used. The author based her understanding of Rhetorical Anaylsis around an encounter she had many years ago in which she offered a man help which he growled at. She decided that it would be helpful to understand and or analyze why people say what they say and how words and word choice could be interperted by other people. This is something that I believe I do subconsciously and honestly the idea of going even deeper is almost exciting. Breaking down human consciousness to understand why things go viral or why certain things have an effect on people that way they do sounds like something almost thrilling. However too much of something isn’t good so I feel Rhetorical Analysis is something that should be done however only to an extent at which the analysis doesnt pass into the stretched ideas that come from one’s own interpertation. I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to put our opinion in our responses because I’ve been having issues with Cuny Commons, but I felt like I should share my opinion and see what you guys think.


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