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BASIC RHETORICAL TRIANGLE

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KRISTI MCGAULEY

on 17 April 2013

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Transcript of BASIC RHETORICAL TRIANGLE

Speaker NEVER a name
Always a description inferred from the text Audience Intended
Unintended Subject Rhetoric: The art of using language to persuade Everything is an argument; every rhetorical situation uses this structure. Rhetorical Triangle Developed by Aristotle Use the text to determine things like...
gender
age range
education level
economic status
values
political persuasion
personality traits Never "people who read" or "people who like this subject" Ask yourself...
Whom does the speaker want to reach with the message?
Whom may the speaker reach without trying? What is the general topic? Be careful!
Many times the speaker will use a metaphor to relate the message.
Look between the lines. "Shooting an Elephant" George Orwell Speaker:
European man in a foreign country - " anti-European feeling was very bitter"
Authority position - "police officer"
Self-conscious - "I was hated by large numbers of people" and "When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves."
Values fairness and justice - "I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically — and secretly, of course — I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British." Subject:
The elephant is a symbol of British imperialism - "In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters" and "The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it [the elephant]."
Shooting the elephant represents the speaker giving in to peer pressure to fit in with the native people - "something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism — the real motives for which despotic governments act"
The reader can conclude the subject is societal pressure even for those in authority - "sea of yellow faces;" "immense crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute;" "They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching....I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd — seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys;" and "I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it s solely to avoid looking a fool." Intended Audience:
People who are ignorant of their government's tyranny - "a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes"
People in positions of authority who feel pressure to follow the popular opinion - "I had no intention of shooting the elephant — I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary — and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you." and "As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him."
Unintended Audience:
The high-ranking officials of imperialistic governments - "I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it."
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