Summary of the Article
In the article, “What Do Students Need to Know About Rhetoric,” Hepzibah Roskelly wrote about rhetoric as a means of persuasion that can be presented visually and/or aurally through movies, art, body language, conversations, and advertisements. Roskelly mentioned Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle, which consists of three equal elements: speaker/writer, subject, and audience. Before formulating a speech or writing, the rhetor, as Aristotle called them, must consider the subject and audience to produce an appropriate content. Roskelly described the subject of the writing as a means to evaluate the writer’s credibility and knowledge of a particular topic and should present information with evidence for the audience to make use of. The audience refers to the reader’s expectations and knowledge on the subject the writer wrote about (Roskelly 8).
There are three rhetorical appeals, or types of persuasive techniques, that a writer can use to successfully convey their message to the audience: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos demonstrates the writer’s credibility and knowledge about the subject and connects it to the reader’s beliefs. Logos demonstrates the writer’s logic and use of evidence. Pathos builds an emotional connection between the writer and reader, and works to provoke a sympathetic reaction in the reader (Roskelly 9-10). Roskelly claimed that all three elements of the rhetorical triangle and at least one rhetorical appeal can be detected and defined within all speeches and writings.
Roskelly, Hepzibah. “What Do Students Need to Know About Rhetoric?” Special Focus in English Language and Composition: Rhetoric, pp. 7-13. https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/apc/ap06_englang_roskelly_50098.pdf