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Alex Kollar
ENGW 214
Dr. Beitler
12 December 2014
My Introduction to Rhetoric

When I began my first semester in college, I was excited about what I would learn

and experience. When I began classes, I noticed that many people were mentioning the

term, rhetoric. My communication professor, and a few other members of the class,

kept referring to rhetoric, but I had no idea what it meant; I had never heard of that term

before. I was surprised to find that I had an entire class devoted to rhetoric. This writing

class taught me a lot about rhetoric and how prominent it is in many different fields.

During A-quad we focused on delivering different kinds of speeches in my

communication class. One of the speeches was a persuasive speech in which we had to

use rhetorical appeals to present our arguments to the class. For my speech I argued that

people who are caught driving drunk should have an ignition interlock installed in their

cars. I implemented pathos by telling the story of a group of young girls who were in a

terrible accident caused by a drunk driver. When I showed the photos of a young girl who

survived, her face and body mangled and burned, I could see the atmosphere of the class

change. There were sighs of disbelief and horror; I saw the power of an emotional appeal

first hand.

I also did extensive research on ignition interlock devices and drunk driving statistics

to implement logos into my argument. However, I didnt feel like I had any ethos worked

into my argument. The only experience I had with the subject was the research I did for

my presentation. After taking my rhetorical writing class I discovered that credibility is

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key to forming a sound argument. Looking back, I have decided that in the future I would

like to pick topics that I am more familiar with so I can establish credible than simply

relying on doing research.

Communication wasnt the only class that I saw rhetoric being implemented. In my

art survey class, we explored the role art has played in the history of humanity. As part of

the class we were assigned an image interaction journal to have completed by the end of

the semester. In this journal we were to pick a piece of artwork and study it, meditate on

it, and replicate it. After studying visual rhetoric in our writing class, if I had the chance

to redo the project, I would focus more on understanding what the image communicated.

I spent most of the time talking about what I thought and felt about the image, leaving

little room for what the image had to say.

To speak more about visual rhetoric, I had a blast during the visual rhetoric project in

our writing class. I love telling stories through artwork, so seeing how rhetoric can be

expressed through art was fascinating and exciting. I would definitely do a project like

that again, but I want to understand how to utilize visual rhetoric. Is it storytelling?

Persuasion? How do I use it? I feel like Ive only touched the tip of the iceberg; there is

so much that can be done with combining art and rhetoric.

This writing class has been an amazing experience and has taught me a lot. I realize

that rhetoric is more than ethos, pathos, and logos. Everything that we do, what we wear,

how we act, is a form of rhetoric. I want to know more about it, to take control of it and

utilize it in my work. I have realized that this class is the first step on my journey to

understand rhetoric.

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