The basic description of rhetorical situation given in the textbook is “What you wish to communicate and to whom”. The book continues to explain that this extends to 4 categories : genre, purpose, audience, voice, media and design.
Given the fact that I just wrote an essay on genre so I am going to skim over that. When I refer to genre I refer to the memes a writer uses to create narratological (yes, narratology is a word) short-hands for more in-depth concepts. For example : the stetson hat, the revolver and the cigar all come together to form the modern imagining of the cowboy.
When I first read the word “purpose” my brain auto-filled the word and said “That’s just implicit in anything you write”. At this late juncture I think I have a better grasp on what the word means in this context. The purpose of your work is in fact implicit, but it also needs to be considered before you ever put ink to paper. Purpose is the intent of the writer and is present whether the writer considers it or not. By being mindful of one’s purpose one can tailor it to focus the direction of the audience. In many of my previous writings I was not mindful of purpose, and it can be felt in my wandering, chaotic tone.
Once again, I know I’m kind of cheating on this by writing it so late in the semester but now that I’ve done more in this class I think I have a better definition of audience as well. Audience, in relation to rhetorical situation, is not just whomever happens to read what you’re writing. Audience is who you hope to reach. Yes, when I post a blog any person can look at it, but I shouldn’t be writing for any old person. I should be writing for a specific archetype (teenagers, game designers, etc). If Joe Everyman wants to read my work that’s fine but I risk losing focus if I try to account for the fact that he might not know the subject I’m discussing.
Finding one’s voice might be the most crucial part of writing. I would define voice as the fleeting space between context, mood and bias. I’m going to try that again, this time without being a madman.
Voice isnt really the type of thing one can describe. It’s the way one approaches a subject. Voice can be professional, relaxed, solemn, and a million other things. Describing this thing is giving me a headache. Im going to move on.
Media and design are somewhat the same thing from different angles. Media describes the canvas you are working with while design describes how you use your media. You cant really describe medium without describing the patterns you use to put information down. On the same note, you cant really describe design without first examining the your intended canvas. For example, I am writing a compendium of short stories. Well, just by saying that i have described the medium in question (storytelling) and the way I arange the information (the ordered list of works). In fact, all of the previous terms are ways of describing the medium and design of a work.