The Art of Rhetoric – An Introduction

Always remember all media texts are CONSTRUCTED. They are selective rather than totalising in nature. What is included and what is omitted can reveal a great deal about the motivations behind a text’s creation.

Rhetoric-2014-1060x650

Manipulation of Meaning: Fixing Meaning: ‘Anchorage’

Example: A photo of Miley Cyrus crying. The meaning is given through a caption that could say ‘I need help’ which implies that Miley is distressed. However, the crying could have been caused by a number of things; the real meaning could be very different. In semiotics (the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation) meanings may not be fixed – after all language changes too.

Textual Analysis

  • Analysis is not (just) description.
  • Analysis is the consideration of meanings and effects.
  • Analysis moves beyond simple description and into examination, interpretation and explanation.

Analysis: Meanings and Effects

  • What possible meanings is this media text communicating and how?
  • What possible effects is this media text generating for it’s readers and how?

By using formalised analytical tools, we can increase the credibility of our observations:

  • Rhetorical analysis (effects)
  • Semiotic analysis (meanings)
These notes are from my Semester One seminars and lectures.
I do not own the above image, it is from: http://blogs.longwood.edu/rhetorikatie/
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