Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Seeing Rhetorically:
The Writer as Observer
About Seeing Rhetorically
One goal of this writing assignment is to
raise the issue of angle of vision versus
objectivity in writing.
 To see something rhetorically is to interpret
it, that is, to see it as meaningful.
Writing Project: Part A
Find a place on or near campus where you can sit
and observe in preparation for writing a focused
description of the scene that will enable your
readers to see what you see. Here is the catch.
You are to write two descriptions of the scene.
Your first description must convey a favorable
impression of the scene, making it appear pleasing
or attractive. The second description must convey
a negative, or unfavorable, impression, making the
scene appear unpleasant and unattractive.
Writing Project: Part B
Attach to your two descriptions an analysis that
explains how your two equally factual descriptions
create two contrasting impressions of the same
subject. What did you do differently to create the
contrasting effects in the two descriptions? In the
conclusion of your analysis address the question,
“So what?” by exploring what you have learned
about reading and writing from composing your
two descriptions.
Angle of Vision
In any writing, writers necessarily--whether
consciously or unconsciously--include some
details and exclude others. Their choices
are driven by their sense of audience and
purpose, but most important, by their
“situatedness” in the world, which creates a
predisposition toward a particular
perspective or angle of vision.
Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis
Feature 1: Writer’s Overt Statement of
 Feature 2: Selection or Omission of Details
 Feature 3: Choice of Words
 Feature 4: Use of Figurative Language
 Feature 5: Sentence Structure
Becoming a Strong Reader
Learning to ask what is not in the text, why
the text is constructed this way and not that
way, or why the writer took this particular
point of view and not another enables you
to identify the forces that shape what a
writer sees and opens up the possibility for
you to challenge and speak back to the text.
Perception and Interpretation
People note and remember whatever is
consistent with their worldview much more
readily than they note and remember
whatever is inconsistent with that view.
What you believe is what you see.
Mark Twain
“Two Ways of Seeing a River”
Henry Morton Stanley’s Account
 Mojimba’s Account

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