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Rhetorical Situation


One of the fundamental truths about writing is that it does not occur in a vacuum. Writing is always a response to some sort of situation that calls for a written response. Sometimes the connection between the writing and the situation is obvious: business and personal communications fall into this category. Sometimes the connection is less obvious: personal essays and academic work are harder to see as responses to a situation. But in all cases, writers produce their work in response to a need, and with an audience in mind.For students in university, understanding rhetorical situations can help demystify the writing process (and help increase their reading abilities, too). Good writing, academic writing, and professional writing do not happen magically. Instead, they happen because a writer has understood the requirements of their task. These requirements are not secret. Sometimes they are spelled out for you – often assignment sheets do some of this work for students. But even when they are not spelled out for you, you can begin to understand the requirements of a situation by looking at other work created under the same circumstances.When we learn to see these similarities, we become better writers, and also better readers.For this journal entry, reflect on how rhetorical situations have shaped your writing experiences. For instance, How differently have you written in different contexts, both in and out of school? How do you know what is expected of you when you begin to write something? Write a journal entry that addresses rhetorical situations and how you understand their role in your writing.
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