Grant-Davie’s Position on Rhetoric

Though somewhat dense in content, Grant-Davie’s piece about rhetorical situations and what defines them does leave much to contemplate. At first it seems slightly ironic that in his analysis of rhetoric, Grant-Davie uses large amounts of rhetoric to arrive at his point. Reading his writing is like sifting through a gold mine of idea; the problem being that there’s so much gold that it all blurs together and feels meaningless.

The points that I drew from this heavy piece were first of all his emphasis on the organization of rhetorical analysis. He states that one must first understand what the discourse is about, then why it is needed, and finally what it should accomplish. I feel that this process of definition, cause and effect, and evaluation of values is key to understanding ones own writing and the writing of others. Especially when it is done in this order can it be particularly useful for analysis. Moreso in one’s own writing would this technique be helpful, because if this three-step process is congruent and makes sense, then you know that your writing is going to work well with the audience.

Something that I would say that I disagree with is the idea that one should write for any competent man and not restrict one’s audience to a certain set of people. I think that this restricts the author in their ability to write his or her own subjective views on a topic, which is what writing is about in my opinion. When I write, I have a specific set of people in mind who would enjoy my writing, and certain people whom I know it would enrage, and this is my goal. Making it accessible to as many people as possible would lessen its power in this way.

Finally, the idea of writing constraints is very appealing to me and my own writing. He cites that in a campaign speech one must be aware of the political context and current issues, and these will limit what a politician may speak about. Particularly the idea that “the challenge for the rhetor is to decide which parts of the context bear on the situation enough to be considered constraints” is intriguing to me. Maybe this is something I should consider more in my own writing instead of just looking back upon what has been written in this light.