Rhetorical Stance - Author/Speaker


According to Wayne C. Booth, an author who has adopted an appropriate rhetorical stance can not only change our minds, but also “engages us in the process of thinking—and feeling— through." To find the appropriate stance, authors/speakers must be acutely aware of their own persona, strengths, weaknesses, and communication style, as well as their audience’s character and needs. Authors accomplish this awareness both consciously and unconsciously.

Humans develop an unconscious understanding of rhetorical stance as they develop their communication skills and style throughout their lives by learning how and to whom to express themselves to get what they want or need. This process becomes a purposeful undertaking when authors and speakers analyze a rhetorical situation for a deeper understanding of their own ethos, their topic, and the subtleties of their audience’s needs. To control their style and tone, authors must be aware of their persona—the encapsulation of their relevant demographics, their knowledge of and experiences with the topic, and their own peculiarities of thought and style. To establish a credible ethos, authors must consciously build their rhetorical presentation on this self-awareness. Evidenced in a study done by psychology and linguistic scholars Hatch, Hill, and Hayes, the importance of the reader’s perception of the author is essential to “the way readers respond to a text".

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