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What is meant by ‘rhetoric’ and ‘rhetorical criticism’, and why are they relevant to the understanding of public communication? To illustrate your answer, use only the 3 Speech Documents that is provided and you must use the text book (Charles U.Larson) Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility 13th Edition to answer the essay as well and only that text book. Identify the prominent rhetorical features of those texts, and comment on the significance of those features from the perspective of the rhetorical critic.

Speech Documents
1) Gillard, Julia. Motion of condolence: Natural disasters, 8 February 2011: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2011-02-08%2F0022%22

2) Gillard, Julia. Speech to the Bali bombings tenth anniversary memorial service, 12 October 2012: https://resources.news.com.au/files/2012/10/12/1226494/302350-aus-na-file-pm-bali-memorial-service.pdf

3) Bishop of London’s address at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, 17 April 2013: https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/17/bishop-address-thatcher-funeral-text

4) Text book: (Charles U.Larson) Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility 13th Edition.

Only reference the 3 speeches articles and the text book by Larson.
You must have at least 1 quote from each article and a quote from the text book and reference it as to which article you got it from please.
And then at the end a reference page with only those 4 that you have used to answer the essay question.


According to Larson (16-19), the term rhetoric refers to the intentional use of language to modify perspectives of the intended audience. The Greeks such as Aristotle, called rhetoric persuasion, whereby persuasion is defined as the use of communication to influence the target audience. Rhetoric is also defined as an ornamental speech created by humans using symbols for the purpose of communicating and convincing the target audience. On the other hand, rhetorical criticism is the process through which individuals analyze rhetoric to understand how they help in instructing, informing, and persuading people among others. A rhetoric critic analyzes the symbolic artifacts such as images, texts, phrases and words used in a speech to determine how they persuade people and improve their audience.

Rhetoric and rhetorical criticism are very important concepts in understanding public communication. Public communication is the process of passing information to many people at the same time using different media. Public communication is an art that must be well mastered if effectiveness is to be achieved. Public communicators are therefore advised to use rhetoric to persuade, influence, inform, describe, or convince the target audience. On the other hand, rhetorics help the target audience to feel reassured, to be inspired, to be consoled, and to make informed decisions among others. Rhetorical criticism is also very important for the communicator as it prepares him or her to know the exact words to use in different situations to get the required outcome. Rhetorical criticism also enables the audience to interpret information from the sources and make informed decisions. In public communication, the message is meant for a larger audience, which means that for effective passage of this message, the communicator must be very creative in its passage. Therefore, it is recommended that public communicators should use rhetoric to capture the attention of their audience and hence convince them easily by considering all the elements of rhetoric.

A rhetoric utilizes four elements to be effective which include a source of the rhetoric, the message being passed, a channel through which the message is passed and the receiver of the message as discussed by Larson (24). In his argument, Larson (17), states that for the source to be effective in passing the message, he or she must be credible, use emotional appeal for the audience and his or her ideas must be logical. Rhetoric is very important as its effective use enables the communicator to influence, convince, or persuade the audience in the required direction. On the other hand, rhetorical criticism is relevant in understanding public communication as it is through careful analysis of the message that the audience is able to understand it. Larson (24) argues that through the analysis of the message from the source, the receiver benefits by alerting him or her to the persuasion aimed at them. The receiver also benefits by learning more about the source through the message communicated which can be beneficial if the receiver wants the source to be the target of persuasion. It is therefore clear, that rhetoric is relevant in understanding public communication as it guides the communicators to select persuasive words that reference one’s own beliefs and values as it makes the audience develop a sense of identification with him or her therefore passing the message with ease and understanding. ”We are bombarded by more information than we can possibly process in any given situation and hence must learn to focus on, study, and elaborate on critical pieces of information, and leave the others to less intensive study or unconscious shortcuts” ( Larson 21).

Rhetorical features are prominent in almost all forms of communication, especially public communication. In a view to explain the significance of rhetorical features in different types of texts, speeches of the bishop of London and Julia Gillard are analyzed in this text. In her motion of condolences for natural disasters, Julia (64-65), “And it signifies a strength of character that is etched deeply within our nation’s DNA. We will not succumb to the misguided notion that once the floodwaters recede, once the debris strewn by the cyclone is removed and the camera crews pack up and the focus of the nation turns to something else, that life somehow magically returns to normal for those who have suffered at the hands of natural disasters. It does not.” This feature is very significant as it is meant to pass a very strong condolence message to the Australians who lost their loved ones to natural disasters from a national point of view.

At the same time, the feature is very significant in persuading the people of Australia to continue with the same spirit of helping one another and sacrificing for others during difficult times such as during natural disasters. This was in reference to those normal citizens who helped in rescuing other Australians during the disasters. The feature also aimed at influencing all the citizens of Australia to continue extending help, especially financial and moral help  to those who survived the natural disasters but lost their loved ones or property so that they can be able to rise once again. Moreover, the feature aimed to put emphasis on the importance of commemorating those who suffered in the hands of natural disasters by all the citizens. Finally, the rhetoric feature seeks to reassure the citizens that the country in unison is looking forward to finding lasting solutions to control damages caused by natural disasters in the future.

During the Bali bombings, Julia (2012), “Although our vigilance is greater, we have not surrendered the freedoms that brought us here in the first place.” We were hurt and so were our friends, but we did not falter.” Indeed, we endured and found strength in each other. With that strength, we embrace those who suffered in Bali and lost so much. With that strength, we affirmed the endurance of our ideals, because in the end terror is not beaten by policing or force of arms alone.” We prevail because we have a better way. We prevail because our beliefs endure. Terrorists have killed and maimed thousands around the world, but they will never sunder or displace a single ideal.” This rhetorical feature is very significant in the context that Julia was addressing the terrorist attack that the country had experienced ten years ago. This rhetoric feature aimed at reassuring the nation that the country is still strong even after the bombings ten years ago and the country is moving forward economically and in all other aspects.

It also reminded the nation that terrorist attacks are a global phenomenon, which cannot be handled by the police and the army alone but by every citizen in the country. She was calling for the nation to be vigilant and support the law enforcers in curbing terrorism to avoid another disaster striking them. Moreover, the feature also aimed at consoling the affected families and honoring those who perished in the bombings and advised the citizens to remain strong, focused, and determined in moving the country forward. Finally, the feature aimed at inspiring the people to remain united in all situations as this is the only way the country can retain its great pride and ideals.

Finally, in the bishop of London’s speech at the funeral of Thatcher, rhetorical features such as”, what, in the end, makes our lives seem valuable after the storm and stress has passed and there is a great calm? The questions most frequently asked at such a time concern us all. How loving have I been? How faithful in personal relationships? Have I found joy within myself, or am I still looking for it in externals outside myself? Margaret Thatcher had a sense of this, which she expressed in her address to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: “I leave you with the earnest hope that may we all come nearer to that other country whose ‘ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.” This feature is very significant in the speech as the bishop was trying to persuade people to be faithful to themselves, and to the people around them just like Jesus did. The bishop was teaching people to love one another at all times and find joy within themselves as it is the only way to a happy life even when the storm comes. At the same time, the bishop was urging people to take the example of Margaret Thatcher who lived a long happy political and religious life. The bishop through these rhetorics was influencing all people including those in power to be good examples by being all rounded. This was in reference to Thatcher who had a very active religious life and participated in church activities including preaching.

The rhetoric features in the Bishops speech such as the letter from a young boy to Thatcher, aimed at showing people how humble the woman was and it aimed at passing the message of humility to all people when they are alive. The bishop also described Margaret Thatcher using the rhetoric features as a dedicated person who was focused at changing the world with ideal politics and laws that ensured all people lived in harmony. He further persuaded leaders to play good politics and embrace faithfulness, humility, love and kindness just like Jesus instructed to ensure that they lived happily and in harmony with other citizens.

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