Smiley = Rhetoric…Whhhhaaatt?

It is sometimes extremely difficult to wrap your head around the fact that rhetoric is literally EVERYWHERE. So much so, that I just used rhetoric in that sentence, TWICE!

Even though one may not even know what rhetoric is, or not realize that they do indeed know how to use it; rhetoric can be found, placed, and seen just about anywhere. A perfect example of a rhetorical device that is used billions of times a day is the emoticon. These tiny, and creative, tools are strategically placed into hundreds of thousands of text messages, emails, and advertisements daily. For those of you going “what in the world is an emoticon,” here you go:

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Emoticons are a beautiful rhetorical device that are thoughtfully placed in the perfect place and at the perfect time. An appropriately placed and used emoticon can be very affective in clearing up confusing and expressing emotions through cold text. However, just as a greatly used emoticon can be incredibly useful, a poorly used emoticon can create extreme confusion in a situation that would have been easy to understand. For example, if I send my brother a message that reads “my dog died” he will automatically assume that I am upset and need to be comforted. However, if I send him a message that reads, “my dog got hit by a car 94f03e8e72647373f93d5271ee594cfb” it will probably cause some confusion as to why I am laughing hysterically after finding out that my dog has died.

Media, text messaging, and written advertisement seem to somehow lose their emotions when they can not be heard from someone. Reading a cold written text message does not show the true emotion of the writer as much as a phone call where you could hear the sadness in someone’s voice would. For this reason, emoticons are awesome! They embed the ability to see emotion into a written text. They prevent people from getting offended when they shouldn’t, mistaking the mood of the writer, and sometimes they prevent things from being read in the wrong tone.

Emoticons are also proven to a rhetorical device because you have to know when to use them. For example, rhetorically speaking, it probably isn’t the greatest choice to insert an emoticon of any meaning into an email to the State Board of Education. Emoticons seemed to be viewed as unprofessional, and in the professional world the only tone that should be used is a professional one therefore emoticons should not be placed inside of written documents to express tone and emotion. However, in a text message to your significant other they are extremely important.

Finally, emoticons can be seen as rhetorical devices because they are targeted to a certain audience. You use certain emoticons for certain readers. For example, if you are trying to get a message across quickly without having to type out any lengthy words, inserting an emoticon and sending it out off quickly to your mother would be perfect. Emoticons are incredibly useful rhetorical tools that are used daily by people of all ages, that probably have absolutely no clue they are exposing themselves to rhetoric.


Idioms! Idioms Everywhere!! 3/10/16

Jay Heinrichs defines an idiom in his book Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion. Heinrichs defines an idiom as, “Inseparable words with a single meaning. Often mistaken for figures in general, the idiom is merely a kind of figure.” [Heinrichs, 299] Idioms combine words that have a meaning of their own. [Heinrichs, 211]

Idioms are a rhetorical tool that are seen, and used, everywhere around us. Many people are probably completely unaware that the rhetorical device in which they are using actually as a name. SUPRISE!! That phrase of words you just used has a name of its own, idiom.


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I am going to try and break down the meaning of idiom in a way that is easier to understand. Idiom, simply defined, is a group of words that mean something other than what is literally spoken. For example, “You’re the apple of my eye” doesn’t actually mean you are the apple in someone’s eye. The phrase itself has a different meaning than the words alone, it means that you are really important to the person that stated the phrase.

Idioms are super popular and can be found almost anywhere, but people are still not very sure of what they are doing when they use an idiom. Which begs the question, why are idioms so popular and exactly how do they work in the rhetorical world?

Idioms are important to the rhetorical world because they allow people to say things in a more creative way. For example, saying “Back to the drawing board” is both easier and more creative than “okay, we have to start over.” Idioms work almost as a language of there own. We can speak to each other with phrases that we understand, but if they were broken down wouldn’t mean what they appear as at all. Idioms are also popular because they are fun. Idioms had humor into everyday conversation. It seems more fun to say “Elvis has left the building” than it does to say “The show is over.” Idioms also bring real life situations into conversation without having to tell an entire different story. For example, “Don’t count your chickens before the egg has hatched” means to not count on something that may never happen. However, using the phrase “don’t count your chickens before the egg has hatched” adds a bit of logic to the situation. You know that chicks may die before they hatch, so you wouldn’t want to count the eggs as a “chicken” until they were  hatched and walking around. Using an idiom instead of having tell an entire egg hatching story adds logic and it is simply much faster.

dont count your chickens

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Idioms are extremely popular all over the world. In television, in speeches, in everyday conversation. Idioms serve the purpose of creativity, humor, and quick logic. Idioms are a great rhetorical tactic that do there job and get the point across in an amazing way. When it comes to rhetorical devices and decisions, using an idiom should always be a go to.

Funeral & Trial of John Smith 3/1/16


John Smith was not only an incredible man of God, an amazing father, and an incredible carpenter; he was also an outstanding husband. John touched the lives of many people in his short 24 years on Earth, but I can assure you he had the greatest impact on me and our daughter. John showed us both how to love unconditionally, introduced us the word of God, and made sure that we knew he loved us more than wither one of could possibly imagine. Kyla and I talk about John constantly throughout each passing day; she shares with me her fondest memories of her and her daddy (some I didn’t even know about). It is an incredible feeling knowing that he made such a difference in such a short time. I can not understand why such a tragic situation had to unfold in John’s life, but what I do is that God is a mighty God and he has a plan for every person in this room. I find myself questioning why this had to happen, and I want to be angry with John’s killer. However, I know that is not at what he would have wanted. He would have told me to find comfort in the fact that he is now in a much better place, and he would tell me to pray. He would say, pray hard; pray really hard because the man that did this will never get to experience the Heaven that I am in now, and that is the saddest situation of all. John Smith was in incredible husband, father, and preacher; he was amazing at spreading the word of God and introducing people to the Bible. If John could speak to the people here today he would tell us all to wipe our tears and let go of the sadness; but he would also tell those of you that have not found your Lord Jesus Christ yet that you never know when you will run out of time. He would want you all to understand that you never know when your time will end, and it will forever be the greatest tragedy to not live your eternal life in Heaven.

ANALYSIS: I wrote the eulogy to strictly appeal to the emotions. Funerals in my culture are never happen, that are a moment to grieve. However, they are also sometimes also used to convince other people to change their life. Many preachers that have delivered eulogies have also seized the opportunity to deliver a message. I decided to follow the crowd and do the same thing. I appealed to the emotional side, but I also included some logic. At the beginning I included facts about the person that would make what was going to follow seem even more sad. Also, I included character qualities that make the person out to look as if they were the model human being. These are strategies that are used to insure that everyone there is both touch, and feels terrible about what happened.  I included nothing bad about “John” because it was not the goal to make people see the real person he was; it was the goal to create an emotional connection that would make everyone very sad that he was gone.



John Smith was a husband, father, and a wonderful asset to his community. John preached at South Side Baptist Church, and had coached youth baseball for two years. John and his wife had just welcomed there new baby girl into the family just three weeks before his murder. How could one person possibly take a life from a man that gave so much to others? John loved his wife and daughter to the end of the Earth, and now they have to live the rest of their life without him because of this man (points to suspect). I know almost each and every one of you are parents, could you imagine your child losing you at the hands of another human being. Could you imagine them waking up every day knowing you were stabbed to death? How about this, could you imagine what it would be like to lose your child to a murder? Because John was a son as well. It is an awful feeling to have to face the facts every single day when his wife, parents, grandparents, friends, and DAUGHTER wake up. Every day when they wake up they are going to have to look themselves in the mirror and face reality: John was murdered; stabbed to death my another man. There is nothing any of us can do to change that, I wish we could, but we can’t. That reality is always going to be the reality they face. But please, you 12 people can make a difference in their lives. You can. You can take the man that committed this awful crime off of the streets. Please don’t make them go through having to face that the man that murdered their love one is still walking the streets. Don’t do that to this people, they have gone through enough. You 12 people need to make the difference that you are being given the opportunity to make and take this man off of the streets!



I wrote the closing arguments to appeal to both the emotions and the logic. I used epideictic rhetoric to blame the other man for everything. I painted John Smith to be a perfect human and made it appear that there was absolutely no reason behind his murder. I said things like “I know you all are parents” to engage the emotional connection the jury had to the fact that John was both a parent and a child to someone. Also, I used the word murder over and over and over again. I never said kill or deceased. I used a harsh word like murder because it was harder it would hit a nerve in the jury that the word kill would not. Finally, I closed the argument by stating that the jury needed to do their part. I used the tactic of guilt to try and get them to do as a I wanted them to do. I wanted to make them believe that if they didn’t do as they should (find the man guilty) then they were going to make these people suffer even more; and they just couldn’t do that.