In Motives for Writing (the current English 1101/1102
textbook), Robert Keith Miller explains:
Any act of writing involves five elements that
together form what is called the rhetorical situation:
As writers pursue different motives, they
emphasize certain elements of the rhetorical situation over others.
Writing about personal experience focuses mainly on satisfying the
needs of the writer. Persuading, inspiring, and amusing others
focus mainly on eliciting appropriate responses from the audience.
Although reporting and interpreting information, evaluating
something, and analyzing images or texts satisfy the writer's needs
and require the writer to think about the reader's needs, they all
focus to varying degrees on the subject matter or topic.
Whatever your emphasis, though, you can seldom lose sight of any of
these elements of the rhetorical situation for long. (2)
A paper that is awarded with an A in a
composition class at SSU should indicate that the writer has carefully
considered all five elements of the rhetorical situation. A paper
that receives an F may fail to consider one or more elements.
For example, if a student submits an emotional, persuasive paper when
the assignment calls for an unbiased, informative paper, that
paper may fail because the student has failed to consider the purpose of