It is frequently referred to as "problem-solving," however it is more realistic to argue that authors construct or portray such a challenge for themselves rather than "discover" it. A rhetorical difficulty, in instance, is never a given: it is a complex creation that the writer develops while writing.
Every story contains some type of conflict between two characters who want something different. What makes a conflict "rhetorical" is that it is not simply about who gets what they want, but how they get it. An example from classical literature is the conflict between Odysseus and Achilles in Homer's Iliad. Odysseus wants to return home to Greece while Achilles wants to fight at Troy. However, both require the assistance of other people in order to achieve their goals. So, the conflict is not just between Odysseus and Achilles, but also between the desires of each character and the strategies they use to overcome these difficulties.
Another example from classical literature is the conflict between Coriolanus and his fellow citizens in Shakespeare's play by the same name. Coriolanus wants to be elected dictator so he can destroy the republic, but the people cannot agree on whom they should choose as their leader. Therefore, there is a conflict between Coriolanus' desire and the actions of his enemies who want him out of the way. This creates interest for the audience because they want to see which strategy works best - democracy or dictatorship - and how.
Writers engage in rhetorical issue solving at least three times: when researching the rhetorical challenge (particularly at the onset), when developing a plan, and while analyzing and testing both plans and texts. Professional writers' exploration approaches are tailored to the work at hand or to a certain topic. However, even professional writers tend to follow a basic pattern of inquiry that includes research on the topic, analysis of relevant theories, and creation of a solution that fits the need/purpose.
In addition to scholars who specialize in rhetoric and communication studies, rhetorical issue solving is commonly practiced by journalists, educators, and others involved in creating content for public consumption. The term "rhetorical training" is often used to describe courses that focus on teaching practitioners how to identify and analyze issues as they relate to written expression.
According to David Crystal, author of Language Death: An Enquiry into Its Meaning for Literature, "The death of language means not only the loss of any particular word or phrase, but also the loss of any aspect of our culture which makes use of this medium; the loss of all those codes, conventions, and structures which we build up over time and which allow us to communicate efficiently with one another." He continues, "If we lose the ability to express ourselves clearly, then we lose a part of what it means to be human."
Thinking about the rhetorical situation as a reader can help you acquire a more detailed knowledge of people and their works. In brief, the rhetorical context may assist authors and readers in considering and determining why texts exist, what they try to do, and how they accomplish it in certain settings.
"The traditional Canons of Rhetoric outline the components of the communication act: generating and organizing ideas, selecting and delivering clusters of words, and storing a storehouse of ideas and repertory of behaviors in memory." This breakdown is not as simple as it appears. A speaker cannot simply select words to create ideas or deliver speeches. Rather, he or she must generate ideas first, which then serve as the basis for choosing words and crafting speeches.
The concept of canon comes from the Roman law system, where certain laws were considered so important that they had to be accepted as divine will. These "sacred" laws could not be changed even if there was evidence to do so; rather, they remained immutable objects of reverence.
In the ancient world, the term "canon" was used to describe a list of such laws, which were believed to have been revealed by God to his chosen leaders. The term is still used in this sense today, especially in reference to religious laws. For example, the Bible is called the "Word of God" and the "Canon of Books" because it contains a list of laws believed to have been revealed by God to his chosen people (Israel).
In modern usage, the term "canon" has become equivalent to "rule of thumb", i.e., a general guideline that is not subject to legal challenge.
A rhetorical situation is the setting for a rhetorical act, and it consists (at a minimum) of a rhetor (a speaker or writer), an instigating topic (or exigence), a medium (such as a speech or written text), and an audience. Other elements may be present such as a catalyst that starts the process moving, but they are not necessary. For example, a rhetorical situation could be created by someone speaking in public, but there would be no catalyst unless something triggers the speaker to talk about the issue at hand.
There are two types of rhetorical situations: internal and external. In an internal rhetorical situation, all of the elements involved are within the mind of one person. This can be anyone from a private citizen making a statement about politics or current events on their blog or social network page, to a company spokesperson doing press interviews or giving speeches at conferences. Internal rhetorical situations are easy to create because you are just having a thought and expressing it aloud or in writing.
In an external rhetorical situation, at least one of the elements involved is outside of the mind of one person. This could be someone shouting "Fire!" in a theater when there is no fire, or a politician saying something untrue during a campaign debate. External rhetorical situations are more difficult to create because you need something to react to; otherwise, there would be no point in saying it.