English Project

"The Suck Zone": Audience Awareness & Language Choice

Let's take a look at the following clip from 1996 cinema masterpiece Twister:

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Consider the ways Jo & Bill make specific rhetorical decisions to alter their speech with regards to their audience (namely, Melissa). Dusty, even more perceptive than Jo & Bill, further determines the affordances and limitations of his audience (namely, Melissa) alters his speech to meet specific audience needs in order to achieve the goal of persuasion, which in this case is a subject understanding a concept.

Let's look at one more example:

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Let's workshop these two rhetorical situations. Consider the goals Jo & Bill lay out for DORTHY to Melissa; how might they have done that differently? Similarly, if we re-consider a specific audience (how about Melissa) for Jonas' explanation of DOT3, how might his rhetorical choices look?

In clusters on the discussion thread (i.e. gravitate towards completing each others' sentences_:

--rewrite the dialogue for one of these scenes to better meet the affordances and limitations of Melissa-as-audience surrogate?

perform these scenes

reflect on the changes you made and why

--Individually (the graded part):

find a movie or tv scene where somebody is explaining something poorly (like DORTHY or DOT3 in the above clips)

post a link or write a brief, informal summary and a transcription of the dialogue

rewrite the dialogue (or record a performance of it!) making rhetorical choices that are (a) "better" and (b) more audience-aware

briefly reflect on the changes you made and why

Skills: Research Writing, Editing, Ghostwriting, Article Writing, Report Writing

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