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Boatwright Memorial Library

RHCS 104: Interpreting Rhetorical Texts: Situating a Rhetorical Text

Think of the 5 W's

The basic rules for situating a text can be remembered using the "5 W's" of journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Who produced the text and what do you know about them, their credentials, and their motives, their cultural role (then and now)? To whom was the text addressed or for whom was it intended?

What is the factual or emotional content of the source and does it reflect reality? What historical or personal events inspired its production? What values does it assume, express, or address?

When was it produced and and what significant events had recently occurred or were imminently expected?

Where was it published or performed? How might the physical, mental, or virtual place of production have affected its content, tone, or reception?

Why was the item produced and published?  To educate?  To influence?  To sell something? To entertain?  To promote the creator?


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