For this week’s readings, I was able to discern a number of similarities and differences between the readings for this week; however, it was Concept 1 which has had the most impact on my perspective as a rhetor. In this concept, the author discerns what they believe to be an identifiable process for understanding rhetorical work, which is based upon three primary factors. These factors include: identifying a writer’s main ideas, identifying the translation of those ideas into words, and lastly, identifying a reader’s interpretation of the work.
In spite of this seemingly simple mode of synthesis, the author is careful to note that rhetorical meaning is most commonly lost during the final phase of interpretation (i.e. reader’s translation of work). This is most likely due to the fact that rhetorical work is often filtered through the previous experiences of a reader, the reader’s ideas about the author, implicit and explicit understanding of the work in regards to word choice, etc. While the author emphasizes that merely acknowledging the abovementioned principles will help a writer tp make purposeful and careful decisions when choosing words, he also adds the caveat that “vagaries of meaning may become a resource for us as writers” (23). To me, the notion of a writer purposeful ambiguity or vague choices is a concept which I have never before considered, yet still something I can foresee being potentially advantageous. To drive the point home, the author provides examples of a poet evoking personal memories and a lawyer manipulating word choice to gain advantage in the courtroom.
While I understand the value of dissecting the dynamic aspects that affect readers’ reconstructions of my work, this notion has certainly made me more aware of the creative decisions I will be making throughout my Senior Seminar project. However, even in light of this, I feel as though I am at an advantage with my project as the whole idea is to shape a common language/philosophy through which Spring & Sprout operates on a cultural level. As a result, I am in a similar position as Vershawn Ashanti Young, who does not appear to have taken a particular interest in reader interpretation. In a sense, this thought process recalls to me the idea of audience invoked in which authors aim to invoke a particular audience response based on their choice of language.
Overall, I think these ideas will prove incredibly useful to me throughout the semester as I craft work directed at invoking a particular audience response. For me, this is a novel concept as I have been trained throughout a large majority of my academic career to tailor my work to my audience via determining what they want to read. Nonetheless, in my Senior Seminar project, I will be able to develop work which is largely intended to serve as an educational tool to various levels of the Spring & Sprout Network.