Bitzer's Rhetorical Model

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Scott McWhirter
English 101 Section 043
Professor Hayes
March 31, 2011

Bitzer’s “The Rhetorical Situation”
“Penguin responses to climate change in the Southern Ocean” by Jaume Forcada and Philip N. Trathan (2009) was a study conducted to analyze and predict the migrating patterns of different species of penguins due to changes in climate. (p. 1618) Also, Forcada and Trathan investigate whether or not certain species of penguins possess phenotypic plasticity (the ability of an organism to change its phenotype in response to changes in the environment) (p. 1618).

In order to properly conduct a textual analysis of this article, Lloyd Bitzer’s “The Rhetorical Situation” will be consulted. This rhetorical model consists of three elements: 1) Exigency, the factor which creates the need for the rhetoric, 2) Audience, the element receiving the rhetoric and 3) Constraints, the factors which inhibit the audience from absorbing the message of the article. By examining the overall quality of Forcada and Trathan’s rhetoric, one may conclude that the article is successful in validating that penguins are affected by climate changes only in certain regions and/or habitats. Forcada and Trathan accomplish this task of validation through their effective use of technical jargon, applied data, and authoritative research.

Throughout this article, Forcada and Trathan (F & T) consistently make it clear that not only does this issue present the ways in which penguins are affected by the climate change, but also the implications these effects have on the environment and the life that surrounds them. The article states that when faced with the challenge of climate change, “the paleoecological record suggests that penguins are more likely to respond by dispersal rather than adaptation” (Forcada & Trathan, 2009, p. 1618) F & T also emphatically underline the repercussions made by the dispersal and/or phenotypic adjustments made by the penguins. The article uses...
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