Rhetorical Strategies is a worktext for composition students to apply rhetorical theory in their writing. The exercises interconnect rhetorical skill work for students to practice “thinking on paper” in style (rhetorical figures, emphasis, arrangement); language (audience appropriate, diction, syntax); and conventions (MLA style, format, source handling). Content includes: Aristotle’s Six Parts of an Argument, Rhetorical Situations, Appeals and Fallacies, Thesis Statements, Topic Sentences, Voice, Stylistics, Revision, Documenting Sources, Grammar/Punctuation/Usage, and Visual Arguments. All skills are reflected in a sample student research paper. Content is relevant for AP Composition and Language courses as well as college composition and seminar courses with an emphasis on rhetorical principles.
Dr. Karen Wink is an English Professor at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy where she has taught freshman composition and literature as well as upper-class world literature for 20 years. Previously, Dr. Wink earned her doctorate in English Education from the University of Maryland and taught high school English in the Howard County, MD. school district for four years. Dr. Wink received an “Excellence in Teaching” award from the New England Teachers of English. Her research interests focuses on rhetoric and pedagogy in the field of English Education.
2: Forming an Argument: Aristotle’s Parts of an Argument
3: Rhetorical Situations
4: Appeals and Fallacies
8: Documenting Sources
9: Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage
10: Visual Arguments
Appendix I: Sample Research Paper with Audience Analysis:
Angela, College Freshman, Composition Course
Audience Analysis for Angela’s Research Paper
Appendix II: Answer Key and Reference Lists
About the Author
Karen Wink's text offers the essentials of classical rhetoric for writing students in a textbook that is brief, clear and yet amazingly thorough. Using questions as headings, Wink covers everything from assessing the writer's initial rhetorical situation, to the five parts of an argument, the appeals of ethos, pathos and logos, and the common fallacies, down through matters of style, revision, documentation, and proofreading. Traditional material like the writing process is covered, but in a way that makes them part of the overall strategy of a well-designed argument. At the same time, less frequently covered topics are included so that students acquire a deeper appreciation of rhetorical argument, as in Wink's version of the stases combined with the topics in Chapter 2, or her especially strong coverage of Style in a chapter (6) that includes a useful list of figures of speech and methods of sentence analysis and invention. Drawing on her years of classroom experience, Wink includes published and student-written examples throughout, as well as useful tables, checklists and exercises that immediately apply the material just explained. Altogether, Karen Wink's text covers everything needed for a complete, rhetorically-based writing course in the most engaging and student-friendly way possible.
Karen Wink’s Rhetorical Strategies for Composition is a valuable text for secondary and post-secondary writing instructors. Written from the deep knowledge of someone who understands writing as process, this handbook is an effective tool to accompany the teaching and learning of how to write well. Most specifically, this text makes clear how to write cogent, powerful arguments that respond to various situations and purposes. What I found most relevant about this text was its inclusion of contemporary examples that students use for practice to learn the skills Wink articulates. This contemporaneousness connects readers to the work, encouraging them to understand the links between arguments made throughout history and the ones of today. Additionally, the tone of the text invites readers to try their hand at writing while feeling comfortable learning the why behind arguments without feeling condescended to or demeaned for what they might not know. Thus, Rhetorical Strategies for Composition is an excellent text for educators working with high school seniors as a way to prepare them for life beyond high school as well as for educators working with students in post-secondary schools. For all students using this text, is, indeed, the “Lonely Planet Guide” to understanding arguments and how to write them.
Wink's clear explication of the assumptions underlying academic and professional writing persuades us of the continuing relevance of classical rhetoric. The textbook's contemporary examples, practical exercises, and tools for revision will engage composition students from high school to upper-division undergraduate level.