ERIC Number: ED196037
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Letter-Writing to Achieve Rhetorical Goals.
Sewell, Ernestine P.
A focus on letter writing in composition classes can eliminate the problem of writing to the teacher as audience, as well as function as a strategy for teaching the elements of rhetoric. Letters in the context of the rhetorical process have historical precedent. In the Middle Ages, because of the necessity for official and ceremonious letters, letter writing became a recognized profession and accepted matter for education. Writing manuals reviewed both grammar and rhetoric, including lists of figures of speech from poetry, thus compelling attention to elegance. Sixteenth century writing prescriptions called for brevity, perspective, liveliness, and appropriateness to both the writer and the reader. Whatever its history, the lessons of letter writing are worth noting here. First, students needing to build confidence about writing generally respond to free writing, such as in a conversational letter to a friend. Second, letters to specific audiences each have a particular organization and style. By writing to specific audiences, the situation is made realistic, authenticity of expression naturally follows, and the necessity for correctness and the level of usage become clear to the student. The classical mandates of completeness, clarity, and conciseness take on significance. (HTH)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (70th, Cincinnati, OH, November 21-26, 1980).