The Rhetorical Situation (GRAPE it, K?)

Students will understand the importance of the rhetorical situation and how to identify the rhetorical situation (GRAPE it, K?). Students will demonstrate understanding by re-assessing the rhetorical situation for their own opinion editorials. (Learning outcome 1). 

Teacher Prep:

  • Pull up NRA website
  • Pull up PETA website
  • Make sure links on slides to Mr. Collin’s proposal from Pride and Prejudice and Winston Churchill’s speech from Darkest Hour are working. 

Student Prep:
Read Chapter 6 of Mindful Writing

Prepare for Learning

FREE WRITE and DISCUSSION (10 minutes): 
Think about the last time you were in a situation, a moment in which you ability to write, speak, or act could change everything for you. Describe this experience. Did you communicate effectively? How did you know how to respond? 

Discussion: Rhetoric occurred in all of these situations, elaborate on some of the student experiences. Ask them questions to investigate how they responded. Who was their audience? Did that change the way they speak? What was the “genre” did it change the way they wrote?  The way the dressed? Etc. Review: rhetoric is the study and art of effective communication. You all described different rhetorical situations that demanded different responses. You encounter these situations every day in your life. So, today I want to help you better understand HOW rhetoric works so you can USE it effectively. We will be working with the rhetorical situation (GRAPE it, K?) So you can assess rhetorical situations and respond appropriately to them. Not only for this class, but everywhere you go. 

LECTURE with slides (7 minutes)

So in chapter 6, you read about the Rhetorical Situation. How would you define a rhetorical situation? 

Brian Jackson says “Rhetorical situations are moments that invite us to communicate with others in a way that’s appropriate or fitting for the moment.”

To Review, What is GRAPE it,  K? (students should have read this, so this should be more of a review)

Genre – review: Why is it important to assess the genre? – They represent a social need. 

Rhetor – Give you power, but only if your subject is kairotic. Remember you are only part of the rhetorical situation. A really important part (ethos). But of course there is more to it. 

Audience – How does knowing who you write for change the way you write? – Look at these two websites, NRA and PETA. How would someone who loves to hunt take a source from PETA? How about an animal activist. Quickly explain to be wary of biased sources (we will expand upon this in later lessons) and how it may negatively impact your audience. 

Show slide of different people (mother, best friend, Elder Holland, Police man): How would you tell these different people your most embarrassing story? 

Purpose – “What the [rhetor] intends to achieve by speaking for writing.” (73)  What do you want to achieve? Why do you think it is important to identify your purpose before you begin writing? 

Exigence – “Exigence is the invitation to speak or write because speaking or writing might solve a problem.” (73) It is the invitation speak. How might you respond to these different situations?: Granny’s death. Text from angry friend. Teacher asking a question. Online comments. 

Kariotic – Part of Exigence is being Kairotic.  This is all about timing. – Reference from Mindful Writing: moonlight walking through snow. Explain story of Christ mourning with Mary and Martha before raising lazarus. It was Kairotic, He wept with him first, THEN raised himf rom the dead. 

Direct the Learning

ACTIVITY  (10 minutes)- GRAPE it, K?  together D&C Section 121. Have students read D&C Section 121 divided on the slides and GRAPE it, K? together.

Joseph Smith:

  • Genre – prayer, pleading, asking for vengeance
  • Rhetor – Joseph Smith. 
  • Audience – God
  • Purpose – relief, to ask God to do something
  • Exigence – friends dying, he is alone, he is in jail, family is gone, etc 


  • How did God respond to this rhetorical situation? What if God responded like this (show Harry Potter clip from 1:39 to 1:59)? What would happen to the credibility of an answer like that? 
  • Luckily He didn’t respond in that way. How God did respond:
    • 7 My son, peace be . . . . a small moment
    • 8 And then, . . . over all they foes”
    • How does he address this rhetorical situation? He addresses the things that Joseph Smith is concerned about. 
    • He is Karoitc. Knows his audience. Knows his concerns. Purpose is to comfort. Came at pretty good timing, yeah? 

Reinforce  learning: (15)

Now that we have done it together, I want you to do it by yourself. Watch these clips and then I want you to ” GRAPE it K?” each situation. But I want you to go deeper than just one word answers for some of these. Think about it: is the audience receptive? Is he considerate of his audience?  Is it kairotic? 

  • Mr. Collin’s proposal – Mr. Collins is the Rhetor 
  • Darkest hour – Winston Churchill is the rhetor

DISCUSSION (5 minutes) 
You were all asked to GRAPE your topic for the Op-Ed – how did it go? Would you change your rhetorical situation assessment now? How? 

Self assessment → have students start answering questions from Mindful Writing on pg. 75-76. What they don’t finish will be homework. 

Rhetorical Situation Presentation

Click above to see the Google Slides presentation that goes along with this lesson