"Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
Provided below is my theory of composition in which I developed in my rhetorical theory class for my major in Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. This was written Fall of 2011.
““Rhetoric is all language, in its realization as discourse (Covino and Jolliffe 3).”” Throughout the course of Writing, Editing, and Printing Online, I have read numerous theories on what composition includes. Is it strictly used only in written text? Does it refer to the components of creating a song? Over the centuries, composition has been credited to many different aspects and theories. In the days of Aristotle, composition was only known in the form of creating rhetorical speeches. These speeches were seen as social functions; gatherings that were enhancing the knowledge of others. These included being persuasive, taking defense, and for commencing ceremonies (The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing pp 1). As centuries passed, however, composition began to take form. From the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, composition focused on the rhetorical discourse found in textual works; ultimately literature (The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing pp 27). We can see, though, that today composition encompasses so much more. Though it is often associated with writing, grammar, and spelling due to freshman composition, composition has taken the form of successful communication and socioeconomic influence through re mediated media, digital media, and print media, by focusing on the social aspects of our modern world.
These social aspects are not just about the content that is the result of composing, but also includes the intricate detail that takes place in the process of composing. In Darton’s Communication Circuit, the social aspects are addressed in detail as to what is put into the process of composing. The relationship between the author and publisher shows the socioeconomic effects of composition. The community is affected by commerce, jobs, shipments, products, and time, all as a result from the work. For example, say that a book has just been written. The author has to contact the publisher to send the book off to a printing company. There has to be enough workers with the right credentials working for the printing company. The printing company will also have to contact the shippers and agents of the book to successfully complete the process of bringing the book to the shelves. It is then up to the readers to enjoy and promote the book socially among peers, clubs, classes, etc. This promotion will act as incentive to the author to write more (Duggan).
Throughout this whole process, there is a constant communication between the author, publisher, printers, and others who are involved in the process. The communication is used to make sure that the community understands and can relate to the composition that was just created. This communication is used to make sure that the community understands and can relate to the composition that was just created. This communication, however, is not just within the process of publishing, but also is vital for successful discourse within the work. The creator of a work may communicate with an audience to get a feel of what to work with. He or she may communicate by means of research for the work. All this communication is used to benefit the community being reached, or more know as the audience.
Audience, being a social aspect, became a key theme throughout my works in this course. By encountering discussions from educational budget cuts to what remediation is I came to realize that without a specified audience, successful rhetorical discourse will fail. The audiences defined for each project, discussion, or papers were only discovered through means of communication; of finding the purpose behind the creation.
As a maturing, audience became a new beacon in the journey for successful discourse. In the beginning of college, I focused my audience mainly on my instructor, without taking into consideration that there is more than just a professor. I was so focused on saying the right thing to please her and receive a good grade that I did not take into consideration the rhetorical triangle, and the importance of communicating with my audience. However, on the other hand, without trying, I was appealing to an audience outside the classroom.
This communication to an audience was seen in my remediation of the photographs of Aaron Gillespie and Spencer Chamberlain from Underoath. By drawing these photographs, I showed or communicated as were an appreciation of the band by creating fan art. Through this communication, I also spoke to another audience. I reached a fan data base; a community of people who enjoy the same music as I do, as well as a community who enjoys drawings. By posting such drawings on my Facebook account, I created a form of discourse, allowing my viewers to either “like” my drawing. That being the case, community became involved in the composition of these drawings because I appealed to a certain audience.
Likewise, with my remediation project of Genesis 1 and 2:1-3, I appealed to a certain audience who enjoyed artwork. However, the community became more involved in the process of composing because of the communications that I had to encounter when preparing to create the final product. Like Darton’s Communication Circuit, I had a continuous interaction with different providers to help me put together my remediation (Duggan). I had to go to Joanne’s craft store to be able to buy the supplies to put together the book. These included the scrap-book paper I used, and the drawing paper. I also had to make copies of the photographs I used at Wal-Mart. In turn, Wal-Mart, as well as Joanne’s, had to have a provider for the supplies and services they were offering. These providers had to have machinery to make the products, which again leads to more providers. It becomes a socioeconomic process which involves constant communication between communities of workers to provide a successful composition in the long run.
I highlighted this concept in a group discussion that took place on the topic of different forms of print media. In the prompt, it asked our group to discuss and list the physical constraints of the medium. When we discussed these constraints, we did not just focus on the constraints in the content of our medium, but on the socioeconomic constraints, such as the costs behind coloring printing. For example, Scott McCloud states in his book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, that, “”Unfortunately, color is still an expensive option and has historically been in the hands of larger, more conservative publishers (McCloud 191).”” Such constraints can also be beneficial to society when approached correctly. Take color, for example. McCloud continues to say that, ““The surface qualities of color will continue to attract readers more easily than black and white, and the story of color will no doubt continue to be intertwined with the forces of commerce and technology (McCloud 192).””
Another socioeconomic constraint that is placed on the community is the act of copyright. I included a discussion question from class about the infamous “Hope” poster of Barack Obama, when his campaign was getting started. In this discussion, my group came to the conclusion that the copyright act is a factor in the process of composing. The “Hope” poster was a remediation of a famous photograph of Barack Obama. There was much controversy over the fact that the creator of the poster referenced the photograph. We discussed how we believed that the artist was within moral reasoning due to the fair use act. However, needless-to-say, the controversy included the public. The issues included the rightful claim of creation, and money. As a result, the community was affected because many were recipients of the income.
In creating a documentary about technology use in the classroom, copyright became a major factor in composing. My partner and I had to make sure that we cited all the information we included in the video. However, we were not looking for commerce from our viewers, but rather wanted to inform about why we believed technology should be utilized in the classroom. This brings my point back around to the community becoming the audience. More importantly, we focused on a specific community; professionals in our field. By addressing the rhetorical situation of whether technology should or should not be used in the classroom and making our points, we were able to communicate successfully with our audience, by noting their already acquired knowledge on the subject. We did not have to communicate specific terms, ideas or concepts, because they are professionals, and therefore have already been informed.
However, during another class I have had in college, which in fact was freshman composition, I composed an essay that had to appeal to a community of uniformed individuals. The topic of this essay was to analyze an advertisement and its use of logos, ethos, or pathos. Within itself, the advertisement was a socioeconomic composition because it was a form of visual media that conversed with the community the company’s ideas on their product, but also tried to sell their products, which would result in the economics of commerce. I chose to review a Calvin Klein billboard to express how stimulated images can affect the community and convince them that Calvin Klein’s products will lend the buyer sex appeal. In my own composition of my argument, I expressed to a community of advertisement analyzers the benefits and constraints of the billboard. In my essay, I communicated with a community about communicating in a community.
Composition has become an expansive topic, and has become almost impossible to define in our field. It has come to encompass such a broad amount of information, that we are often overloaded by knowledge. However, after many discussions, projects, and readings, I have come to find that composition is about the successful use of communication throughout a community and the ways in which a society is affected in an economic way. Composition is more than just pouring out content into a video, newspaper article, or song. It has become the details that are put into the process of creating each genre. Composition has become a way of life; a way to bring a product to the market and to support a family financially. It is, in fact, the way that our society functions.
Duggan, Mary Kay. Images–Early Modern Europe. 1999. 2011 <http://sheetmusic.berkeley.edu/courses/hi/images.htm>.