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Author and Audience

all texts have an author and an audience.

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the AUTHOR refers to the person or persons speaking, writing, or otherwise communicating.
the TEXT refers to any rhetorical object. This can be written text, a video, song or other audio recording, or any other object that conveys meaning to an audience.
the AUDIENCE refers to the person or persons the author reaches through their text. There are intended audiences and unintended audiences

why does this matter?

The purpose of a rhetorical analysis is to make an argument about how an author conveys their message to a particular audience. To do that, you need to understand who the author is and who their audience is. 

how do I use this to analyze a text?

Author

Identify the author(s) of the text. Who is writing it? If applicable, who is speaking it? Are these different people, or are they the same?   

Try to learn as much as you can about the author(s). What is their nationality, educational background, current job title, etc?  

What impact does their past have on their present writing? What does their history tell you about what they might want from their audiences?   

Audience

Who did the author have in mind when they wrote the text? Is that audience the audience who actually engaged with the text?   

What do you know about the audience? Do they share history, background or assumptions with the author?  

What effect does the audience’s characteristics have on their understanding of the text? What effect does the audience’s characteristics have on the author’s presentation of the text?    

think you got it?