September 10, 2012

Who is your reader? And what can they do for you?

Ong’s ideas about audience paralleled a previous reading I did in another class called The Rhetorical Situation by Bitzer. In this text Bitzer states that there is a rhetorical situation if there is an audience, exigence and constraints. Audience was referred to as a very tangible entity that the writer writes to. He in a sense, breaks the fourth wall, stating that one must speak directly to the audience for it to be real rhetoric.

Ong, however struggles with the idea of audience a bit more. It seems Ong wants the audience to be tangible and real but he seems perplexed about writing as well. Can one write for oneself and people find meaning in your writing? Is it better to write ones thoughts then have an audience find meaning?

It seems Ong has such a strong divide between audience and author because ultimately the audience gives meaning to the work. However, it would seem impossible to reach a tangible audience in a personal way because everyone is so different. Perhaps the answer is just writing truth, and people connect to a work on that level? Sometimes because catered to seems un-genuine so one would have to determine what really gives a work meaning and worth.

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