Monthly Archives: April 2019

Rhetorical Critique of Public Communication Artifact

The essay examines the speech presented by the president-elect, Donald Trump one day after his election. It gives a rhetorical criticism of the artifact based on particular features that the viewer can identify after watching the video of the speech. The context of the paper will entail discussing the extent to which it is a narrative. It will use literature from past studies to expound on the argument and understanding of the features of a story as having rhetorical critique elements.

Outline Overview

Introduction: The paper begins with an introduction that explains the major terms applied in the essay including rhetoric and criticism. It defines rhetorical criticism as described by the various gurus in the field. The introduction expounds on the main subject of the assignment rhetorical criticism as applied to artifacts. It also gives a description of how information in the paper will flow.

The selected artifact: this part of the assignment describes the chosen item for rhetorical criticism. It provides a brief description of the item, the aim and its importance to

The Context: Here, the essay explains what the paper will entail, how information will be evaluated and the method of obtaining information about the artifact and explaining using the supporting material.

Research Question: This is the question that the essay answers.

Donald Trump’s Speech as a Narrative: This is the major part of the article and explains the speech based on the rhetorical critique of a narrative. The part is supported by research on the subject of narrative as a type of rhetoric analysis and explaining the artifact about the discussion of what entails a narrative.

Judgment and Conclusion: This section provides a final ruling as to why the paper confirms the artifact of Donald Trump’s speech is a narrative based on the analysis presented.



Rhetoric entails the strategic utilization of communication either oral or written for the purpose of achieving specified goals (Kuypers, 2010). It is the use of language as well as other symbols in realizing human goals in persuasion. Criticism entails the looking of rhetoric in a closer, critical as well as intentional manner so as to persuade as well as influence the audience. When people make a rhetorical criticism, they are evaluating, interpreting, exploring and making a judgment on the qualities of an artifact in a manner of self-expression. Foss (2004) describes rhetorical criticism as the process of engaging in qualitative research method designed for systematically investigating and explaining symbolic acts and artifacts to help in understanding rhetorical processes. In rhetorical criticism, symbols are essential for effective communication that can be examined using approaches such as themes, clusters and feminism criticism (Foss, 2008). Speech is an artifact that can be evaluated using rhetorical criticism. This essay aims at selecting and evaluating one artifact with a persuasive message in public communication.


The Selected Artifact

The chosen artifact is the speech made by Donald Trump, one day after he entered the office as the president of the United States of America. This item is presented a compelling message to the public by the president communicating essential information that will build America in the next coming years under his leadership. In his speech, Trump was briefing the public of his plan in moving the country forward.

The Context

In explaining rhetorical criticism in the speech presented by Donald Trump in the state house, a day after his election as the president of the United States of America, this paper will evaluate the president’s use of language and symbols in his message. The context will be examining whether the artifact is a narrative. The method used in evaluating the related time to the speech and how the president presented it and the impact or effect of the message passed to the wider audience or the entire nation of America.

This paper reviews and examines Donald Trump rhetorical presentation in his speech Transition 2017 “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump.” It critically analyzes what the president said to relay to the public about transitioning to 2017. The paper explains the content of the speech and the events described by the president as forming the next government goals in the coming years. The major question here is what Donald Trump said in his speech one day after the election as the president of the United States of America. The general flow of the rhetorical criticism will be first to look at the artifact as a narrative. A narrative is one form of expression that uses language and symbols that characterize a rhetorical criticism. The next step will be interpreting the main idea depending on the understanding and evaluation of the message presented by the president. It will be a judgment of why it is convincing that the speech was a narrative based on the president’s message.

Research Question: To what extent is President’s Donald Trump a narrative.

Donald Trump’s Speech as a Narrative

In understanding the president’s speech as a story, it is important for a person to learn what a narrative entails, its characteristics and how the speech is a narrative. It is defined as a spoken or written description of events that are connected. Usually, a narrative is presented commonly as a story.  Fisher (1984) describes a story as a paradigm that entails human communication within which people are the storytellers. He introduced four characteristics of a narrative including conflict, plot, and characters. The plot describes the beginning, middle, and end of the story. A story must offer a real reason for why the narrator is telling or writing it to the audience (Fisher, 1984). Fisher described a narrative as a dialectical synthesis of different traditional strands within the rhetoric history including the argument and a theme that is persuasive, literary and aesthetic. Warnick (1987) adds that a narrative must have rationality as the concept that makes it unique. It must provide logic behind the telling of the story. It should give good reasons for holding the story together and having values such as relevance and consistency.  Foss (2008) describes that a narrative must have a causal relationship.

The speech presented by the president one day after the election “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” is a narrative because it entailed describing events that the president intends to do during his term as the leader of the U.S. government. The speech by Donald Trump is a story because of the events that he wanted to address to the public that will take place and how they will be executed by his government. The events are connected and create the causal relationship of the speech. In his speech, Donald was sharing an update on the transition to the presidency (Transition, 2017). He gave an outline of the policy plans that his government would execute within the first one hundred days while in office. The president of the United States of America was giving a brief of what he is and will do from the first day of his service as the leader of America.

Foss (2008) describes four criteria that one should use in evaluating a narrative from other kinds of rhetoric including a minimum of two activities, the events must be organized by time and involve a causal relationship. The events must have a unified subject. Donald Trump’s speech “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” is a narrative because it provides fictional information of the activities that the president and his team will perform to achieve the set goals his government. Tales are considered as fictions in the sense that, the stories presented are usually of activities that have not taken place or already took place in the imaginary world. The events in a narrative are imaginative and do not need to have happened in reality.

Narratives usually have characters and a plot or activities that are occurring (Fisher, 1984). The characters form the subject of the story as either protagonist or antagonist.  A protagonist is the main character/person/item in the narrative and with which the main idea is formed. The antagonist is the character opposing the protagonist. This characteristic of a narrative relates to Trump’s speech whereby, the president is the character addressing the audience. He forms the primary idea with which the speech is presented. The speech is a narrative because it needed the character, Trump so as to push forward or reacts to the activities or events within the plot. The plot is said to have five elements including the exposition, increasing activity, climax, the falling event as well as the resolution. After viewing the speech made by Donald Trump, there a clear plot of how the speaker described events. The president began with a little tone to introduce the subject of the speech. He said, “today I would like to provide the American people with an update on the White House transition and our policy plans for the first 100 days.”  was the exposition; the other events proceed as the president gave his speech until the end. As he speaks, one can realize the transition from one event to the other.

A narrative usually has a conflict in one way or the other (Fisher, 1984). The conflict may exist among the characters or between the characters, acts of nature, the society or the struggle living in the world. In the speech by Donald Trump, there is a conflict that he describes as existing between the American people and the nation because of decreased trade opportunities, jobs for the citizens and affected economy. In his speech, the president addressed how he will end this conflict during his term by putting measures that are strategic in giving America back its beautiful nation. A conflict in a story is said to create the interesting aspect of what the narrator is portraying to the audience.

A narrative always has a setting which entails the time as well as location with which the story takes or took place. Since human communication is seen as historical and situational, this explains why a narrative has a setting that defines the time and location of its development and the reason for its constitution. This is the rationality of a narrative of what demands it intended to meet the audience (Fisher, 1984). The setting sets the scene of the story as well as determining the type of conflict that is occurring. The speech presented by the president-elect, Donald Trump is a narrative since it has a setting that is current and presented at the Whitehouse in Washington D.C. The setting of the speech shows that the president wanted to address critical issues that are facing the nation.

A narrative also has a point of view which is the perspective with which the story is being told. There are two main points of view that a speaker or narrator can have including the first and third person. The first person is when the narrator is telling the story, and the third person is when the story is being told by another person. The speech “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” by Donald Trump is presented in the first person point of view. The president used personal pronouns such as I and My to address the audience of what he and his government will do to build America from its current position to a better one. The first person point of view in the speech creates the personal involvement of the speaker to the audience. According to Foss (2008), narratives also create a personal commitment to presenting the world in a particular manner. For example, narratives are detailed and accurate in their information. They can also be shared.


Judgment and Conclusion

To tie the evaluation together, the method of rhetorical criticism used in evaluating the selected artifact is a narrative. A narrative criticism entails analyzing how narratives are used in persuading audiences (Foss, 2008). In this technique of rhetorical criticism, the speaker uses various components of a narrative to connect with the people so as to persuade them including plot, characters as well as the setting.  Judging from the analysis Trump’s speech, it is a narrative based on the above discussion and evidence from the artifact and research. To tie the evaluation together, one can see that Donald Trump in his speech was telling a story that entailed connected events. He had a clear opening of the speech, middle and an ending. The language used was fluent and eloquent to ensure the audience understood his message. The subject of the speech was clear and the president gave reasons for supporting the subject. The “A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” speech is an artifact that supports its rationality and intention to helping the American nation understand the need for anticipating a more promising future. Since a narrative aims at presenting values and truth, the speech by Donald Trump fell within these criteria and confirmed as a narrative with an objective, a theme, an idea that the speaker is giving the audience. The president was objective to take a particular opinion of setting the pace for America by providing his message point by point, in a short message that made an impact to every listener. In his concluding remarks, the president justified the action as necessary for the American nation. Defending the objective of the narrative is one of the standards for its evaluation and judging to suit the criteria of this rhetorical criticism.