The Rhetorical Situation in Just Mercy

As you read Just Mercy, think about these questions as you brainstorm for Essay 2:

The writer: How does the writer’s background influence the content of the argument?

This background is important for Stevenson’s book. At several points in the book, he talks about his own background and experiences.

Those experiences have an impact on how he sees a situation or how he interacts with the men in prison and on death row.

The writer’s purpose: What do you think Stevenson hopes to achieve by writing the book? Does he state this purpose directly? Or is the purpose implied?

The writer’s audience: Does Stevenson see his audience as hostile, friendly, or neutral about his subject? What values does he think his readers hold?

The context: This is the social, political and cultural events that set the stage for this book.

All of these elements make up the rhetorical situation.

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