non-equilateral rhetorical situations

In class tomorrow, I’ll use students’ first two writing assignments to guide a discussion concerning how to understand the rhetorical situation in college writing. We have two different written versions (in The Text-Wrestler and the custom Penguin Handbook), both of which present an equilateral rhetorical triangle – giving the visual impression that all three elements (author, audience, context) carry the same degree of importance as the others. Here’s a site that shows skewed triangles – with significance distributed unevenly, and includes the overlay of “medium” (in our case, writing, but it could be film, speech, music, etc).
Not only do students need to consider these elements, they also must learn how to assess the relative importance of each for any particular writing task. I wonder if we might be able to develop a set of criteria for deciding what ‘shape’ is most desirable given the entire rhetorical situation?

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