Pillow Thoughts

As the fifth week to the Spring Semester comes to an end and the sixth week quickly approaches, I’ve began to reflect on these past five weeks.

For starters, I learned the importance of actually reading the articles for my Rhetoric class posted on Bolt as opposed to skimming through them. While I gazed over the articles, I hadn’t paid much attention to the side notes Dr. Martin had included. While they may have included some opinions, they introduced many important questions for me to consider while rereading. I’ve taken the past two days to reread the articles posted by Dr. Martin, most of which are about the politics and the government in the United States. Not only does this help me better understand what we’re talking about in class, it has also helped me get a better understanding of what is actually happening in our country. While this thought dawned on me, I considered the first article Dr. Martin had assigned as a reading both this semester and last. I realized that claiming my education is more than learning from the required class book reading and becoming a better scholarly writer. I learned that to truly claim my education, I needed to hold myself more accountable for putting in the hours of work outside of the classroom. This is one important lesson I will be grateful to Dr. Martin for teaching me for the rest of my college career. I began to consider the idea of claiming my education beyond my college education. The reason I did this was due to Hazleton’s mission statement which created the idea of being a “life long learner.” In not so many words, it basically illustrates the idea that while some may be beyond classrooms, they are still being educated through the media, printed text, oral lessons, and life lessons. I considered how I could claim my education outside of the classroom walls. One example I thought of was getting a flat tire. I have never learned, in my 16 years of schooling, how to change a flat tire in a classroom. I once had to read my car’s handy manual to learn how to change a flat tire. I believe I claimed my education on cars, through having a car. Not only did I learn from trial and error (more times than not) I also learned many important car things from my brother, father, and the internet.

While sometimes a very distracting or misleading medium, the internet has definitely been a blessing to my education. Especially in class on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s class, Dr. Martin took us to Starbucks to analyze the rhetorical analysis in the franchise. At first, I wasn’t really sure about what he meant. It was Starbucks, the place where I got my coffee before class and occasionally crammed in a last minute study session. After he explained how rhetoric was used in such a place I had a better understanding of what he meant. The atmosphere in Starbucks across the country were all similar because of this whole concept of rhetoric. The way they applied ethos, logos, and pathos to a coffee franchise blew my mind. We sat at tables and did some research about the place most of us mindlessly spent our time and money.

Upon research, we discovered that the first Starbucks was established in Seattle, Washington. We discovered that the logo explained so much of Starbucks’ history. The mermaid has been an iconic symbol for the Starbucks logo since the beginning. The mermaid symbolizes the attraction of sailors. This lead my group to infer, along with the initial location being near a major fishing port that Starbucks mainly appealed to fishermen. After Dr. Martin pointed out how the logo has changed over the years, I shared an observation I made with my group. I stated, “People now know the logo so well, they skipped writing the name.” While Starbucks logo used to include the title and two stars under the mermaid icon, today it is simply a more modern icon of a mermaid. The three creators’ initial business has expanded into something much larger, yet they still use the three rhetorical strategies to appeal to more customers. Not only do they do this through their food and beverage selection, but also through their atmosphere which includes the music, décor, and customer service. My group noted that Starbucks plays specific music in each store to appeal more to their customers. We also noted how most Starbucks establishments are decorated in the same manner and create a similar vibe. This vibe appeals to a wide spectrum of people from hipsters to business men.

Before Wednesday’s class, I would’ve considered all of this information simply a marketing strategy to appeal to customers. After the class, I realized how rhetoric plays a bigger role in society than I had imagined. I began to consider how on a larger scale, all food establishments use rhetoric in a similar way to Starbucks such as McDonalds, Arby’s, and Burger King. Most of these places have adapted a catchy or memorable slogan, which never crossed my mind as being rhetoric, until that day.
Now when I look around me in the world, I am more aware of the presence of rhetoric in my everyday life, in and out of the classroom.

Until next time,

xxo Bri




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