rrangement is one of the five Canons of Rhetoric.
comprise the rest. Arrangement has changed throughout the years. Originally,
arrangement was vital to any text or oral presentation. In the present,
the term arrangement is rarely used.
What is Arrangement?
Arrangement, also called "disposition," is the art of ordering the material
in a text in a way that most appropriately and smoothly delivers the intended
information (Covino, Jolliffe 30). Every rhetor understands and expects
a beginning, middle, and an end. However, there are many widely practiced
methods of arrangement. One such method is ordered first to capture the
audience's attention, second to provide necessary background information,
third to state and prove the text's thesis or central idea, fourth to anticipate
and address possible countertheses, and finally to conclude by appealing
to the audience's emotions (Mahwah 35).
Many scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries described
arrangement of material in both whole texts and paragraphs according to
the mode of discourse they were supposed to display: narration,
discription, exposition, cause-and-effect, definition, comparison-contrast,
and argumentation (Mahwah 27). This made arrangement important and defined
specific boundaries for all material both spoken or written.
What is the purpose of arrangement?
Socrates quotes arrangement as: "every discourse, like a living creature,
should be so put together that it has its own body and lacks neither head
nor feet, middle nor extremities, all composed in such a way that they
suit both each other and the whole (Stone 97)." Cicero
inDe Oratore (Cicero) is one of the first rhetoricians to teach
that an oration has seven parts:
Arrangement is one of the most important canons of rhetoric. Style, delivery,
memory, and invention all contribute to a work. The parts make up the whole,
however, if these parts are poorly arranged, the work may be unclear and
may lose its desired effect when transferred to the audience. The actual
term "arrangement" as we see it today may not mean as much to us as it
did to those of the past, the idea and meaning is still very important
and widely understood. Whatever we call it, arrangement will continue to
be a major part of any oral or written composition
for generations to come.
the entrance, or the introduction of the subject and the securing of the
subject at hand
the narration, situations necessary to understand the topic
the proposition, the speaker's central idea or thesis
the division, or a brief list of the points the speaker will demonstrate
the confirmation, or the body of proof for the points
the confutation, or the rebuttal
Connors, Robert J. Reconceiving Writing, Rethinking Writing Instruction.
Ed. Petraglia Bahri. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1995.
Covino, William and David Jolliffe, eds. Rhetoric: Concepts,
Definitions, Boundaries. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 1995
Cicero, Marcus T. De Oratore
Hiz, H. "Cicero." The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. P. Edwards.
New York: Macmillan Co. and the Free Press, 1967: 113-114
Stone, I.F. The Trial of Socrates. Boston: Little brown and company,
1988 pp. 87-138.