EH 1302 -- JOURNALS
These are due at NOON each Friday. Email them each Friday.
Start now keeping a list of the honorific and pejorative terms that you come across in your reading. Once it has become long enough (20 examples each of honorific and pejorative terms should do), study the list to determine whether they tell you something about your local community values.
Explore in 300 - 500 words who you are as a writer and what you hope to gain from EH 1302.
Make a list of 10 issues or topics that are of interest to you. Also write a line about any controversy associated with these.
Select any fable
Read it carefully
Write a paraphrase of the fable
Compose a contrasting tale
Give a real life example
Select any proverb (Biblical or traditional)
Read it carefully
Write a paraphrase of the proverb
Write a contrasting proverb
Give a real life example of this proverb
Look around you and listen. Where do you find people practicing rhetoric?
Watch television and read a few popular newspapers or magazines. Jot down one or two of the rhetorical arguments you hear or see people making. Politicians, journalists, parents, lawyers, teachers, and religious leaders are good sources for this exercise. Do such people try to support their arguments with facts? Do they use other means of convincing people to accept their arguments?
Think about a time when you tried to convince someone to change his or her mind. How did you go about it? Were you successful? Now think about a time when someone tried to get you to change your mind. What arguments did the person use? Was he or she successful?
How do the people you know go about changing their minds? How does religious conversion happen, for example? What convinces people to stop smoking? How do people get to be racists, or become convinced they ought to stop being racist? How does a president convince a people that they ought to support a war? Make a list of arguments that seem convincing in these sorts of cases.
Look at the list you wrote at the beginning of your journal. This exercise should help you to articulate what you think about such issues.
Start with this question: which ones are the hotly contested issues in the communities you live in (the street, your hometown, the university you work in, the reservation, the state, the nation?)
Pick two or three issues and write out your positions on them. At this point you are composing material for your use only - so don't worry about neatness or completeness or correctness; write to discover what you think about these issues.
These writings should give you a clearer view of what you think about a few urgent issues. Let them sit for a couple of days. Then read them again. Now, rewrite your thoughts on one issue; select an issue that you can comfortably discuss with other people. This is probably going to be the issue you write about in your term essay.
Give what you've written to someone you trust; ask him or her to tell you what else they want to know about what you think. Listen carefully, and take notes on the reader's suggestions. Don't talk or ask questions until the reader finishes talking. Then discuss your views on the issue further, if your reader is willing to do so.
If your reader said anything that modifies your views, revise your writing to take his or her responses into account. Keep these writings, as well as your original list of issues. It will also help you for the final writing assignment.
Select one of the issues you worked within the last exercise. Try
to frame the theoretical and practical questions raised by it. To determine
the theoretical questions, ask yourself: What is the nature or origin of
this issue? To determine the practical questions, ask yourself what effects
the issue has on people, what is expected of people, what people should do.
Now try to frame the issue in general, specific, and very specific terms.
When you finish this exercise, you should have a list of questions that help
you see how much work will be required to argue the issue you have chosen at any level of generality and in theoretical or practical terms. You may
discover ways to argue about this issue that you had not thought about
before. You should also have a sense of how much research you will need to
do to argue the question you eventually choose to pursue.
Find a compelling letter or op-ed piece on the editorial page of you newspaper related to your issue. Write up a brief analysis of the argument that appears in this letter. Here are some questions to ask: What is the issue under debate? Given the writer's account of the issue, can you determine at what stasis the argument seems to lie? That is, does the argument rest at conjecture (X exists; X is a problem)? Definition (X is this kind of thing or event)? Value (X is a good or a bad thing)? Procedure (what should we do)? Can you determine the position that is being argued against? That is, what position or positions is the writer attacking? Can the writer achieve stasis with her opponents, the way she has stated the issue and the ground upon which she has taken up her stand?
Find a large parking lot. Copy down the bumper stickers that you see on the vehicles parked there. Each of these commonplaces implies an argument and an ideology. Try to figure out the arguments and ideologies that underlie the bumper stickers you found. If a vehicle sports several bumper stickers, does the collection suggest contrary or conflicting ideologies? What do these phrases suggest about the ideologies of their owners? What happens when a commonplace is not commonplace enough? What happens, for example, if a reader of a bumper sticker doesn't know who, or what, refers to?
Read another article from a daily newspaper that covers both local and national news. Look for a comparable story in a weekly news magazine, watch the news on TV, listen to radio news programs, or surf the internet. This ought to familiarize you with the issues that are currently being debated in the American public sphere related to your essay. Then read some magazines that are avowedly partisan in order to see how they treat your issue. Here are a few suggestions that represent a wide range: Christianity Today, World Magazine, The New Republic, The American Spectator, and the Wall Street Journal are conservative; The Nation, Dissent, and The Village Voice are liberal or left-of-liberal. Compare the treatments of the same issue that appear in conservative and liberal magazines. Now try to answer these questions: (#18)
What is the ideological bias (if any can be detected) of your hometown
newspaper? Of the news desk of your local TV station? Of the New York
Times? Of USA Today? Of Time magazine? Of Newsweek? Of CNN? Of network television news? Of Oprah? Of Geraldo Rivera? Of Dr. Laura? Of Rush Limbaugh?
This exercise will help you to compile an inventory of the commonplaces that appear in American rhetoric. You may draw on this list in two ways: It should help you to understand the ideology that under girds the arguments presented to you, and you can use it to build your own arguments.
Find three short pieces of professional writing (may or may not be related to your essay). These can be selections from books, newspapers, or magazines, fiction or non-fiction. Read each passage carefully. How do the authors establish an ethos? Specifically, how do the authors convince you that they are intelligent and well informed? What tactics do the authors use to establish their good character? Their good will toward readers? Make lists of these tactics for future reference. Do any of the pieces display an ethos that is not successful?
Now analyze the pieces in terms of the rhetorical distance created by their authors' voices. Do the authors assume they know readers well, or do they establish a formal distance? How do they achieve this distance? Look at their uses of grammatical person, verb voice and tense, word size, qualifiers, and punctuation.
For practice, try to alter the voice and rhetorical distance of one of the pieces. Change the grammatical person, the word size, the voice and tense; use more or fewer qualifiers; use more or less and different kinds of punctuation. What happens? That is, is the author's ethos altered? How? Does the distance change? How? Is your revision more or less effective than the original? Why?
Look at two articles in a popular newspaper or news magazines such as USA Today or Newsweek (related to your paper). Who seems to be speaking? How do the authors of these articles establish an ethos? Do they attempt to seem intelligent and well informed? How do they get access to the information they pass along?
To practice creating an effective ethos, write a letter to someone who is very close to you - spouse, parent, or friend (about your issue for your essay). Now write a letter that says the same thing to someone who is less close to you â€“ a teacher, for example. Now write the letter to a company or corporation (some way related to your issue). What happens to your voice in each case? What features of your writing are altered
Try imitating the voice (writing style) used by some writer you admire. How does the writer achieve ethical effects?
Try creating an emotional appeal to use in an argument you are working on. If you are not working in a specific rhetorical situation at the moment, invent one. That is, describe an audience and an issue. Now decide what the emotional state of your designated audience is likely to be.
Decide what emotions would rouse them to action, or at least move them to change their minds. Create an enargia, a vivid scene, that is calculated to
rouse the requisite emotions.
Select a several propositions from your own repertoire related to your essay. Now imagine an audience of one or more persons who are either hostile or indifferent to your proposition. Write a description of a rhetorical situation in which you attempt to persuade this audience to accept your audience.
Reasons for keeping a journal
The De Copia Journal
"In the art of rhetoric, credit is won not by gifts of fortune, but by
efforts of study. For those who have been gifted with eloquence by nature
and by fortune, are governed in what they say by chance, and not what is best, whereas those who have gained this power by study and by exercise of language never speak without weighing their words, and so are less often in error as to a course of action." -Isocrates
"Facility is mainly the result of habit and exercise." -Quintilian
"It is quite clear that these exercises are beneficial to those who take up the art of rhetoric. For those who have recited a narration and a fable well and with versatility will also compose a history well...Training through the cheria not only produces a certain power of discourse but also a good and useful character since we are being trained in the aphorisms of wise persons. Both the so-called commonplace and description have benefit that is conspicuous since the ancients have used them everywhere." -Aelius Theon
2 major factors that contribute to effective writing and speaking are a:
- lifetime of study (reflection)--thought
- lifetime of practice (habit)-action [Gr. Hexis, Lat. Copia]
Cicero, the greatest Roman rhetor mentioned the following elements that
contribute to effective writing and speaking:
- painstaking effort
- great care
- mental concentration
- hard work
Most humans typically learn an art or craft by:
- studying its principals
- imitating the examples of others
Ancient students practiced both oral and written exercises that developed
The student moves from composing stories to
their skills and provided resources for later use.
- expanding them
- developing underdeveloped details
- adding reflective comments on deeds or words
During the semester you will study, imitate, and elaborate the following:
- Fables - logos pseudes -- "A fictitious story picturing a truth" Theon
- Short narrative (typically historical in nature) - cheria - "A concise exposition of some memorable saying or deed, generally for good counsel"-Hermogenes
- Reading aloud and copying