Faulkner University

EH 1302.88 -- JOURNALS

Journals are a way for you to explore your ideas, react to readings, and search for topics. I have given you assigned focused journals to help you with the process.

These are due at NOON each Friday. Email them each Friday.


Journal Assignments:

Journal #1
Explore in 300 - 500 words who you are as a writer and what you hope to gain from EH 1302.

Journal #2
Based on your readings, what knowledge have you gained about yourself and your writing?

Journal #3
Discuss difficulties you are having in completing your writing assignments.

Journal #4
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?)

Journal #5
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?

Journal #6
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.

Journal #7
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 – 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?

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:

  1. lifetime of study (reflection)--though
  2. 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:

  1. painstaking effort
  2. great care
  3. mental concentration
  4. reflection
  5. watchfulness
  6. persistence
  7. hard work


Most humans typically learn an art or craft by:

  1. studying its principals
  2. imitating the examples of others

Ancient students practiced both oral and written exercises that developed
their skills and provided resources for later use.

The student moves from composing stories to
  • expanding them
  • developing underdeveloped details
  • adding reflective comments on deeds or words

During the semester you will study, imitate, and elaborate the following:

  1. Fables - logos pseudes -- "A fictitious story picturing a truth" Theon
  2. Short narrative (typically historical in nature) - cheria - "A concise exposition of some memorable saying or deed, generally for good counsel"-Hermogenes
  3. Proverbs
  4. Maxims
  5. Commonplaces
  6. Descriptions
  7. Characters
  8. Comparisons
  9. Praise
  10. Invective
  11. Reading aloud and copying
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