Post #6 Pentadic Criticism

Pentadic Criticism

Pentadic criticism is based on ideas presented by Kenneth Burke and his work on how people understand rhetoric today.  Pentadic criticism has five parts which include:

  • Agent:  this concept describes who is doing the act or the one who wanted the action to happen
  • Act:  the way in which the rhetor describes the activity that the agent has done, based on the information presented
  • Agency:  the specific tools used to allow the act to occur
  • Scene:  this concept describes where the act takes place
  • Purpose:  the reason the agent did the act

The artifact I decided to look at is a PSA done by MTV about their anti-bullying initiative, “A Thin Line,” which includes other issues that are common among teenagers.  The PSA ad that I looked at had a boy watching another boy get bullied by their classmates and the insults consisted of basically calling the boy gay and things of that nature.  At the end of the ad the scene zooms out to show the original boy that saw the bullying, looking at a computer screen where there were comments aimed towards the boy who was being bullied in the first scene.  The ad ends with a voiceover saying, “The things you see happening online have real consequences, will you stand up or stand by?”

The agent of this ad would be MTV, because they are hired actors to make the act happen.  The act would be the boy watching the bullying happen, because the main message at the end is a question of whether or not he will say something.  The act is not centered around the bullying itself, but the idea that teenagers will make a change by standing up for each other.  The agency would be the people who work for MTV involved in developing the ad and how it should be portrayed, because MTV is a channel commonly watched by teenagers this is the way in which the anti-bullying agenda could better connect with teenagers.  The scene of this would be the school library and the bedroom where the bullying takes place in person and online.  The purpose of this ad is to encourage teenagers to stand up for one another by not standing by watching their peers get bullied, but instead offering a helping hand for the bullied student to have support.

Critical Essay #2

I have decided to focus my Critical Essay #2 on metaphoric criticism and the artifact I have decided to use is the song, “All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You,” by Heart.  This song is about a woman trying to find a man to get her pregnant, because her husband is unable to have children.  I chose this artifact, because listening to this song as a thirteen year old I did not really understand the metaphors that were in the song and now as an adult it is clear that this is not really a love song, but actually a song about conception.

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Post #5

Metaphoric Criticism:  Bill Clinton’s First Inaugural Address

Bill Clinton gave his first inaugural address on January 20, 1993 and it was given in a way that was supposed to encourage Americans to believe in a brighter future under his administration.  He discussed the idea that the reason he was elected was to have a new beginning for America and this was in turn a sort of response to the fact that the United States was under Republican rule between 1981 and 1993.  In the first section of his speech he says, “Though we marched to the music of our time, our mission is timeless.”  This quote was referring to the idea that America is one of a kind and we understand things through a different lens than other parts of the world, which is part of what makes the goals we are trying to reach as a nation unique according to Clinton.  The metaphor in this quote is “marched to the music” and it is basically saying that Americans and its founders set a different tone in history compared to other countries.  When speaking directly to the American people he says, “And you have changed the face of Congress, the Presidency, and the political process itself.  Yes, you, my fellow Americans, have forced the spring.”  In this quote he is discussing the idea that the only reason there is change in the country from Republican rule is due to the fact that the citizens have voted for change so he is encouraging people to keep voting for the changes they want to see in the country.  The metaphor in this quote is “spring,” and this represents new beginnings in the America in hopes of a better future.  At the end of his speech he says, “From this joyful mountaintop of celebration we hear a call to service in the valley. We have heard the trumpets.  We have changed the guard.  And now, each in our own way and with God’s help, we must answer the call.”  This quote is about how excited Clinton and his supporters are about the start of his first term as president and the changes that they hope will be made under his administration.  The metaphor of this quote is about the joy that comes with change and the good things that he is hoping he can bring to the country.

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Post #3 Generic Criticism

Generic Criticism is best described as a group of artifacts that are similar in content and fit into the same categories through that content.  The artifact that I have chosen to look at is an article from Indian Country Today, which is a news organization that releases articles and information on things that influence Native American people across the nation.  The article is titled “In a Rational World, Can Tribal Knowledge Lead Us Into the Future?” and it focuses on the environment along with the idea that maybe Native American concepts can help better the environment.  This article is displaying generic participation by being applied to a category that has to do with the environment.

This article would fit in a couple different categories that we have when understanding generic criticism.  The first would be the environmental category, because the article is focused on how to get the environment to a better place in the future.  This article does kind of have a different take on environmental concepts though, since it is from the stand point of the way Native Americans understand the world.  The article focuses on humans’ role within the environment and how our ideas have kind of developed, which means that it could also be within a public involvement category of the environment.  The Native American influence on the environment has been a more relevant thing within the media in recent years due to the Dakota Access Pipeline and other issues that different Native American cultures have faced.  Due to this idea there could be different categories within the realm of an environmental aspect and the Native American cultural aspect.


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Post #2: Neo-Aristotelian Criticism


This speech was given by Ashley Judd during the 2017 Women’s March on Washington D.C. and it was given to Judd by a nineteen-year-old, Nina Donovan, as Judd mentions at the beginning.  This rhetorical situation has different parts that are all essential in understanding the meaning of the speech and how it is given.  The main rhetor of this work would be Ashley Judd, as she is the one giving the speech, but Nina Donovan is the writer of this speech and it is her words that have meaning in this situation.  Due to Judd’s platform as a celebrity it was important for her to give this speech, because she was able to gain a lot of attention from media organizations and this gave people the opportunity to actually notice the information being presented.  There are a few different audience members of this speech ranging from people who agree with what is being said to those that may not agree, but need to hear it.  Due to how often the word, “nasty,” is mentioned it is clear that Donald Trump is an audience member, because the phrase, “nasty women,” was used by him as a way to overpower Hillary Clinton and her campaign, but it actually gave her and her supporters a sense of empowerment by owning the negative comment.  Another audience would be the women who supported the Women’s March movement, because this speech helped to encourage women that they are not wrong for what they are feeling and that they can make a difference.

The main purpose of this speech was about empowering women to own the idea of being a woman and to not accept the injustices that are present in society, not only based on gender, but also race and religion.  While this speech was focused around the topic of women it was also used to comment on Donald Trump and his supporters in a way to show that women will not accept their behavior and while Trump may refer to certain women as, “nasty,” this will not stop them from taking a stand and describing what they find to be nasty in the world.  The topic of this speech was about the nastiness Donald Trump and his followers have spread and how women are unfairly treated in society based on their wages, reproductive systems, and also based on differences each race faces.  In order to put this speech into context it is important to look at the date of the speech, which was the day following Donald Trump’s inauguration.  This day was chosen in order to show that women are not going to stand by and allow a man such as this one set this country back with the use of his fear rhetoric and hate speech.

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Post #1: Introduction

My name is Breanne Henshaw and I am a Longwood University, senior Political Science major with two minors, one in History and the other in Rhetoric & Professional Writing.  The purpose of this blog is for my Rhetorical Criticism course and it should be used to help better understand how to analyze rhetorical situations.  I have taken other courses based around rhetoric, such as Visual Rhetoric and History of Rhetoric during my time in college.  Both of these courses have helped me to further understand why rhetors present information the way they do and that everything within a work has meaning or purpose for being there.

This blog should help to provide a better understanding of rhetorical situations and how to analyze them.  The rhetorical situation involves five key things and they are:  writer, purpose, message, audience, and context.  Each of these elements are important in understanding rhetoric and how information can be presented.  I will be writing about the different rhetorical perspectives when it comes to the methods in which you can analyze a work, such as a speech.

One of the intended audiences of this blog would be rhetoric students, who may need to see what rhetorical criticism is and how it can be used.  This blog should help them to understand the perspectives, such as the Neo-Aristotelian Criticism and others that will be mentioned later in the blog.  Another audience would be the professor of my Rhetorical Criticism course, because this blog will help to show that I am understanding the information and coming up with my own concepts as to how rhetorical criticism should be used.

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