Mar 12 2018

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Post #4: Ideological Criticism and Peer Responses


Kill Your Darlings: I chose this scene from Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe, as my artifact. The movie is based on the early life of Beat writer, Allen Ginsberg, and his involvement with Lucien Carr. Radcliffe portrays Ginsberg as a shy, but adventurous young man who hopes to do something extraordinary with his life. Lucien Carr, a troubled classmate, takes Ginsberg under his wing. The movie also tackles Ginsberg’s sexuality and the trial of Lucien Carr.

Presented Elements: In this scene, one of Ginsberg’s professors is stressing the importance of throwing away any conceived idea of writing, and to stick to what had already been established. Ginsberg challenges him, and is refuted. We see Carr also in the classroom, looking bored, but taking interest in Ginsberg’s question. The professor is not open to hearing Ginsberg, and continues to push his curriculum of only using rhyme and meter.

Suggested Elements: One suggested element is that Ginsberg is beginning to pave his own way. He has started to doubt that the old ways are absolute, which will lead him to writing his New Vision manifesto. Another is that old equals outdated and that it is time for a change. There is another suggested element that Carr implies when taking interest in Ginsberg’s comments. We can see from his interest that while the old ways are boring to him, challenging those old ideas and creating a ‘new vision’ is appealing.

IdeologiesThis scene represents two ideologies: absolutism, which is preached by the professor, and liberalism, which Ginsberg argues for. Absolutism stresses the importance of tradition and order, while Liberalism argues for freedom, individualism, and progress.


Feb 21 2018

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Post #3: Generic Criticism

Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, received rave reviews and was even said to have brought West Coast hip hop, a sub-genre of hip-hop comprised of rappers from the West Coast, back to life. His 2017 album, Damn, had amazing reviews, too, yet the genre is listed as simply ‘hip-hop’ and not ‘West Coast hip-hop’. Another sub-genre for hip-hop, conscious rap, is listed. Conscious rap is hip-hop that challenges social norms (such as economical, political, philosophical, etc.) or comments on current societal issues.

Establishing whether or not a rhetorical artifact fits into a genre is referred to as generic participation. It is evident after analyzing the album that Damn is in the genre of conscious rap.

Lamar’s album is focused around the theme of “wickedness vs weakness.” In the song,HUMBLE”, Lamar’s verses flex his wealth, fame, and success, while he raps “be humble” to himself in the hook. While he admits that he is talking to himself in the hook, there have been rumors that Lamar was also commenting on other rappers in the game who had lost their humble attitude.

“ELEMENT” attacks other rappers as Lamar brags on his ability to make anything a hit. He takes a firm position his competition, such as Drake and Big Sean, saying that he can make the same songs they do – but he’ll make them better. He comments on the fakeness of the music industry, and how rappers today do not seem to love the game as much as him.

In “DNA,” Lamar brags that his DNA is better than all of his competitors, pointing out his success and wealth. He goes into a bit of detail laying out the high and low points of his life that he believes his DNA has attributed to, yet he recognizes that his DNA has also held him back at times.

“FEEL” begins with the hook, “Ain’t nobody praying for me,” and goes into the first verse where Lamar points out what he finds fake in today’s society. The second verse begins to brag more on his successes, with lines like, “I am legend, I feel like all of y’all is peasants.” Lamar is talking about today’s world where everyone is trying to get ahead of the next person instead of cheering anyone else on.


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Feb 07 2018

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Post #2: Neo-Aristotelian Criticism

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Emma Watson’s 2014 HeForShe Campaign Speech at the United Nations

In her 2014 HeForShe campaign speech to the United Nations, rhetor Emma Watson, British actress and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, officially launches HeForShe and extends a formal invitation to men worldwide to become involved in the feminism movement. Her audience included many more than just those at the event. The HeForShe campaign hoped to reach as many as possible with their message.

The purpose of this speech was to launch the HeForShe campaign and to highlight how gender inequality was a men’s issue as well as a women’s issue. Emma’s nervousness at the beginning of her speech is soon gone as she passionately stresses the importance of gender equality. Her use of memory is excellent; although she approaches the podium with notes, she does not look at them once, instead choosing to look into the audience and make a connection. This makes her speech much more genuine.

Her uses of ethos, logos, and pathos are successful, as she effectively uses each to further drive her points. Emma uses her experience as a child actress that was sexualized at a young age to bring awareness, as well as how her friends, both male and female, were affected by gender inequality growing up. She uses logos by presenting statistics for the future world, one being that, “15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children.” Emma invokes pathos as she asks the audience to ask themselves, “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” Emma is confident that with men joining the feminist movement, the world will finally see a change. She implores men to join not only for their daughters, wives, and mothers, but also for their sons, so that everyone can be free of gender inequality.

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Jan 29 2018

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Post #1: Introducing My Blog

Hello, my name is Savannah Dyer and I’m a Junior History major with a minor in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. This blog will be a collection of assignments that I have completed for my Rhetorical Criticism class along with a few other things. I am taking this class as a requirement for my minor.

I hope to use this blog as a way to see my writing and rhetoric skills develop over time. Hopefully this will be interesting to not only future employers, but also to any future Rhetoric students who are hoping to find some examples of what Rhetorical Criticism is.

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