Post #4: Dramatistic Perspective of Coraline (2009)

Brief Overview of the Rhetorical Situation
Coraline and her family move from Michigan to Oregon. As her parents struggle to complete their gardening catalog, Coraline is often left alone because they put their work above her. Their new home, Pink Palace Apartments, has a dark history – the kids who lived there before them all mysteriously disappeared. Because of this, Coraline’s family is the first one with a kid in 50 years to live there. Coraline’s neighbor and only friend, Wybie, gives her a doll that eerily looks exactly like her. Little do they both know, the doll is a tool from another dimension used to lure Coraline to it. The other dimension is the same as the one she lives in, with a twist – she is paid attention to, fed, and loved. However, Coraline learns to discover that love comes with a cost. Her “other mother” is actually a Beldam that is trying to keep her soul in order to live. This movie’s advertised audience is children, but it’s been argued since its release 11 years ago that it should be intended for more mature audiences due to the visuals and the concepts.

Dramatistic Analysis of Coraline
According to Kenneth Burke, the ultimate goal of the dramatistic perspective is to understand what motivates people to behave in certain ways. This can be a really good away to analyze characters in a fictional text; it’s useful because it allows whoever is analyzing the text to deepen their understanding of not only plot but the characters as well. This analysis is important for my artifact because of the complexity of the plot and the characters, as well as the importance of the characters in relation to the storyline. In Coraline, there are two sets of every character except Coraline herself, and these characters have different motives in terms of either helping or deterring Coraline from saving her parents and getting back to a safe life.

The Pentad in respect to Coraline
Act: The main act of the movie would be Coraline trying to get her parents home after they are taken from the Beldam. She has to play a game with the Beldam where if she loses, she has to stay with the Beldam and have buttons sewn into her eyes, whereas if she wins, the Beldam has to set her and the other ghost children go.

Agent: The agent would be Coraline in this film, though there are many supporting characters. The other characters in the film are crucial to the plot and the development of Coraline as a character.

Agency: Some of the tools used to carry out her mission are the ghost children, the rock eye, the comrade cat, and her neighbors. The other characters in this movie act as tools to help Coraline save herself and her parents.

Scene: See video (introduces Beldam); The AU is set up with everything Coraline loves, which is what reels her in.

Purpose: The purpose she has for killing the Beldam is to save herself and the ghost children. This is justifiable because the Beldam is evil.

Ratios
I see both a scene-agent (A relationship between the agent and the scene). A scene can pose restrictions on the agent; in a narrative, the person and place should have some connection) and act-agent (A relationship between the agent and the scene) ratio here in this movie.

Post #3: Narrative Analysis of Coraline (2009)

Coraline (2009) is a film that might be more intelligent than it is supposed to be for its intended audience. It’s rated PG, but still has scenes that could be considered “unsuitable” for children under 8 years old. It explores many thrilling topics such as kidnap, evil magic, and even murder.

Rhetorical Situation
Coraline and her family move from Michigan to Oregon. As her parents struggle to complete their gardening catalog, Coraline is often left alone because they put their work above her. Their new home, Pink Palace Apartments, has a dark history – the kids who lived there before them all mysteriously disappeared. Because of this, Coraline’s family is the first one with a kid in 50 years to live there. Coraline’s neighbor and only friend, Wybie, gives her a doll that eerily looks exactly like her. Little do they both know, the doll is a tool from another dimension used to lure Coraline to it.

The other dimension is the same as the one she lives in, with a twist – she is paid attention to, fed, and loved. However, Coraline learns to discover that love comes with a cost. Her “other mother” is actually a Beldam that is trying to keep her soul in order to live.

This movie’s advertised audience is children, but it’s been argued since its release 11 years ago that it should be intended for more mature audiences due to the visuals and the concepts.

Narrative Analysis
The narrative perspective is a method for examining ideological arguments conveyed through storytelling (Sellnow 53). Essentially, it is used to find the moral of a story. I believe this analysis fits this movie the best because there are many underlying themes and ideas to this story. The main one being, always be grateful for what you have, as you never know when it can be taken from you. This is important for the storyline because the whole reason Coraline gets herself in the mess with the Beldam is because she isn’t grateful for the life she has – while it isn’t entirely her fault, she’s young and naive, and her “Other Mother” takes advantage of that.

Coraline is a story that ties many concepts together in a short amount of time – however, the storyline is still very coherent as it all comes together in different pieces throughout the movie. Each time you watch it, you notice more and more references to something else in the movie that you didn’t notice the first time. Given that this is a fantasy/thriller movie, looking at the structural coherence of the film is the most sensible. The story obviously doesn’t seem plausible since it’s a work of fiction, but it definitely makes sense within the realm of which it is written. The movie wouldn’t be what it is without the characters, who continually grow in the film to be more independent and willing to fight. The movie starts with Coraline’s family moving in. Then, as she goes to bed that day, she discovers the “Other world” that’s been waiting for her. She sees that her neighbors are also in this world, but they are more dynamic characters in the “other world” than they are in hers. She then starts to realize that the world she prefers is not all its cracked up to be, and needs to escape. By then, it’s too late, so she has to find a way to get out of the Beldam’s grasp and back into her world where she can live with her family peacefully.

The characters are especially important to analyze here because there are two of almost every character except Coraline. In the “real world” that Coraline actually lives in, all of the characters are static and don’t have much of a personality. Some key characters in the film are:

  • Mel and Charlie Jones (Coraline’s parents)
  • Mr. Bobinsky, Miss Forcible and Miss Spink (Her neighbors)
  • Wybie Lovat and his grandmother (The apartment owners who allow the Jones family to stay there)

These characters in the other world are the exact kind of people that Coraline wants them to be – they interact with her, they keep her entertained, and they give her love. None of these things are happening for her in her reality.

Implications of the text
I think it’s really interesting to look at the possible implications of Coraline considering it’s a kids movie that isn’t really categorized as such. I do think that for its time, it’s a really important film about independence and creativity. Even though I believe the true moral of the story is “be grateful for what you have”, I think it also highlights the importance of safety, and relatively touches on the topic of “stranger danger”. While Coraline thought she knew her Other Mother and Other Father, she didn’t; and the Beldam used that to her advantage. This movie is a good lesson for children on gratefulness as well as safety, while also showing that fear can be one’s highest motivator.

Post #2: Neo-Aristotelian Analysis of JFK’s Inaugural Address

For this post, I will be analyzing John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address with a Neo-Aristotelian approach.

Rhetorical Situation
On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States and gave one of the most famous inaugural speeches in U.S. history. On the balcony of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., Kennedy spoke to both his supporters and those who didn’t vote for him in order to gain the trust of the American people. The location is important because many other presidents before Kennedy have been sworn in at the exact same location, continuing a pattern of American history.

Throughout the many different voters at the time, Kennedy’s primary audience would have to be the people who did not vote for him – his address is a perfect way to unify all of the United States and help citizens feel better about his Presidency.  In preparing for this moment, he sought both to inspire the nation and to send a message abroad signaling the challenges of the Cold War and his hope for peace in the nuclear age. The exigency of this speech surrounds the Cold War and the fears of the American people surrounding nuclear tactics.

The Five Canons
Kennedy uses a lot of artistic proofs in his speech, particularly emphasizing ethos and pathos. The entire speech surrounds a strong appeal to ethics – not only his own ethics but those of American citizens. He makes strong arguments surrounding the core of common American values and uses those values to convince his audience to make a change in the United States. He appeals to the shared background of this proud and disciplined generation of “heirs of [our] first revolution” and asserts that this generation will prove their patriotic loyalty by leading America to join in the effort to assure the “survival and success of liberty”.  He assures that all Americans are members of the great American ‘melting pot’ whether they were born here or not. While we may have different ethnic or racial backgrounds, all who live in this proud country are all people who believe in values such as liberty, freedom, and justice. We are all descendants or supporters of the brave patriots who fought in the revolutionary war to stand for these same principles, and by referencing this shared heritage, Kennedy is able to further unite the American people.

His address is arranged accordingly to the ideas he presents throughout – he starts with addressing those around him – “Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens:” and then moves on to talk to his audience. The address moves on to the differences between the time of the speech and the past and how Americans must embrace and combat that change. “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” He then moves on to address different parts of the world and talk on how they should be unified and allied together. He emphasizes the importance of time and emphasizes the strength of the country.

The style of this speech may be what makes it so iconic – Kennedy uses a lot of amplification, parallelism, and anaphora that have deemed to be memorable lines since. One of the most famous lines in the speech is, “And so, my fellow Americans:
ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”That line is an example of parallelism. Another example is the line, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Along with style, an important device Kennedy used to make his speech memorable is repetition. He emphasizes the words “we” and “us” to spark a feeling of unity. He also adopted the same style of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address by uses short but convincing sentences. The repetition of phrases like, “Let both sides … Let both sides … Let both sides …” puts an emphasis on unity once again, which was the main idea of the address.

When watching the speech, you can tell Kennedy cared about what he was saying. His delivery was not only articulate but passionate and convincing. He comes across as patriotic and ambitious. When referencing any hardships with other countries, rather than sounding harsh or stern, he is genuine.

Effect and Implications
It’s important to note that Kennedy wanted to emphasize how he did not want to go to war but wanted to negotiate peace. He also didn’t want any trace of partisanship in the speech because he believed that he was the president of all parties, not just the Democratic party. Kennedy knew of the great importance of this speech since he won the election by one of the smallest popular vote margins in history. People who witnessed the speech or heard it broadcast over television and radio praised him –  elementary school kids even wrote to him with their reactions to his ideas. Following his inaugural address, nearly seventy-five percent of Americans expressed approval of him and his ideas because of how well he expressed his morals and values.

 

Post #1: Introducing your Blog

Hello! My name is Rachael Poole and I am a junior English Major with a concentration in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. I’ve created this blog for my ENGL 301 class that will focus on the rhetorical criticism of film, pop culture and multimodal texts. This blog will serve as a portfolio for all of my analyses of rhetorical texts throughout this semester and show how rhetorical criticism and analysis can be used in everyday life! I feel that this blog will be helpful to not only my fellow classmates but future students who take this course and others like it.

This course is similar to the Organizational Rhetoric class that I took last year in that we are offering an analysis of different texts and ideas. Because of my experience in that class, I feel that I will exceed in this class, also due to the fact that I am genuinely interested in the course material outlined for us this semester. This class will help me further my understanding of different rhetorical perspectives as well as help further my writing skills as a professional writer. I am excited to see what this class holds for me in future assignments.