November 19, 2012

Blind Leading the Blind

I found George's piece on Helen Keller and Kenneth Burke to be very interesting. While the subjects are similar because they both seek to promote radical cultural and political change, Burke is considered a rhetorical theorist, while the same cannot be said of Keller. George seems to think that because of Keller's influential rhetorical insights, she can be considered a rhetorical theorist, and I tend to agree. Many people argue that because Keller cannot truly see or hear a certain situation, she is therefore not qualified to make certain judgements. Keller defends herself by insisting we come innately programmed with five senses, even if we are not completely capable of utilizing them all at once. "The deaf-blind child has inherited the mind of seeing and hearing ancestors--a mind measured to the five senses. Therefore, he must be influenced, even if it be unknown to himself, by the light, color, and song which have been transmitted through the language he is taught, for the chambers of the mind are ready to receive that language" (345). Even if someone is not capable of seeing or hearing a moment, be it because of deafness or blindness, it doesn't mean that person cannot imagine it in their own way and their words can still be considered factual and rhetorical.

1 comment:

KatieA said...

I'd also have to agree with you and George that Keller should be considered a Rhetorical Theorist. She does differ in many ways from Burke and other similar theorists however they are just as many similarities between the two so I do also tend to think Keller is a rhetorical theorist. Like George says, Keller may not be like Burke but we can "add Keller to [the] curriculum" of other women similar to her and also considered to be Rhetorical theorists.

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