November 19, 2012

Burke and Keller

In her article Mr. Burke, Meet Helen Keller, Ann George discusses both rhetorician Kenneth Burke and Helen Keller, "not the 'miracle girl' of cultural mythology... [but the] feminist, early advocate of birth control, and lifelong socialist who supported left-wing political candidates, marched in socialist parades, and cheered on strikers" (George 340). I found one of the most interesting aspects of George's essay to be her critique on Burke and Keller's cultural influences. George claims "Burke's and Keller's rhetorical theorizing was bound up with their cultural criticism and their desire to encourage radical social and political change" (George 341). Essentially, George is commenting on how their cultures and surrounding influence and played a major role in their rhetorical criticisms. In a lot of ways George's statements on how cultural surroundings effect rhetorical theorists is pretty obvious since most people are inspired by just that but they way George comments on it is very unique. It is clear that these rhetoricians lives greatly impacted their life works.


Jessica Weaver said...

A lot of times in class, we discuss how our experiences reflect our meanings behind words or significance, I think George was, in the same way, describing how Keller and Burke's backgrounds and certain aspects of their life greatly influenced their work. As a rhetorician, Burke is known for many articles of ideas however as we have said before the origin of the ideas is left to be decided. George saw the connection between the rhetoricians and their criticisms and devised that their lives and experiences create/form their ideas.

Huong Le said...

That really makes me think about what everybody, we and the rhetoricians we read, would be if we were alive at a different time. We read and appreciate these rhetoricians now, mainly because their theories have lived up to the expectations that scholars of rhetoric have put forth. That is, we read them because their theories have been chosen as rhetorical canon. If they had fallen out of favor we wouldn't be reading them. If we had been alive when their works were published some of them may have been seen as shocking and heretical. If they had been influenced to write differently, or if we were influenced to read differently, we might never know of them at all.

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