November 19, 2012

Burke and Keller

The introduction to Mr. Burke, Meet Helen Keller provides a good point. The Helen Keller I know is the idea instilled upon me primarily from the pop culture reference that is The Miracle Worker. It was a completely different perspective to suddenly see Helen Keller from a rhetorical standpoint and what she did as a radical feminist. I suppose the blind aspect is more compelling than the woman aspect of her story.

This makes the comparison of Burke and Keller all the more compelling. They both lived around the same time and affected change in rhetorical theorizing. It's more obvious with Burke though. He's primarily seen as a rhetorical theorist. I've read him multiple times before in classes like Writing/Editing/Print Online and Rhetoric. Helen Keller is different.

I haven't read any works by her or about her in any of these classes up to this point. They bring up in the article once that Keller once said: "philanthropy, especially from the wealthiest individuals, falsely assures others that those with money are generous and that those in need are being taken care of - by someone else. It covers the facts of economic inequality so that they cannot be seen." It's a look into the rhetorics of philanthropy. Why haven't I heard this before? Is it because culture put a deeper importance on the things she did as a blind woman? Or is it because the rich wanted to play such things down? After all, giving money to those in need is giving money to those in need. Is she really going to argue against philanthropy? It's all a new thing to me that is associated with Helen Keller that wasn't only a cornerstone of her time, but also ours, since I don't believe most people still have even seen this side of Helen Keller.

1 comment:

George Dean said...

You make a good point about how Burke forwards his arguments using Keller.I thought that a majority of Burke's argument expressed that if the individual wants to learn or accomplish something effectively one must express yourself to the listeners; one must know exclusively the opposing side of the argument and how it operates. Both of Butler and Burkes arguments used valid rhetorical key points in expressing their concerns. Butler's said that the grouping of "women" could possibly endure suffering both with and without a particular meaning which would be in fact be a limitation of representation itself.

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