November 18, 2012

George's "Mr. Burke"

In George’s “Mr. Burke,” I thought the section about epistemology and theories of language was interesting. Basically it says that Keller’s critics thought she shouldn’t write about controversial subjects because she had no first-hand account of them. She only knew what she had been told and what had been put in front of her. George says that Keller thought she “gains knowledge and creates a reality the same way most people do most of the timethrough text” (346) and that makes her as qualified as any other person to write about it.

From what we read/discussed last week about terministic screens I would have to agree with her. Her critics argued that she was “duped” (344) by people who were motivated to persuade her to think a certain way, and thus she couldn’t see the whole truth.

I think this is true of everybody, in that our world is shaped by what is put in front of us. We don’t get to choose everything that we experience. Some experiences are forced upon us. We chase after others and never find them. We read history books about events we weren’t alive for, and they are written with a biased lens. We watch the news, and even though we can flip through a few channels and choose what spin we want on it, the information we receive is still shaped by other people.

So even if any other writer were to write about the subjects that Keller’s critics have a problem with, they would only be able to write based on their own experiences and their experiences would be limited by their opportunities. What she writes about is her “reality” and it shouldn’t be judged against any “reality” that someone else has.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I completely agree with you that we are shaped by what is put in front of us. But, so is everyone else. I think Keller was able to successfully send her message through her experiences not necessarily in the political world or from what she was told, but through her personal experiences as a woman and as a blind woman. Everyone's reality is different and I think that is one of the main points in presenting a rhetorical theory. You must remember, you are not just speaking about what you believe and why you feel a certain way, but you must present it to the audience in a way that everyone can relate to and be able to take in without your personal experiences completely influencing them.

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