November 19, 2012

The Dialogue of Burke and Keller

Once I started reading this piece, I was immediately reminded of PE #3, when we had to create a theoretical dialogue between Campbell and Heilbrun. Similar to them, George's piece also deals with issues of feminism and how it is an intertwined web with both politics and rhetorical theory. However, the twist of George's piece is that it discusses Helen Keller, a woman who has proved to be a thousand times more amazing than I was even aware. George introduces Keller by telling us that, even through her disability, she was an active lobbyist, and "published nearly 200 works (including 14 books), gave countless speeches, raised millions of dollars for the American Federation for the Blind, and became one of America's most effective goodwill ambassadors" (George 340).

In addition to this, Keller dealt with a rhetorical strategy that Burke was all too familiar with: boring from within. Boring from within was a practice when a rhetorician would drill their rhetorical teachings into resistant audiences. This often involved Keller and Burke preaching their "leftist agendas" into a more conservative society. Burke states that this method is a way of achieving identification with audiences. It brings to light many controversies by "identifying them with existing cultural values" (342).

I think that, had Burke and Keller actually been friends, they would have agreed on each others beliefs, and could have become a driving force that would have taken the rhetorical world by storm.

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