October 9, 2012

Imagos and logos

I've always been in love with comics so the idea of identification that McCloud talked about in his essay really hit home for me. With any writing you want your audience to be able to identify with what you are saying, you want that connection. This connection doesn't have to be made through a character in a story; for example if you are writing a medical journal, you are still writing so your predicted audience can identify with something you wrote, maybe connect it back to something else they learned. This has been happening to me quite a bit in this class.  

This reading paralleled with a reading we had in my "What is a Text?" class. It was called "The Art of the Written Image" by Johanna Drucker. In this reading we talked a lot about the dimensions of writing and how it could be visual, spacial and social. There was quote from the reading that said "Because of this fundamental dualism, writing is charged with binary qualities. It manifests itself with the phenomenal presence of the imago and yet performs the signifying operation of the logos" (Drucker, 57).

October 8, 2012

Hitlers Identification

In Burke's essay “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s Battle”, he recognizes a few tropes that capture the essence of Hitler’s agenda. They all point to the idea of identification, the identification of people within society. Hitler speaks about the common enemy in his book. Burke sees this as a slowly moving identification process that begins with a society split by, “we do this” and “they do that”. Then in times of turmoil you either conform to the stronger side or be condemned by the stronger side,( you choose who you identify with). Then fascism kicks in and you terminate the weaker end and then you must identify with one set of ideals. Fascism revolved around the idea of identification. Hitler had all the roads lead to Munich; he wanted it to be the center of the “Empire”. This is because fascism creates a superior identity and for it to work everybody needs to work together “the machine”, to support the capitol and in turn the one man running the show, Hitler. Of course in Hitler’s identification process it was an unfair system, your identification was inborn. You were born with your identification because it was determined by race, ethnicity, religion, skin color. 

Amplification through Simplification

We looked over this article in my Visual Rhetoric class over the summer, from a different viewpoint of course and that is what I find most interesting about this article. Before I was looking at how these things really work visually rather than how they function as a part of language, and now that I approached this article in such a way I found an immediate connection to agency. Using the idea of amplification through simplification, by simplifying the agent the theory is that the meaning will become clearer or more easily evident. Just as we are able to see ourselves in an image that is less clear because it is universal, are we not able to relate with an agent that we know less about? If we only know a basic background about them or just what they believe in or a little bit of their struggles rather than a full blown biography we can look at things in our own way rather than through their eyes. The message and meaning become more personal to us in this way, thus there is "amplification through simplification."


I felt power at my home was out in America’s retaliation to take a piece of my Pride..
Maybe because I took some of theirs after asking what if the “Flag” means nothing..
And I’m still not certain what it means to you.. or any other American who has been taught to honor it.. because it stands for what?
Does it stand for values that hold Families together? The Flag did not keep my Parents from divorce for 35 years..

My Cough

After unpacking the rhetoric behind Mein Kamf, it is much easier to understand Adolph Hitler's psychopathic conviction.

The most dominant question then becomes, did he buy it himself, or was the rhetoric performative, meant only to constrict and coerce the "feminine masses?"

Creating an entire system of justifications and rationalizations for such a morally void endeavor leads me to believe Hitler bought his own conviction.

Finding Yourself in the Cartoon

This was my first time reading McCloud's "Vocab of Comics" and to start I was quite pleased with his genre choice. Instead of reading just another pdf. text, it was a refreshing change up to read a comic strip. Just as McCloud claimed to be true, my brain saw a general version of myself in the cartoon explaining the different terms of comics (36). I could identify with the universal identification, childlike features, and simplicity (36) of the cartooned version of McCloud in the piece. And although I could identify with the "narrator" I still found no need to focus on the messenger as a real character (like what he ate for lunch, of his political views), instead I just concentrated on the messages he was attempting to present (37).

Images + Text

McCloud's Understanding Comics has been my favorite reading by far. I strongly believe in mixing text with visuals always. Every time I do a PE I try to accompany it with some sort of visual.  I have a firm belief that illustrations enhance understanding, this article confirmed it for me. Also, I may be wrong, but I found that all this talking about representation and icons/symbols reminded me of agent/cy. Every time I get on the topic of representation I can’t help but ask “what came first the chicken or the egg”… is it us that gives the meaning or does the subject matter represent something innately and we bring out understanding to form deeper meaning? I don’t really understand what McCloud meant by his definition of non-pictorials, I felt it was on the same page as all his other definitions.  McCloud’s others definitions (icon, symbolism…) were in sync with everything we have learned in class. Overall it was an interesting reading and gave me lots of concrete definitions that have solidified my understanding of what we have discussed in class. 

What do we see?

"Cartooning isn't just a way of drawing, it's a way of seeing!"

This particular statement is quite a bold one, in my opinion. It's a way of seeing, but it's also a way of interpretation. I think it is more of an interpretation than just what we see or what the reader sees. Yes, cartoons are drawings, so it is automatically a visual sensor, but it's creator, context, and formality all contributes to the way that the audience receives the cartoon. Cartoons have played a large role in our society- some characters have even become well, "famous" as if they are real people. Popular cartoons are used in ads, endorsements, etc. The use of cartoons in our every day lives is because of their ability to attract an audience and make the readers feel that this imaginary world can indeed be realistic, if you just imagine. The example with the random shapes is a great example of your imagination and that visuals are present as what they seem, but as a whole can be turned into anything you imagine. The random shapes, you know are random shapes to begin with, but then once you are told you can see them as faces with simple additions, you see them as faces. But, you still know that they are just random shapes, not faces.

Hitler's Rhetorical Power

After reading Burke's "The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle" I can see the power that rhetoric truly has over an audience. The statements that Hitler makes in his manifesto, Mien Kampf, are completely mad, but the way he presents them to the public, German people, is mesmerizing. Hitler followed a formula that has succeeded throughout history to claim power and pull the most over used super villain move in the book, try to take over the world. Burke states that, "an important unity in the Middle Ages (an ingredient that long did its unifying work despite the many factors driving towards disunity) was the symbolism of a common enemy. Men who can unite on nothing else can unite on the basis of a foe shared by all" (Burke 193). As you know by now the enemy Hitler created was the Jewish people.

McCloud's Vocabulary of Comics

I enjoyed McCloud a lot being not only an retired avid fan of Comics in some sort but, also because of the fact that I used to be an art student. Art is nothing more than language through a new set of symbols. I kept researching McCloud just to try and decipher his thought processes in relation to our whole anti-signification point.

Comics are iconic images that are used to represent ideas, images, or words. The best thing about comics is no matter how simple or complex they are in resemblance, they can  still draw on their points due to their image capabilities. Whether its a mona lisa or a stick figure the same image recognition of a girl is established. This is an example of our visual  recognition. Scott makes a valid point with words vs pictures. Pictures have the upper hand because they are read and "received" whereas words are spoken, heard and perceived. Thus, the silly notion that comics are childish forms of entertainment is quite sad because they actually can be better than our usual language.

The Flipside

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" was one of the more intriguing texts that I have come across. Since I began learning about WWII, I always wondered how such a horrible person ended up in position of high power. Hitler's use of the common word allowed for people to be persuaded into thinking he was the leader Germany needed. It wasn't his stature or his appearance that placed him in power, it was his rhetoric. We find more often than not a "casual" spin on a term or a phrase can say one thing but in reality mean another- unfortunately this form of Rhetoric has severe consquences.


As a child, waking up early on Saturday afternoons to watch cartoons was one of my favorite things to do. I'd pour myself a massive bowl of cereal and sit for an hour or two, watching classic cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Roadrunner, Tasmanian Devil, etc. Often times, I'd find myself relating to the different characters and the situations they'd find themselves in. Usually, in humorous fashion, they'd find a way to resolve their problems. In McCloud's "Vocabulary of Comics," he talks about the power cartoons have and how they have the ability to make the viewer relate to its characters.

In the few art classes I've taken in my life, they stress to sometimes not make our work so complicated, as it keeps the viewer from being able to relate to what we're trying to portray. McCloud states in his book that simplicity works best because the meaning of work can be more clear. When characters or situations are no so complex, we're able to see ourselves as the characters and to be able to enjoy a story more.

Speaking Through and Talking To: Heteroglossia

I have re-read the excerpt of Bahktin's "Discourse in the Novel," the section of Heteroglossia in the novel beginning with "Heteroglossia, once...this process of becoming," time and time again to fully understand this concept of double-voiced discourse. While I understand this notion that this form of heteroglossia serves to express an author's intentions through the speech of a character within the novel, I become confused when Bahktin mentions the refracted discourse of an entire genre. The concept that both the character's discourse is refracted and his or her meaning interrelated to that of the refracted discourse of the author (or narrator), especially in the examples Bahktin provides such as comic, ironic, and parodic discourse, can be understood with unpacking but I fail to understand the discourse of the genre and its interrelatedness to that of the narrator and the character. Perhaps I do not understand well enough of the intentions of a particular genre and that is why I am having such difficulty.

personal projections

I have to begin by saying that this has easily been my favorite reading so far. The vehicle in which McCloud chose to publish his work could not have been more ideal – this emphasized by a point McCloud makes on page 36, when he asks if we would have paid attention to what he was saying if he looked more realistic than the cartoon form he gave himself. And honestly? I wouldn’t. Just like this could not have made me think the same way if it had been presented in a typical essay/article format.

In another blog post by Huong Le, I found the connection between Welling’s “Ecoporn” and McClouds “Comics” to be interesting; we as humans are automatically wired to see ourselves in everything, from the face we see in a car to the decapitated cow we saw in the PETA ad. But is this projection of ourselves out of a desire to be empathetic or because we’re so selfish we can’t connect with anything unless we see ourselves in their shoes?

McCloud's Vocabulary of Comics

I had read this piece before in another class, right before reading Maus. So I liked going back over it before Persepolis. Sometimes comics can be written off as superficial, so I like that McCloud shows that there's more to it than that. There's a reason why symbols and icons affect us the way they do. I think that some of his ideas can work in novels, too, though with different results. For example, McCloud states that the simpler a character is drawn, the more a reader can become them, or step into their shoes. When a character in a novel is made like a blank slate for the reader to project themselves onto, it tends to be frowned upon.

Simple Cartooning

In McCloud's "Vocabulary of Comics," he discusses how cartooning has a special way of allowing the reader or observer to become the comic. The idea that cartoons are simplified down to their basic core appearance allows the audience to identify with the character and become one with the cartoon. Before he gets to his main point of discussing the concept of cartoons and their power, he first clears some things up with basic definitions of terms, to make things more understandable for his audience.

His first "vocabulary" term is icon. He states that an icon is "any image used to represent a person, place, thing or idea" (pg 27). Under icon, there are many other sub-categories, one of them being symbols. These are the images that are used to represent concepts, ideas and philosophies. There are also different icons of language, science, and communication. These are the practical icons. Another category of icons are pictures, which are "images designed to actually resemble their subjects" (pg 27). He goes on to say that with pictures, meaning is "fluid and variable" according to appearance; they differ from actual real life appearance to varying degrees. By listing these vocabulary terms, McCloud is able to educate the audience with ideas that are relevant to his main subject: Cartooning.

Seeing Ourselves in Others

Reading McCloud's "Understanding Comics," the first thing that struck me was its similarity to Welling's "Ecoporn." On pages 32 and 33, McCloud says that humans inexplicably see ourselves in inanimate objects. "We humans are a self-centered race. We see ourselves in everything. We assign identities and emotions where none exist. And we make the world over in our image (32-33)." Welling writes on page 57 of Ecoporn, "[e]copornography is a type of visual discourse made up of highly idealized, anthropomorphized views of landscapes and nonhuman animals. [...] these images are often composed or manipulated to stress their subjects' innate similarities to the human body and to human social and power structures[.]" They both suggest that humans cannot feel a connection to nonhuman animals/objects without anthropomorphizing them, and that transitions us into the idea that icons are often vague so that they can be more relatable. For the English major this also ties in with Ong's "The Writer's Audience is Always Fiction." The idea is that an audience will lose interest if they cannot relate to the character. You must know your audience well enough to give them information that they can use to imagine themselves in your text, or else you may lose them.

How Hitler exploited rhetoric

It can easily be assumed that an individual who posesses an avid skill in the field of public speaking also posesses an avid ability to shape his or her rhetorical dialogue to agree with and suit the perceived needs and ambitions of the  public to which he or she delivers a speech. In Burke's "The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle," the ability of one who posesses both an articulate rhetorical prowess and the force of conviction to aid in the communication of the individual's view or belief can have a disasterous effect upon a world which fails to recognize the danger of an experienced rhetorician motivated by malicious intentions.

The conversation of Hands.

If I remember correctly, these blogs are to explore ideas and concepts we are either struggling with, or are still discovering. I want to devote this blog to an epiphany I had the other day in relation to the idea of symbols, signs, and words. The question has been posed to the class many times of whether or not language or even communication requires words and symbols. I had a moment this weekend where I communicated when a guy across the street on his bike, he had rode through half of a light and was waiting for myself and another car to go. He could not see that our light was red, however, and through very basic symbols (pointing and waving) I was able to get him to come to the realization that the light was in fact red for us and he had ride of way. Right afterwards I realized what had happened in that moment; even if he didn’t speak English at all, we still would have been able to have that moment of communication.

How to Kill People by: Barthes, Burke, Derrida and Foucault

It's a tricky thing; as a symbol, as sign, as tool, as instrument, as is what it will be, but for that, or whatever we have made it out to be in our papers, language has/is, power/agency. To this effect, its reflexive nature, its self performance (Barthes), its manipulation of the heteroglot (Bakhtin), has with combined effort the ability to conglomerate itself to whatever mold the castor cast; casting itself even, as Burke might suggest, into the realm of symbolism.


In McCloud's the Vocabulary of Comics it brought me back to other readings of his as well as some concepts covered in another class I'm currently taking, Visual Rhetoric. By McCloud saying the word icon is representative of any given noun that allows the reader to impart meaning on whatever he leads them to see as the icon. His example of the letter M and the peace sign is a clear indication the people present that icon with meaning. The letter M means virtually nothing to me; it doesn't affect my school, family, friends or anything. However, as soon as seeing M as an icon, I impart meaning with words like Mom, Modern, Music, etc. Words that I frequently use, ideas that I frequently think that involve that icon become my thoughts. Same thing with the peace sign, I immediate impart the idea of peace, a more high-brow concept than a circle with lines in it would have any reason to portray. In my visual rhetoric class we talk about the difference between signs, symbols, and pictures. I believe, in this case, McCloud would most closely relate icon to the term symbol. A symbol as defined in my other class, is one that has meaning but it the meaning has little to do with what it actually, aesthetically looks like. I think McCloud would agree with that concept and I think that is the idea he is getting across. 


This comic, The Vocabulary of Comics, reminded me of things we have talked about in class before.  We’ve talked about things and ideas that represent things.  Like if we look at a picture of a pen, then it is a picture not a pen because it is not the actual thing.  McCloud talks about this a lot in his comic.  He starts off talking about icons and their meanings.  First off, McCloud says that he is “using the word ‘icon’ to mean any image used to represent a person, place, thing or idea” (McCloud).  A subcategory of icons is symbols.  Symbols “are the images we use to represent concepts, ideas and philosophies” (McCloud).  There are also “icons of Language, Science and Communication” which are “icons of the practical realm” (McCloud).  Lastly, there are icons that we know as pictures which are “images designed to actually resemble their subjects” (McCloud).  McCloud goes on to talk about these different types of icons and how they have different meanings and representations.  This ties back to a lot of what we talk about in class in regards to language and ideas.  Comics also add more to to Rhetoric because it not only utilizes words but also icons, like McCloud talked about in the beginning of his comic.

October 7, 2012

Looking at Non-Pictorial Icons

In Mcloud's "The Vocabulary of Comics" I found that I disagreed (unless I missed his point) with his description of non-pictorial icons. McCloud says that in "non pictorial icons, meaning is fixed and absolute. Their appearance doesn't affect their meaning because they represent invisible ideas' (McCloud 28). The picture example used was that of the letter M and a peace sign. I want to focus on letters in general. McCloud says that this is a non-pictorial example. How can anything not be a "pictorial example," especially letters. Everything is an image. Words, letters, pictures, photographs. Everything is some kind of visual that we look at. Back to the letter example though. Think about sports teams. Often fans show their support for their team by donning team apparel. Separately, the letters F,S, and U may not represent anything, but together they create "FSU" and which might bring to mind a representation of Tallahassee, our football team, or school spirit. How then can letters not be pictorial icons? Letters create words which create meaning or transmit an idea. These ideas are not "invisible ideas."

What McCloud led me to discover about the Viewer

The most striking section in McCloud's "Chapter Two: The Vocabulary of Comics" is on page 30:

This section reminded me of so many of our readings that it made a lot of things fall into place. Although this isn't his main point, I think McCloud is trying to call attention to the role of the viewer. Many times, we can overlook our own involvement with a text, especially a visually based one. We can view it as a form of art which takes skill, deserves respect, and therefore we aren't meant to interact with it, just observe it. Other times, we can over accentuate the role of words and under-mention the role of the image part of a text. Calling back our learnings from the "Agent/cy" unit, the text can not exist with only a grand, all-powerful Author (Barthes). The author must fictionalize the audience to even write, and the readers must then become a part of that audience in order to gain meaning (Ong).

Who Is Waldo?

"If who I am matters less, maybe what I say will matter more" (McCloud 37).

Out of McCloud's entire chapter on the Vocabulary of Comics, this is one of the main lines that stuck out to me. This idea, that maybe if the speaker/character is less detailed (and therefore has a more amplified meaning), the voice or the idea which it symbolizes will have more of an impact on the reader. This concept is eerily similar to Barthes (who I am clearly obsessed with - I keep mentioning him in my posts!), who stressed the death of the author, or more simply put, a kind of simplicity and anonymity that is characteristic not only of writers, but also of cartoons. We often interpret cartoons or other icons in terms of what they represent rather than what they actually are. Take, for example, Waldo (as in "Where's Waldo?"). Waldo has a very simplistic look. He wears a striped shirt and hat, glasses, and blue pants. However, he represents a very specific purpose. His clothes are noticeable enough so that when you are scouring a page in a book trying to find him within a crowd of nameless characters, he will stick out just enough so as not to leave you defeated. Waldo's appearance may be simple, but his meaning is certainly amplified. If Waldo's features were more detailed and unique instead of so uniform, he may not be as popular as he is today.

Society: the Double Voice of Today

As we know it, Structuralism “begins with the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, an early 20th century Swiss linguist who argued that language should be studied as if it were frozen in time and cut transversely like a leaf.” Should we dissect language and take it apart, word by word, sentence by sentence? That is what makes language as intricate as it is.

It gets me thinking more about Lakoff and Johnson’s views on metaphors. Language acts metaphorical and metaphors structure our perceptions. Do we unconsciously structure our language with metaphors? Do we use structuralism to strengthen and make our conversations much more legitimate? I believe we do. Words are such an integrate part of our lives, and not only words, but language as a whole. We need it to communicate and make our thoughts and opinions heard. All these signs that we need to function in society are all intricately thought out to have a purpose that sticks.

Icons, Cartoons, and You!

I genuinely enjoyed reading this passage from McCloud's Understanding Comics. I enjoyed how the author was able to use the medium of the graphic novel and visual arts to explain his theories about cartoons and how that relates to human psychology. Seeing his points literally illustrated on the page helped me to understand this, at times, difficult concept. The other rhetoricians that we have studied in this course could learn a thing or two from McCloud and his process.

The Ambiguity of Words and Symbols: The Gift and The Curse

McCloud makes the important statement, "By stripping down an image to its essential meaning, an artist can simplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can’t." In short, he is saying that realistic art is too descriptive to convey a simple meaning. I like to relate this back to Locke, and his discussion of words and their natural (or lack thereof) roots. John Locke believed the problems with words lie in many words' incapability to be stripped down and related to nature. Cartoon images, on the other hand, can always be stripped down and related to by the reader, because they are not dependent on anything. Whereas a word is dependent on the user's understanding, and can therefore be comprehended in several different ways, a smiley face image can only be seen as a smiley face image. Does that mean symbols and images have emerged as the clearest form of communication? Not exactly.

Cartoons… Magical powers? :)

Cartoons… Magical powers? J

When I read the first couple of pages of McCloud’s “Vocabulary of Comic” it initially brought me back to many examples that we discussed in class. I was immediately drawn back to the definition that we had in discussion in class from Kenneth Burke on the word Symbolic Action. The first page of the passage that I read, McCloud presented us with so many symbolic figures and went on to convince us or sway us that those things that we are seeing on the papers that we are reading are not them. That the cow was not a cow. The leaf was not a leaf. More or less it is ink on a paper depicting the image. Which leads to the word Symbolic action. Symbolic action as we discussed in class according to Burke is “any poetic or verbal act that became representative of a social trend…the difference between practical and symbolic act. They were enactment and that through form, content, gesture of an attitude; they eventually became individuation of a common paradigm.

Are you a symbol or an icon??

When it came to the reading I seemed to fully agree with McCloud on his views of words and symbols. I especially loved it when he made clear examples such as the car running into another car and how a victim would react. I too like most people would explain to an officer what occurred by using the words he/she hit me. With these readings I like to make sure I understand the complex concepts being discussed by coming up with relatable examples. So I know nurses use the terminology the IV blew. When you brake down this sentence in literal terms it seems as though a vein has the ability to blow wind with its imaginary lips. When really the nurses are stating that the vein has raptured. Same with my tire blew it has no lips it has just popped/burst. I’m pretty sure I understood this concept but when McCloud moved onto cartooning I am not positive I grasped the concept.

A Cartoon is Me

Comics are fascinating because all a pictorial icon has to do is “focus on specific details (30)” and the mind automatically assumes what it is because it is a symbol. Being a symbol doesn’t mean that it matches the image exactly, it just means that it has “universality (30)” or similar features. I found it interesting that Mccloud says “we see ourselves in everything (33)” because I have found that this is very true. That is why “we assign identities and emotions where none exist (33).” He proves this point when he describes how “we become the car (38).” When people get hit by another car they usually say “hey you hit me” and I never thought about it before, but that is exactly what I would have said and I am sure many others would agree.

Icons and Cartoons

I've read Scott McCloud before for another class, and in fact own the book this excerpt was taken from, and remember enjoying it very much. However, it is always an experience going back over concepts after you have learned more and gained more experience with the subject matter. When I first read Understanding Comics, I remember my mind being blown; I had never encountered these concepts before, had never thought to ask these questions. The result at the end of the class was me leaving with a very different view of the world and how I perceive the signs and symbols in it. Looking back over it again, I am once again floored by the ease at which McCloud handles these concepts, and how simply the explanations come across to the audience. Finding faces in inanimate objects is something every human being on the planet can relate to having done, at least once, and it highlights the fact that our conceptions of ourselves and our identities are drawn with only the barest outlines.

A Novel

"The novel can be defined as a diversity of social speech types..."

This line for me depicts exactly what Bahktin believed the novel to be. In the excerpt that we read in class we found that Bahktin emphasized the stylistic molds that confined a lot of authors and how many authors have greatly restricted their works in order to fit into this appointed style that they felt they have had to stay within. In "Discourse in the Novel", Bahktin discussed the creative and stylistic freedom that novelist were allotted and how this freedom allowed authors to be better in a sense.

Words and Symbols

One of McCloud's discussion points is that whenever we see a cartoon or a figure, or many other things in life, we put ourselves in it. One of the examples he used for this was just a simple drawing of a circle with two dots and a line drawn at the bottom. What I was able to connect from his point was that not only do we unconsciously jump to conclusions with drawings, but we do the same thing with words too. I can type the word "chair", and in your mind an image pops up of an item with four legs, a cushion and a back which has the purpose of allowing people to sit in it. It's interesting how we have been trained to associate one thing to another simply by the use of symbols, pictures or words, and how we can even interweave all of them together.

Icons are Societies Certified Copies

I had already read Scott McCloud's The Vocabulary of Comics because I actually own the book where the chapter can be found: Understanding Comics. A second read was great though, in particular due to the fact last time I hadn't seen the Abbas Kiarostami film: Certified Copy.

The reason I bring this up is because one of the messages found within the film is one I think to be very relatable to this reading. McCloud explores the meaning of art and brings to light the fact that a lot of imagery isn't just one copy, but copies of copies. It brings into question the value of the "original" works. If there's one point that this piece by McCloud argues, it's that these "copies" can make just as much of an impact, or more of an impact, than the original. Think about it in the sense that no work is truly an "original." The Mona Lisa captures an image. The effect is similar to that of a photograph. Especially nowadays, photographs can be altered. So that brings the question to me, why the monetary value?

Mein Kampf and the Illusion of the Omnipotent and Invisible Enemy

Though it didn’t appear to be one of the more popular readings (and given the nature of the source material I can see why), I actually took an interest in Burke’s paper on the underlying rhetoric of Mein Kampf. Hitler’s book and the history that followed in its wake serve as a chilling testament to the power of rhetoric and the influence of the written word. It would be a waste of time for me to denounce the Nazi ideology as morally bankrupt as I doubt there is anyone in this class who needs to be convinced otherwise. Though from a modern perspective its racist and anti-Semitic overtones are exasperating, Mein Kampf masterfully weaves ideology and lived experience to give the impression that the two are merely components of a complete whole, “reality,” or the world of “reason” as Hitler construes it.

McCloud 10/7

I think Mclouds point in this comic is very interesting and something I have never truly considered before. The idea that we view inanimate objects as extensions of ourselves so much so that they become us is never something that I have noticed. For example, if someone was to hit my car I would probably tell the police that they hit me. However, this statement would be false because they never laid a hand on me, not once. Next you would probably say that their car hit me which, again, is false because that is saying that their car physical hit your body like they were running you over. Instead the correct acquisition would be to say that there car hit my car although in reality most people would never imagine to explain something in this manner because we are so in tuned to explain common properties that we own or are using has bodily extensions. Although, as he goes on to describe crutches as legs, silverware as hands, and glasses as eyes (pg39) I begin to doubt some of his statements. For example, I wear glasses and contacts on a regular basis, more than I drive my car at least, yet I would not consider them to be my eyes. If some were to hit my glasses I wouldn’t say hey you hit me or hey you hit my eyes, I would say hey you hit my glasses (or at least think it). So I believe that it may, more or less, depend on the person and their situation of what we view as an extension of ourselves.

What I Learned (while reading) About Novels

In doing the reading on novels, I discovered something very important about my interaction with the texts in class: I don’t know why any of them are important outside of the context of the course. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to understand them or get into them. What it means is that I find it difficult to really take anything away from any of them because I’m not sure what I could take away. The reading has become for me a required activity that I must do rather than a required activity that I know can help me to better my understanding of anything. What I wish is that I could understand how these texts apply to the average person’s everyday. Once I understand that, the reading will hopefully be easier, at least in terms of motivation and what I can hope to get from them.