AuthorWinslow, Andrew J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThough Aristotle is famous for defining three persuasive appeals in his treatise On Rhetoric, I argue that a fourth appeal exists in the pages of The Poetics. In addition to character (ethos), logic (logos), and emotion (pathos), the fourth appeal is to narrative (mythos), or the substantive body of values contained within the socio-cultural elements of a given culture. Using the works of Joseph Campbell, Kenneth Burke, and Roland Barthes as touchstones, the goal of this dissertation is to offer a systematic analysis of this appeal. Because human beings at once function with attention to the whole of lived experience, the myth appeal touches on social norms (the assumed reality), ideology (the lived and presumed reality), and hyperreality (where symbols become a reality unto themselves). The substance of the myth appeal is narrative, or undercurrents of stories used in the place of argument. Here, I offer four examples to display these tensions; the first is an "action-figure" toy line to illustrate how an existing mythology from comics conveys ideological values; the second is a post 09/11 comic book series which used hyperreality to critique social norms; the third is Alan Sokal's academic hoax , which showed a cultural tension across all three areas; and finally, a survey of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on privacy to discuss the emerging mythology of abortion. I conclude with a systematic approach to myth, and a brief discussion of additional persuasive appeals.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English