LIT 501 – Week 4 – Rhetorical Precis

Kinneavy, James J. “The Basic Aims of Discourse.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 129-139.

In the academic journal article, “The Basic Aims of Discourse,” James Kinneavy explores the purpose of discourse in different disciplines of writing, i.e. creative and academic. Kinneavy explores the impact and aims of different types of composition through literature and articles of various authors, as well as the author’s own experience writing and teaching.  Kinneavy explores different types of writing in order to show that teachers and writers should consider the aspects in each to increase the effectiveness of every writer in any discipline.  Kinneavy says “The important lesson to be drawn from this almost fearful symmetry is that no composition program can afford to neglect any of these basic aims of discourse” (137), which is something I think happens quite often in academia. Learning how to form an argument in a creative way, or how to write a story through an academic lens, can only aid in the process of writing and make for stronger writing overall.

D’Angelo, Frank J. “An Ontological Basis for a Modern Theory of the Composing Process.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 141-150.

In the academic article, “An Ontological Basis for a Modern Theory of the Composing Process,” Frank D’Angelo argues that the end goal of composition is “to guide individuals who are distinct and separate toward greater unity and identification of purpose and action” (148). Berlin develops his argument through a literary analysis, especially “Tradition and Theory in Rhetoric” by S.M. Halloran, which D’Angelo cites several times.  D’Angelo’s purpose is to explore the history of composition in order to predict where he believes the act of writing will ultimately end and/or achieve.  The article is philosophical in nature, and could be directed at that discipline, teachers, or other writers. I think the article is interesting as a philosophical thought exercise, and could be the basis of any number of science fiction stories.  I immediately thought of “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang when D’Angelo when D’Angelo said, “we must envision humankind as a single organism, growing, changing, and developing in a single direction” (144). I think it is a great philosophical exercise, but unity and an endpoint of singular communication ultimately means losing the myriad languages, means, and methods that exist today.

Berlin, James A. “Contemporary Composition.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 255-270.

In the academic article, “Contemporary Composition,” James Berlin argues that teachers need to be more aware of the writing practices they teach to students so that both the teacher and student can be more effective rhetoricians.  Berlin explores his argument through various rhetoricians, picking and choosing elements which he believes most important and effective to carry forward through to his goal. The author’s purpose is to create building blocks of rhetoric in order to foster students and teachers who do more than trace writing based on what has come before.  Berlin writes to teachers, hoping to build a system that will change and engage the way writing is taught.  Berlin believes in the process-oriented writing process as opposed to the product, which I think is the best process. In citing so many canon philosophers and teachers, I think Berlin appeals to traditionalists, and makes a shift in thought process and epistemology easier to accept.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s