Rhetorical and critical theory Burke Aristotle Foucault Bitzer

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Instructions: Respond to two of the following questions (and only two). In your responses, be
sure to interact with our course readings by paraphrasing and quoting as appropriate. You do
not need a works cited page, but you should use in-text citations (Example: “Here is your
quote,” (Burke 55).) There is no length requirement; focus on fully answering the question and
supporting your thesis. Late or plagiarized exams will receive a zero.

READINGS TO REFER TO- Read from Aristotle’s On Rhetoric:

Read from Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives:
_a_rhetoric_of_motives_1950.pdf (55 – 59)
– Read from Burke, Language as Symbolic
e_Terministic_Screens.pdf (44 – 49)

Read Foucault from Order of Discourse
e.pdf (pages 52 – 59)

1. Burke quotes Aristotle when he says, “It is not hard to praise Athenians among
Athenians.” (Rhetoric of Motives 55) How does this illustrate the concept of
identification? Then, give a specific example of how an advertisement uses identification
to sell a product. (Include a link to or image of the advertisement.)

2. Both Burke and Foucault discuss the ways that rhetoric divides, particularly in terms of
language. Using these theorists as support, give an example of how political rhetoric
both unites and divides us. Think about colors, language, and symbols.

3. Citing Bitzer, discuss the exigence that led to a recent social movement (Black Lives
Matter, Womens March, Occupy Wall Street, March for Science, or something else).
Then, discuss how Burke’s concept of terministic screens factored into your opinion on
this social movement.

4. What do you believe to be the most important issue in contemporary medical rhetorics
or social justice rhetorics or feminist rhetorics? Discuss, using Foucault as support, how
discourse surrounding this issue attempts to disrupt or maintain power structures.

5. Perform a rhetorical analysis of the following speech using Aristotle’s modes of
persuasion. You do not need to cover everything. Be sure to explain its kairos:

Remarks by President Barack Obama on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality
Rose Garden, June 26, 2015
Good morning. Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created
equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with
the realities of changing times — a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every
single American.

Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one
step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there
are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a

This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage
equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection
of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they

This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty
hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage,
legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move [to] or even visit
another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex
couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.
In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we
commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined
into law by this decision.

This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for
gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for
their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the
allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for
change to come.

And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already
believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.

My administration has been guided by that idea. It’s why we stopped defending the so-called
Defense of Marriage Act, and why we were pleased when the Court finally struck down a
central provision of that discriminatory law. It’s why we ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” From
extending full marital benefits to federal employees and their spouses, to expanding hospital
visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, we’ve made real progress in advancing
equality for LGBT Americans in ways that were unimaginable not too long ago.

I know change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so
long. But compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been so quick. I know that
Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some
cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news
should be mindful of that fact; recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to
religious freedom.

But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often
painfully, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have
come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join
them. Because for all our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we could ever
be alone. That’s always been our story.

We are big and vast and diverse; a nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs,
different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or
what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you
can write your own destiny.

We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit
of happiness.

There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every
American. But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more

That’s the consequence of a decision from the Supreme Court, but, more importantly, it is a
consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who
stood up, who came out, who talked to parents — parents who loved their children no matter
what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to
believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is

What an extraordinary achievement. What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can
do extraordinary things. What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small
actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards
and change the world.

Those countless, often anonymous heroes — they deserve our thanks. They should be very
proud. America should be very proud.
Thank you.


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