Monday, January 12, 2009

Enthymeme, part 1

January 12th, and 85 degrees. How can I not take a nap? And then if I nap, and don't sleep, how can I stop from staring at the ceiling, thinking how strange it is that 10 years have passed since I started this collegiate process? Trying to imagine the rule we measure ourselves by. Trying to argue with myself, alternately, one way or the other.

No, the "argument with myself" is a dying metaphor. Argument is finished, and now is the finding of the wherewithall to open my eyes in the land I've gotten myself to.

Does that way of saying satisfy? I'm in the business of finding satisfying ways of saying. Existential rhetoric to a small audience -- myself -- trying to persuade me toward a course of action: recognizing that the first stage is over, and the second needs a pair of legs and time.

Life as journey is an old trope, and one that usually revives me from any mild stupor.

And what would one call this weaving of a web of value-laden oppositions, temporal and figurative, some sincere, some slightly ironic, all leaning towards a final memorable climax, a turn, a last jab of the rhetorician to seal in the mind and heart of his hearer the position, emotional and rational, he wants him to have on the whole situation?

One would call it -- at least according to Jeffrey Walker, professor of Rhetoric & Writing at the University of Texas at Austin -- the enthymeme.

As I mentioned before, Walker had his reasons for defining thumos the way he did: it allows him to make his argument about the nature of the enthymeme. The second half of his treatise on classical rhetoric, Rhetoric & Poetics In Antiquity, tries to agree with and expand on what Aristotle meant when he said that the enthymeme is "the body of persuasion."

And I'll continue on that, but the Yellow Warbler in my Audubon clock has just announced that it's time for my meeting. Click the one below, and find yourself a little happier.

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