An Attempt At A Rhetorical Ana Essay

This essay has a total of 1083 words and 4 pages.

An Attempt At A Rhetorical Ana


The renowned Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye held a series of radio broadcasts, in
which he presents his beliefs of literatures place in the world. In the sixth of his
lectures, Frye culminates his study of the relevance of literature in the world. He
restates his theme, and expands from "strict critical theory into the wider and more
practical aspects of a literal training" (133). He builds on his earlier talks and tries
to not only conclude his earlier ideas, but also to introduce a greater understanding of
the nature of literature and the imagination.

Frye begins by redefining his audience, or at least who he thinks they are. He tries to
dissuade the notion of speaking to his audience as the literary elite. He says he is
speaking to the audience as "consumers" (134). He tries to overcome the notion that the
studying of literature is not a necessary part of the process of learning to read and
write.

He stresses the importance of the imagination and it's appearance in our reality. He states:
The fundamental job of the imagination in ordinary life, then, is to produce, out of the
society we have to live in, a vision of the society we want to live in. (140)

He provides several examples to advance his claim. The cliche receives much of his
attention. He emphases that not only does Communism rely heavily on the cliche to cloud
the minds of it's followers, but we have our own also. He says the imagination is what
allows us to realize that we can not take cliches literally, but to see beyond them. He
speaks of government jargon or "gobbledegook" (sic) (142), the language used to avoid the
actual conveyance of information. He uses as an example, "anti-personnel bombs," bombs
that kill men, but jargon puts it into a more poetic perspective. In every example, he
shows that the imagination is used to take us beyond the literal meaning of a word or
phrase.

In his final talk, Frye takes more casual stance. Instead of standing at high on the
podium with 20,000 people, he talks to a class of 30. Throughout the talks he speaks to,
as he calls them, a "blind audience." It seems, however, his tone shifts for his final
broadcast and takes a more, and dare I say, neighborly approach. Yet, he can afford to at
this stage, as he is only restating ideas he has already presented. Here, all he has to do
is make sure he makes his point and it is clear to the reader. His tone is significantly
friendlier, which I attribute to several reasons. This is the sixth broadcast, those
listening are the ones most interested in what he has to say, and having already spent
five evenings (assuming they were broadcast at night) with Frye, they would be familiar
with him by now. In addition, he may have became more comfortable with broadcasting to his
"blind audience" (assuming this was his first broadcasting experience). Finally, his tone
warms, as does anyone who is this far into a speech. Typically, when those giving speeches
reach their conclusion, they become more animate and excited about the topic. It is the
same as runners speed up on the home stretch of a marathon, they realize they are almost
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