ERIC Number: ED332211
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Stifled Voices; Clashing Ideologies: Student Arguments and the American Jeremiad.
The current public debate between the images of the smiling war hero and of the grimacing Vietnam veteran provide opportunities to define two discourse communities that manifest themselves in students' written discourse. These can be seen as akin to the first American jeremiads, which were Puritan treatises written by seventeenth century religious leaders, often drawing upon the Book of Jeremiah. As in the early jeremiads, students often argue with a sense of urgency, employ emotional appeals, assume a homogeneous audience, and argue in a dualistic manner. Like the early jeremiad writers, students frequently look back to the past for answers to current problems. Unfortunately, "correct" conceptions of history do not exist, and the rhetoric and dualism of the jeremiad do not fit many academicians' concepts of academic discourse. Students must be taught that different discourse communities make varied rhetorical demands. This can be achieved by: (1) discussing the current language of sloganeering politicians; (2) having students point out jeremiads in each other's papers; (3) encouraging students to back emotional assertions with academic evidence; and (4) asking students for definitions of shallow political terms. Such steps are necessary in preventing students from clinging to easy dualisms that mar extended argument. (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: American Jeremiads; Rhetorical Devices
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).