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ERIC Number: EJ1081791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7502
"Can You Hear Me Now, Ms. Monster?": Anger, "Thumos," and First-Year Composition
Baecker, Diann
Composition Forum, v17 Fall 2007
There are not many English words for "anger." There's "wrath" and "ire," although no one uses "ire" anymore and hardly anyone "wrath." There's "frustration," "resentment," and "indignation," but they don't have the emotional intensity of "anger," a word that can slide so easily into "rage" and "violence" and, thus, "tragedy" and "horror." This paucity of words suggests something about the unwillingness to confront anger, the belief that one should count to ten, turn the other cheek, walk away. Diann Baecker says what is needed is another word for anger. Aristotle had two words to describe anger: "orge"--an irrational, strong emotion whose end is revenge--and "thumos"--a more rational emotion. She goes on to argue that adding the Greek concept of "thumos" to classroom discussions of logos, ethos, and pathos can provide a means for productively harnessing an emotion that is strong enough to see students through the chaos of the writing process. Baecker describes a particular assignment where rather than asking her students to produce an essay or word collage, she uses a visual-essay assignment that begins with literary analysis and that allows space for students' emotions in a way that is consistent with the kind of academic writing she wants from them. While certainly personal, the writing that results from the assignment centers on the question of voice and authority, questions as important to academic writing as to personal narratives.
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A