NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1097385
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Constructing a Writer's Voice: Ethos, Tim Cahill, and the Jonestown Massacre
Miller, Rich
CEA Forum, v36 n1 Win-Spr 2007
For over twenty years, Tim Cahill's writing has appeared in popular publications such as "Outside" and "Rolling Stone," and in many academic contexts, ranging from remedial and freshman composition textbooks to the use of his novels and short story collections in a variety of upper division literary courses. Cahill, then, is a "bridge" writer who has crossed over from the mainstream to academics, or vice versa. When describing the style of his own writing Cahill often refers to it as travel or adventure writing that tests the limits of reality. Cahill frequently writes about such high-adrenaline topics as skydiving for the first time or rafting down a Himalayan river. His place in English Studies, especially in the genre of nonfiction prose, is fitting as his writing entertains and challenges the reader on a variety of levels that may only be understood through employing a variety of literary and critical techniques. To date, no treatment of Cahill's writing voice exists that employs a rhetorical approach, specifically an analysis of how Cahill creates a convincing ethos. One work that is particularly suited for such an analysis is his "In the Valley of the Shadow of Death" where one may glimpse Cahill going through a physical and metaphorical exploration of the darker side of humanity in an account of the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Through several levels of discourse and a conscious effort to involve the reader in the scene around him, Cahill impresses his own values in ways that may not be so obvious to the reader. Cahill's skillful construction of good characters and good will create a strong reader-writer relationship; with this he goes on to demonstrate good sense, and in so doing leads readers to share his conclusions about Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre. To access the working behind his writing voice, or in other words, to understand why Cahill's writing voice works the way it does, this essay explores the classical notion of "ethos" and its component parts of "arĂȘte," "eunoia," and "phronesis."
College English Association. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Guyana
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A