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The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

Description: The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience ...
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Evans, Dennis F.

Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

Description: In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would ...
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Date: August 1999
Creator: Erickson, Stacy M.

Asleep in the Arms of God

Description: A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Clay, Kevin M.

Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature

Description: Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic deliberative discourse.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Youmans, Karen DeMent

From Skeletons to Orchards

Description: This thesis is a creative work that is segmented into three main phases in order to display the developing poetic growth and control in the work of Paul Andrew Thies. The first phase is titled "Skeletons and Rhinoceri." It was a phase where I focused on more classical forms of poetry, namely accentual and syllabical sonnets. This phase was greatly influenced by both Charles Baudelaire and William Butler Yeats. The second phase, titled "Clandestinies," was one in which I tried to develop a more dense form. Lord Byron and Pablo Neruda were the two main influences on my work at this time, largely in terms of imaginative exoticism and figurative energy. The third section of this thesis, titled "Graffiti in the Orchard," is an exploration of my current work as a poet. In this phase, Rainer Maria Rilke was the primary influence as I began to develop a more fluid and expressive style.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Thies, Paul Andrew

Night of No Exile

Description: Night of no Exile is a collection of poems preceded by a critical article entitled "‘Exile seems both a blessing and a curse': A Blissful Reading of Li-Young Lee's Poetry." That article discusses Lee's quest to achieve communication, truth, and transcendence through poetic language and concludes that he finally reaches his goal through a leap from narrative poetry to lyricism. The "exile" alluded to in the title of the article is not only geographic, but also interioran exile due to the natural limitations of all languages, and which can be bridged only in linguistic ways. Lee's solution to that problem (lyricism) turns his poetry into what Roland Barthes would call "a text of bliss," a text that manages to deeply destabilize language, while simultaneously achieving a new kind of meaning. In the main body of the manuscript, the first section contains short love lyrics. The second section, "Night of no Exile," is an attempt at the demanding genre of the longer lyric poem. The third section uses short lyrics to explore various topics, such as discovering one's identity, friendship and solidarity between women, family history, and childhood memories. Finally, the last section includes poems, four of them longer, attempting to combine narrative and lyric impulses in a way not unlike Li-Young Lee's experimentation with those two genres.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Jones, Marie C.

A Sensory Tour of Cape Cod: Thoreau's Transcendental Journey to Spiritual Renewal

Description: Predominantly darker than his other works, Cape Cod depicts Henry David Thoreau's interpretation of life as a struggle for survival and a search for salvation in a stark New England setting. Representing Thoreau's greatest test of the goodness of God and nature, the book illustrates the centrality of the subject of death to Thoreau's philosophy of life. Contending that Thoreau's journey to the Cape originated from an intensely personal transcendental impulse connected with his brother's death, this study provides the first in-depth examination of Thoreau's use of the five senses in Cape Cod to reveal both the eccentricities inherent in his relationship with nature and his method of resolving his fears of mortality. Some of the sense impressions in Cape Cod--particularly those that center around human death and those that involve tactile sensations--suggest that Thoreau sometimes tried to master his fears by subconsciously altering painful historical facts or by avoiding the type of sensual contact that aggravated the repressed guilt he suffered from his brother's death. Despite his personal idiosyncrasies, however, Thoreau persisted in his search for truth, and the written record of his journey in Cape Cod documents how his dedication to the transcendental process enabled him to surmount his inner turmoil and reconfirm his intuitive faith. In following this process to spiritual renewal, Thoreau begins with subjective impressions of nature and advances to knowledge of objective realities before ultimately reaching symbolic and universal truth. By analyzing nature's lessons as they evolve from Thoreau's use of his senses, this dissertation shows that Cape Cod, rather than invalidating Thoreau's faith, actually expands his transcendental perspective and so rightfully stands beside Walden as one of the fundamental cornerstones of his canon. In addition, the study proffers new support for previous psychoanalytical interpretations of Thoreau and his writings, reveals heretofore unrecognized historical ...
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Talley, Sharon

Toward a Rhetoric of Marketing for High-Tech Services

Description: The market for high-tech services is expanding, and writers will have to create more documents to market these services. Researchers note marked differences between traditional goods marketing and services marketing. A rhetorical framework for high-tech services marketing will give writers a tool for creating effective marketing messages. This study examines the five canons of rhetoric in their classical context, and then examines how the first professional teachers, the Sophists, used rhetoric to promote their services. The canons of rhetoric are then analyzed to show their modern significance. This study also considers visual rhetoric and how writers can use it effectively. This study shows that companies should promote service quality and strong service relationships through the rhetorical element of ethos. This study examines services marketing samples through a visual and verbal rhetorical framework, providing rhetorical insights that writers can use in their work.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Willerton, David Russell

What Spins Away

Description: What Spins Away is a novel about a man named Caleb who, in the process, of searching for a brother who has been missing for ten years, discovers that his inability to commit to a job or his primary relationships is both the result of his history with that older missing brother, and his own misconceptions about the meaning of that history. On a formal level, the novel explores the ability of traditional narrative structures to carry postmodern themes. The theme, in this case, is the struggle for a stable identity when there is no stable community against which or in relationship to an identity might be defined.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Irwin, Keith

Why Orville and Wilbur Built an Airplane

Description: This dissertation comprises two sections. The title section collects a volume of the author's original poetry, subdivided into four parts. The concerns of this section are largely aesthetic, although some of the poems involve issues that emerge in the introductory essay. The introductory essay itself looks at slightly over three centuries of poetry in English, and focuses on three representative poems from three distinct periods: the long eighteenth century and the Romantic period in England, and the Post-war period in the United States. John Dryden's translation of Ovid's "Cinyras and Myrrha," John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale," and James Dickey's "The Sheep Child," whatever their stylistic and aesthetic differences may be, all share a concern with taboo. Each of the poems, in its own way, embraces taboo while transgressing societal norms in order to effect a synthesis that merges subject and object in dialectical transcendence. For Dryden, the operative taboo is that placed on incest. In his translation of Ovid, Dryden seizes on the notion of incest as a metaphor for translation itself and views the violation of taboo as fructifying. Keats, in his Nightingale ode, toys with the idea of suicide and reconstructs a world both natural and mythic on the ephemeral foundation of the nightingale's song. Closer to our own time, James Dickey, in "The Sheep Child," envisions a circumstance that forges a union, however transient, between the human and the natural worlds---a union that, in violation of religious taboo, directs gentle parody at the merger of the human world with the divine. Each of the poets employs, in Keats' words, "negative capability" as a tool with which to escape the prescribed order of existence. This ability to "live with uncertainties" beyond the world's conventions fuels the poets' invocation of epiphany, of satori, of the transcendent moment.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Jenkinson, John S.