Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Savanna's Perspective on The Gettysburg Address

 Hi! I changed my font color, I know, I'm sorry for the confusion. But today in AP English we read The Gettysburg Address out together, and reviewed it.
I decided that since the last post was entirely negative, and Aristotle sucks, I'd let you hear me write in a good mood, about none other than my favorite president, Mr. Abraham Lincoln! *crowd goes insane* That's right, he wrote the Gettysburg Address. If you didn't know that... let me ask "Why exactly are you reading an AP English Blog? Are you one of those really bored internet dweebs? Or have you been living under a rock?"

The speech starts out "Four score and seven years ago..."
(yes, this is THAT speech, rock dwellers) Now if you didn't know, a score is actually 20 years, so everyone's favorite prez is actually saying "87 years ago" he just wanted to sound really awesome, which he accomplished well. He's referring to 1776, in which year, the Declaration of Independence was signed. In the beginning he uses the words dedicated and conceived a lot which makes me think that these were probably 2 of his favorite words. Good choice, Abe, dedicated is one of mine too!
Just kidding. He's actually using these words to invoke pathos, emotional response, from his audience. He must have read Aristotle too. He tells about the new country (America, duh) being in a "great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so concieved and dedicated, can long endure."

What he means here is that a nation based on the words "all men created equal" may have a hard time surviving. He was right. This country faces a lot of turmoil for those exact words. Just look at petitions of basically any kind. Back then, it was for African American rights. Now, it's for gay rights. So many arguments have been pulled from these words, yet so many wrongs have been righted because of them.

Lincoln then discussed how no matter what they do, they can not make Gettysburg a more hallowed ground than it already is, because of the sacrifices of American Soldiers on that soil. Then he says "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

OH THE IRONY! We'll remember Lincoln's words forever, although everyone has forgotten about the other speeches of that day. He tells us that we need to honor the men that died in Gettysburg, and he closes his short speech with what I call a VERY EPIC CLOSING LINE.

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we highly resolve that those dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from earth."

If you haven't ever read the whole speech, go read it, because it's an important part of history, and it's GOOD, and besides, it's short. Lincoln is awesome. Those guys in Gettysburg are awesome. Now go appreciate it.

Savanna out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heather & Savanna's Perspective on The Art of Rhetoric

So Savanna and I decided that in order to make this year's AP English class epic, we should blog about some of the books we read. The first blog we're doing together, since we're together right now... =D
The book we were supposed to read this summer was The Art of Rhetoric, by Aristotle. Technically, neither Savanna or I really read the whole book, but we just completed a project on it so we read enough to finish said project.
I, Heather, think that this was the most boring book in the history of the planet, with perhaps the exception of Billy Budd by Herman Mellville. While Aristotle makes some good points about speeches, and audiences of speeches, and the speakers of speeches, I feel that his ranting on and on about every point is completely unnecessary. In our presentation we commented several times about his repetition, which is even something discussed in the book as an element of emphasis.
Our three main points of the presentation are "what makes an audience listen to a speaker or whatever", "pity makes people like you," and "the epiclogue"... excuse me, the epilogue. I'd go further into detail about these points, but I have a strange feeling that a) no one gives a crap, b) no one is reading this anyway, or c)...maybe I just don't feel like explaining every little thing.
Anyway, onward to Savanna about her opinion and analysis of the book.

Ok, so I read... pieces... of this stupid book. And you know what I think? I think it could be about a third of the size it is if Aristotle didn't repeat so much crap "for emphasis". Now put the book in plain english, and you've got a pamphlet instead of a book. You wanna know the basics? I'll tell you everything you can learn from The Art of Rhetoric. Right now. In an easy, numbered list.
1-Speech takes an audience.
2-For the audience to listen, you have to use Common Sense & Virtue.
3-Good Will is the same thing as Virtue.
4-Repeat stuff for emphasis.
5-Pity makes people like you.
6-People won't pity you if they're too happy or sad with their own lives. Find a content medium.
7-Make your audience hate your opponent/whatever you're not rooting for.
8-Make yourself look good.
9-Repeat stuff for emphasis.
10-Don't lie. They won't believe you.Besides, liars suck.
11-Pray that you're lucky enough to find the perfect audience.
12-Use EMOTIONAL PULL. (make em mad)
13-Have an epic closing statement... repeat some of your speech in it for emphasis!

And there you have it. Unless you enjoy reading that puts the general public to sleep, don't read this. I'll just make you a pamphlet.
Now go repeat something for emphasis.Savanna out.