Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tyler Murray-Event Analysis

              Today, I went to Dr. Cathleen Kaveny's discussion: Prosperity, Civilty, and Truth. She was very engaging and successful in taking biblical passages and making them relevant in everyday life. The main theme of the discussion was prophets and their ability to use their rhetoric to make the world a better place one step at a time. She made it very apparent that "PR" is not for the weak minded and can be an unbelievably powerful tool in both conversation and debates.
              In "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Perkins, The narrator suffers from a disease, a type of nervous depression, and oddly enough, her husband is her doctor. He husband is an unsympathetic doctor who is constantly belittling her disease but more importantly, her thoughts. She focuses all her attention on the wallpaper of their home and composes a journal that progressively becomes a main fixture in her life where she can express her feelings without her husband, John, criticizing them. John is an example of one of Kaveny's failures that exist in the world of prophetic rhetoric. In order to be successful in this method, one must find common ground with his "opponent" and show some genuine interest in working with his opponent towards a fundamental value. John does neither of these things. The narrator exhibits certain elements of a prophet by showing discipline with her ideas. By writing her thoughts down, she is concentrating them into an organized format and in effect, her mind, body, and overall life is more structured.
             Another work that relates to Dr. Kaveny's lecture is "The Birthmark" by Hawthorne. In the story, Aylmer is fixated on his wife's facial birthmark, even though he claims that the rest of her face is perfect. Aylmer obsesses so much about the birthmark that it takes him over and begins to ignore the beauty of his wife's face completely. His disgust towards the birthmark exponentially outweighs his love for his wife. Finally, his wife, Georgiana agrees to attempt to have the mark removed stating that she will risk her life to have the birthmark removed. This is an example of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph regarding a prophet making sacrifices to better understand or further a specific cause or task. Aylmer is nothing like this. However, Dr. Kaveny also said that PR can be a serious instrument as well as a medicine. I'm paraphrasing but she said something along the lines of, "it takes a type of chemotherapy mentality to be successful in the area of prophetic rhetoric." This does apply to Aylmer because chemotherapy is a brutal, intense, life-threatening process which is what he is willing to do in order to achieve his goal and bring himself happiness. His dedication towards his goal is exemplary of prophetic rhetoric yet his wife's death was far from successful.
            In conclusion, these two novels contain elements of Dr. Kaveny's discussion. Both works include components of prophetic rhetoric, specifically the characteristics of passion, understanding, and mediation that are at the foundation of the true prophet.

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