Tuesday, May 25, 2010

AP Language Final Exam Assignment

“Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” - Plato.

Please meditate and consider the quote above. For our final Socratic Seminar on Friday, May 28th, you will discuss what you understand about the meaning of Plato's words. In other words, you will write a thesis that defines your opinion and interpretation of Plato. In order to show "evidence" of your understanding, please bring in three examples in today's public conversation that support your argument.

Please do not ask me questions about this assignment. The "test" is for you to figure it out and demonstrate your understanding of both rhetoric and the public conversation through a discussion in class.

You will be graded out of 100 points.
50 points- in class discussion
50 points- 1-2 page reflection paper.

Good luck, and you see you on Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Samuel Murray
    AP Language & Composition
    Final - Reflection Paper
    “Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” - Plato.
    Rhetoric, a series of literary devices and strategies identified by famous philosopher Plato, are essential to everyday language and life. For as long as spoken word has existed, man has used diction, tone, and appeals to convey meaning to evoke emotions for persuasion, and to assert authority over others, and declare expertise on varying subjects. The use of rhetorical devices are evident in nearly every conversation and have various affects that are sometimes implicit or explicit from the speaker’s original intent. The use of rhetoric is profound and those who possess oratorical gifts and utilize it correctly are often rewarded with both success and power.
    Rhetoric is most influential in politics and elections. Rhetoric is a persuasive technique in which political icons/figures use to persuade the “minds of men” and gain authority. They often use emotional appeal to invoke fear or caution. They also use tone, ensuring their words are interpreted properly by the right pitch or mood set by both their writing and spoken words. Through the use of rhetoric politicians easily wrap the public around their fingers using their words to evoke action, while they continuously plot for their next attempt to further their own agenda. Presidents Lincoln, Bush and even Obama are masters of rhetoric and have used their voices and words to do great and powerful things. President Lincoln, used rhetoric to suspend habeas corpus and convinced his fellow citizens that what he was doing was in the best interest of America, regardless of the fact that he was violating the Constitution. President Bush declared a war without the initial approval of congress and used rhetoric later on to convince the nation that Afghanistan was an enemy of the United States. His use of rhetoric deceived millions into supporting the invasion of Iraq, in search of weapons of mass destruction, a fallacy that is still believed to be true to some. And Barack Obama was a voice of change. As to what he’s changing is unknown but his masterful use of rhetoric made him the first African-American to become president of the United States of America. While rhetoric is most often observed in politics it has other practical uses.
    A common source of rhetoric in which most people are unaware is advertisements. Rhetoric is in every magazine add, every commercial, even newspapers and posters. They utilize rhetoric demanding our attention, forcing us to use their products. Many fragrance, make-up, and other brand name campaigns use appeals and rhetoric that give us the impression that by using their products we will attract the attention of the other sex, or suggest their products will make us feel better. While the ads appeal to our subconscious we have yet to realize them for what they are, more attempts to gain authority over us through additional unnecessary products that will only increase their profits and leave us addicted.
    While rhetoric has many modern conventions, its uses are mainly meant to control men through spoken and written word. He who truly masters the art can persuade, manipulate and convince his fellow man into doing anything. In the twenty-first century rhetoric surrounds us, we must learn to use its practices when necessary and learn to distinguish the good from the bad.