Spring 2010

Take Home Midterm Exam

(Answer the first two questions and any three of the remaining items)

1      You have looked at the time period of 1968 and the current time period (including the Age of Bush and the Age of Obama) Looking only at the rhetoric that is involved, what similarities do you see between the rhetoric of government leaders? What dissimilarities do you see? remember: you are to compare the rhetoric of 1968 with today's.

2.   Consider the addresses on ceremonial occasions given by Elizabeth Dole, Ann Richards’ eulogy to Barbara Jordan, Richard Gephardt’s transfer of control of the House of Representatives, and Ronald Reagan’s tribute to the Challenger astronauts. What basic methods to appeal to values were common throughout the speeches? What strategies do you believe were most effective?

3.   As a result of reading and viewing the speeches in this class so far, you have had a chance to form an opinion about the ways that different rhetorical methods of analysis may be used to explain different sorts of speeches. In this regard, which speech you read is most effectively evaluated by using the canons of rhetoric in a neo-Aristotelian criticism? Which speech can be most effectively evaluated by using the Burkean pentad?

4.   Using Nixon’s defense in Watergate and his resignation speech, what strategies of apologia (as described in Rohler & Cook) were used most effectively and most ineffectively?  What does this answer lead you to believe about such strategies in general?

5.   If you were elected President and had to compose your own inaugural address, what kind of organization and language would be expected by the audience and what three specific methods would you use to meet the demands of audience and occasion. Do not just describe them abstractly, but actually present some phrasing you would use. Make sure to observe what is expected in the code of inaugural addresses as covered in class.

6.   What are the major lines of argument that should be used in defending oneself in a presidential impeachment trial? Use material covered in class.

7.   In your opinion, what concepts from rhetorical theory are most important for the modern student of American public address?  Explain your answer.

8.   Ask yourself a relevant question and answer it. You will be evaluated both by the merit of your question and the integrity of your answer.