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Meiosis-The Catcher in the Rye

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

A term that relates to meiosis is litotes.  This example is more closely related to the term of litotes then it is to meiosis.  This example can be found in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.  This novel is a coming of age tale of a kid in New York City who is growing up and telling of his trials and tribulations along the way.  The kid, Holden Caulfield, is the protagonist and narrator of the story.  He plays with the idea of litotes in his line that states, “I have to have this operation.  It isn’t very serious.  I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.”  In this grouping of sentences, Holden Caulfield is being somewhat serious even though he say that it is not very serious.  He is very understating the fact that he has a tumor on the brain.  This is very belittling of the ailment, tumor.  Even though he mentions the surgery as well, he still makes it sound like it is nothing.  Holden makes it sound like that he will have the surgery and when he gets over it he will be set back, say a day or two at the most.  This is a very effective way of using litotes because of the drastic downplay of what is happening to himself.

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Harmondsworth: Bantam, 1964. Print.

Categories: description, fiction, meiosis

Badass: Archangel St. Michael

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

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Ben Thompson has made himself into a small internet celebrity for his website Badass of the Week, where individuals both real and fictional with unique stories of fortitude are told in a manner more befitting with friends than from someone with a History degree. Thompson often uses a unique form of Apodioxis whenever needed or humorous, as shown in his article on the Archangel Michael.

Nowadays, the term “angel” has become more or less synonymous with “pussy.” It conjures up images of disproportionately huge-breasted ninty-pound lingerie-clad Victoria’s Secret models having sweaty pillow-fights in the clouds, or innocent-looking fat kids playing the harp and blowing kisses at butterflies and rainbows. It’s a term used for wussbag cherubs that shoot arrows at teenage couples having picnics in the park on summer afternoons, or the sort of thing a grandmother coos out when looking at a photo of a human child no matter how cute or hideous it may actually be. With all this lame-ass angelic bullcrap going around, people unfortunately tend to forget that the most hardcore of all the Harley-riding, heavy metal-listening, battle-axe wielding, cocaine-snorting bastards from Hell got his snot epically annihilated by the biggest badass Heaven has to offer—the Archangel Michael: the Chief Justice of Wrecking Evildoers’ Faces and leaving behind a trail of severed tendrils, ichor-stained carcasses, and broken-in-half demon giblets (Thompson 88).

Note how this form of Apodioxis is different from the other examples we have looked at. For one thing, the speaker does not attack the opponent for making the opposing argument. Rather he lets his position speak for itself. Most modern portrayals of angels are either fat naked babies or gorgeous women. However, when one looks at the biblical portrayal, they have more in common with H. P. Lovecraft. This is opposite to the portrayal of Satan, who was also once an Angel: he is always portrayed as the greatest threat to all that is good and cannot possibly be defeated. However, again the biblical evidence shows that other than the Garden of Eden, and thus the Fall of Man, he is a loser who has lost every fight against the other Angels, lead by Michael. This is not Apodioxis against the argument of another person, but rather against the argument given by our culture. The effect is that it both re-educated the readers about what Angels were supposed to be, and show the reasons why Michael fits the title of the book and website.

Thompson, Ben. “Saint Michael, The Archangel.” Badass: the Birth of a Legend: Spine-crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned. First ed. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2011. 88. Print.

Apoplanesis in “Indian Killer”

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Similar to political debates, police interrogations and testimonies commonly support examples of apoplanesis. If cornered by an unanswerable inquiry, one may seek to employ apoplanesis in attempts to conserve confidential information. Naturally, the prying party will be alert to the answering party’s response. Such alertness ensures that any unsatisfying response will not go unrecognized, as the following example shall illustrate. Therefore, any chance for a subtle use of apoplanesis becomes unlikely. Though such circumstances have the potential to exhibit apoplanesis’ awkwardness, the answerer can still maintain a sense of grace in his or her subject dodging by keeping a professional, unwavering attitude.

Cover Photo by Frank Oudeman

Evident in Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer, apoplanesis appears in the form of an interrogation. In this particular novel, a supernatural murder mystery, several scenes involve testimonies. One instance, while questioning the mother of a missing child, the policeman asks, “Mrs. Jones, do you know of anybody who might want to hurt Mark? Or take him?”; Mrs. Jones immediately responds with “No. Don’t you know?” (169). The policeman’s final remark on the situation holds the greatest example of apoplanesis: “Well, there are certain other crimes that may be connected to your son’s disappearance” (169). By not directly answering her question, he digresses the conversation but still holds the subject matter in place, thus providing apoplanesis. Nevertheless, the questioner, as mentioned previously, will not accept unsatisfactory responses. In this case, the questioner takes the form of a distraught mother inquiring over missing child; she, as expected, will not cease the discussion until receiving clarity. Though Alexie ends the chapter with Mrs. Jones’ response, “Listen, I want to know: what kind of monster do you think would take somebody’s child?,” the reader naturally assumes the interaction between these two characters continues (169). Though this example reveals apoplanesis’ ability to maintain confidential information’s concealment, it does nothing to enhance the device’s subtlety; if anything, this example exacerbates apoplanesis’ blatancy.  

Alexie, Sherman. Indian Killer. New York NY: Warner, 1996. Print.

Hyperbaton: Overview

December 8, 2011 2 comments

Hyperbaton is a rhetorical device employed in writing, film, and virtually every other medium in either textual or visual form.  Brigham Young University’s Silva Rhetoricae gave two definitions for the device.  First, hyperbaton was defined as an inversion of normal word order in addition to a simile of anastrophe.  Second, hyperbaton employed the addition of another word into a semantically correct sentence, drawing attention to the added word (Burton).  For example of the first definition, Edgar Allan Poe employed hyperbaton in The Tell-Tale Heart when the protagonist speaks in the opening.  He said, “Object there was none. Passion there was none” (Poe).  In both sentences, Poe transposed “object” and “passion” to the front of their respective sentence, instead of having the sentences read, “There was no object/passion.”  By doing so, Poe amplified the emphasis on the fact that the protagonist lacked reason for hiding the heart below the floorboards or passion when performing the actions.

Speech is not the only medium in which one finds usage of hyperbaton.  Movie and television plots with nonlinear storytelling all employ hyperbaton in a different method with different effects of the directed emphasis.  Part of the non-linear model, many directors use flashbacks and premonitions as another form of hyperbaton.  With a brief glimpse of Christopher Nolan’s directorial history, one can find a plethora of these examples.

Burton, Gideon O. “Hyperbaton.” Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric. Brigham Young University, n.d. Web. 7 Dec 2011. <http://rhetoric.byu.edu/&gt;.

Poe, Edgar Allan.  “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  1843.  Found on Literature.org.  http://www.literature.org/authors/poe-edgar-allan/tell-tale-heart.html.

Picture Credit:

Clarke, Harry.  Illustration of “The Tell-Tale Heart.” 1919. Tales of Mystery and Imagination. By Edgar Allan Poe.

Categories: fiction, hyperbaton, overview

Billy Madison

December 8, 2011 2 comments

Debate takes place in a multitude of settings beyond an argument or the debate tables. Even when taking a test or on a game show you are engaging in debate. After all, whenever you answer a question you are claiming that you know the answer to said question.

However, sometimes your argument is wrong, plain and simple, which manifests as an incorrect answer. In the film Billy Madison, Adam Sandler is on a game show and answer’s a question, however, it is evident that his answer is wrong on so many levels it can only be called Epic. And the host, in the video provided, lets Sandler’s character know just how wrong he is with one of the more extreme examples of Apodioxis we will be examining.

The effects, even from such an isolated and removed from context clip, are clear. The intelligence of the person the host is speaking to is call so much into question that it goes right around and goes to being completely known: as being nonexistent. Also, considering how gameshow hosts are expected to be professional, respectful and generally present themselves as nice guys all the time, the fact that the host presented not only breaks that convention, but shatters it with an air-fuel ordinance bomb means that the answer argued was just that wrong.

Video posted by user Bound4Earth

Billy Madison. Dir. Tamra Davis. Prod. Robert Simonds. By Adam Sandler. Perf. Adam Sandler. Universal Studios, 1995. Billy Madison – Ultimate Insult (Academic Decathlon). YouTube, 26 Nov. 2009. Web. 7 Dec. 2011.

Kingdom Come

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

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In the Graphic Novel Kingdom Come, the DC Comics’ universe has been projected 20 years into the future, where the violent and gritty style of superheroes then popular in the 90s has taken its logical extreme of gang fighting in the streets, and no real way of telling the heroes from the villains, and the threat of the Superhumans whipping all life from the face of the earth just from existing is a credible scenario.
In the scene we look at, Superman has come back from his self-imposed exile to get the world back on track. He walks into a superhuman bar (no, there is no joke), and asks the resident’s to shape up and join the reformed Justice League, and then leaves. Many of the individuals are impressed by the offer, but some are still not sure.

Then comes the arrow imbedding itself into the column.

It comes from another old superhero, by the name of Green Arrow, who says that it was now time “for the Democratic response.” There is no verbal Apodioxis, only one given through actions. This new generation of “heroes,” and yes the quotes are intentional, is violent and responds better to relentless, merciless justice that they revel in. By using his arrow as a way to get their attention, the Old Hero, Green Arrow, implies that he too thinks of solving problems like they do, and thus understands where they are coming from. This being something that Superman, and the old comic book-style of Superheroics he represents, is said time and again to be incapable of getting. Even though he offers a ‘Democratic response,’ assumedly in as respectful a tone as can be expected, Green Arrow is in affect saying that he doesn’t believe that there is any choice: Only his argument to hear, his team to join, and his rules to follow.

Waid, Mark, and Alex Ross. “Kingdom Come.” Graphic novel. First ed. New York: DC Comics, 2002. 86-87. Print. Elseworlds.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Increasingly relevant in contemporary society, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four explores Winston Smith’s attempt in rebelling against a totalitarian government and society. Ending with the epiphonema, “he had won victory over himself. He loved Big Brother,” ironically informs the reader of the totality Winston’s breakdown. Succumbing to the oppressive control exerted by the government, Big Brother, over its’ citizens, Winston’s love marks a dark failure. With the government overtly subduing Winston, his victory over himself is actually a bleak defeat and warning to humanity.  Love indicates the most powerful affection capable by individuals. By instilling love within Winston for his government and its negative associations, Big Brother effectively kills Winston within the mind of the reader. The warm feelings connected with victory and love function to disturb the reader with the power a totalitarian authority possesses over an individual.

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Secker and Warburg, 1949. Print.