This week's readings connected to my classroom practices because my students will be examining normative ideologies--the stories and images that society depicts as "normal" and "natural"--and interrogating how social systems perpetuate these myths. In class today, we discussed the images presented publicly that support the patriarchal social system--the students specifically mentioned the ideology of the nuclear family and explained how advertising and mainstream media presents a working father, a stay-at-home mother, and well-behaved children as a "normal" family. The students explained that in the real world, most people don't come from those types of situations--one student discussed her family as a foster family with a single mother at the head. This type of analysis engages students in rhetorical discourse--Herrick defines "the art of rhetoric as the systematic study and intentional practice of effective symbolic expression" (7). Students see and study the "symbols" society presents and pick them apart to decide if the symbol is persuasive or the "truth" as it is presented.
Next class session, I will be introducing the students to their Project 1 assignment--they will be taking their own truths and creating their own enthymeme--explaining their own truths to a specific audience in a persuasive narrative.
I wonder, though, is it absolutely necessary, as Herrick argues, that there must be a commonality between the rhetor (student) and the audience (9)? Does persuasion rely on commonality or identification? Would it be useful or beneficial to ask students to write an anti-enthymeme, addressing an audience that they have nothing in common with, or, even, an audience who may be hostile to their ideas?