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comm469ytermpaper - Rhetorical Analysis Running Head:...

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Rhetorical Analysis 1 Running Head: RHETORICAL ANALYSIS Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: A Rhetorical Analysis Jennifer Gutman University of Maryland
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Rhetorical Analysis 2 Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: A Rhetorical Analysis The year 1985 marks a time when, just as today, divorce, murder, and crime were rampant and the mundane tasks of everyday life seemed to consume every human’s mind. In our society, humans very often evaluate the success of their lives based upon material and monetary gains and the success of their day based upon the amount of errands they accomplished. Joseph Campbell argues that modern American society lacks the spiritual meaning that once came from mythology. Thus, unless one can make a case that grocery shopping and dishwashing constitute as spiritual inner experiences, our modern society is in a very precarious state and a discussion of the importance of mythology is extremely relevant and necessary. Over the years of 1984 and 1985, Bill Moyers, journalist, conducted an interview with Joseph Campbell about the meaning of mythology and its purpose in the modern world. Their conversation, which was a total of twenty-four hours long and was truncated to six hours for a PBS series, took place at George Lucas Skywalker Ranch and later at the Museum of Natural History in New York. The transcript of their conversation was six years later recorded in the book, The Power of Myth (Chambers & Speidel, 1989). While Bill Moyers offers probing questions to gain a consummate understanding of mythology, Campbell uses the on-air conversation as an outlet for popular discourse in which he argues for a need to recover myth in modern American culture. As mythology holds much less of a presence and importance in today’s society than it did before, Campbell’s task to persuade an opposing audience is a formidable one, to say the least. In order to reintroduce mythology into our society, Joseph Campbell insists upon the exigent need to use myth to reestablish the meaning that has vanished from life. He provides evidence and logical arguments to alter society’s perception of myth through developing a persona within his informal conversation with
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Rhetorical Analysis 3 Bill Moyer that is both credible and lucid enough to persuade a broad spectrum of audiences. In my rhetorical analysis of the transcript of Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer’s conversation, I will first analyze his rhetorical artifact and explain the concepts from the works of other rhetors, which frame my critical perspective. Next, I will discuss the historical context surrounding the conversation and how Campbell deals with the obstacles brought on by his audience and his topic. And finally, I will evaluate the rhetorical artifact with its respect to artistic value, ethics, and potential influence on American society. In the interview, Joseph Campbell achieves his purpose of convincing American society
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