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Analyzing Rhetoric and Culture using Political Cartoons - Essay Example

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Rhetoric can be said to be the use of language to achieve a persuasive effect on specific audience and can be traced back to Aristotle’s era. Culture can be defined as an interconnection of human knowledge, behavior and belief based on the concept of thought and learning. …
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Analyzing Rhetoric and Culture using Political Cartoons
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Download file to see previous pages Rhetoric and culture are two very different disciplines with different origins that however address specific and similar issues on culture, cultural practices and interpretation (ed. Rosteck 1999, p.1). The main argument of this essay is that the closed nature and in authenticity of society has led to the loss of human rights; the closed nature of course being influenced majorly by culture and traditional practices that should be shunned. The main aim of the essay is to establish the relationship between culture and rhetoric and use this connection to rhetorically analyze specific political cartoons, also known as editorial cartons. This analysis will be based on clarity/ explicitness of the characters and on the negative nature of a closed and inauthentic society.
Rhetoric and culture are related in the sense that both are used to address specific and similar issues on culture, cultural practices and interpretation. A closed society is one in which the basic foundation is laid on class discrimination; the society is not open to freedom of thought. It is essentially not a free society as public affairs are not confined to the affairs of the government (Hayek vol.2 1976, p.151). A closed society usually leads to a violation of several human rights and can therefore not be termed democratic. Democracy is a key tool in the mental development of a people. A political cartoon or an editorial cartoon is basically a form of rhetorical criticism found on the editorial pages of magazines or newspapers and is usually a biased way of portraying individuals, events and a society at large. They are usually comical expressions of events at a particular point in time and convey contemporary issues in a particular society in a subtle manner but are meant to express the ideas of the cartoonist which usually represents that of the whole society. Rhetorical criticism basically uses symbolism but can also use words, phrases and gestures. The main aim of rhetorical criticism is to establish and understand how specific symbols affect people. The first political cartoon I will look is an Arabian one. In the picture is a woman her spouse and a goat. The man is kneeling down on the ground and a caption indicates that he is saying, “I hope you know you’re special to me and I’ll always care for you”. In response to the comment the woman is saying, “Thank you dear”. The man was however addressing the goat and blurts out, “I wasn’t talking to you”. We can’t see the expression on the woman’s face because it is covered in abayas, the traditional Black Muslim dress. The cartoon is in black and white and the ordeal takes place on a rocky area depictive of the dry and rough terrain of the Middle Eastern countries. The message is very basic and straight forward; a woman is just about as worthless as a goat, except a goat has more value to a man than a woman. The man is only and can only bow down to a man and not a woman. This is very ironical in that whereas the woman is statuesque and a much greater force than the goat, the goat is being treated with much more dignity, respect and care than the woman who is being shunned. This is how the cartoonist is challenging this discrimination. The worst part is that woman is helpless and there is nothing she can do about the situation in which she has been placed. The Middle East is home to Muslim Culture and with Muslim culture comes certain restrictions and reservations that are not common to Christians and other religious groups. This reservation of theirs leads to its society being considered a closed one where freedoms are not freely expressed and failure to which ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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