Can television shows like Modern Family, popular music by performers like Taylor Swift, advertisements for products like Samuel Adams beer, and films such as The Hunger Games help us understand rhetorical theory and criticism? The Third Edition of The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture offers students a step-by-step introduction to rhetorical theory and criticism by focusing on the powerful role popular culture plays in persuading us as to what to believe and how to behave. In every chapter, students are introduced to rhetorical theories, presented with current examples from popular culture that relate to the theory, and guided through demonstrations about how to describe, interpret, and evaluate popular culture texts through rhetorical analysis. Author Deanna Sellnow also provides sample student essays in every chapter to demonstrate rhetorical criticism in practice. This edition’s easy-to-understand approach and range of popular culture examples help students apply rhetorical theory and criticism to their own lives and assigned work.
Chapter 3: A Narrative Perspective
A Narrative Perspective
The narrative perspective as a rhetorical method for examining ideological arguments conveyed through storytelling is often attributed to Walter R. Fisher (1984, 1987), professor emeritus of communication at the University of Southern California. In actuality, Fisher is only one of many rhetoricians whose work contributes to our understanding of narrative (e.g., Booth, 1961, 1983, 1988; Burke, 1957; Chatman, 1978; 1990; Farrell, 1985; Lucaites & Condit, 1985; Martin, 1986; Mitchell, 1981; Mumby, 1993; Newton, 1995; Ricoeur, 1984–1988; Riessman, 1993; Rowland, 1987; Warnick, 1987). Moreover, Artistotle (1954) actually conceptualized the basic structure of narrative as characters, rising action, complication, climax, and resolution more than 2,000 years ago in the Poetics. That said, the narrative approach was one of the first methods ...