Rhetorical Criticism Of Cross Of Gold Speech
By William Jennings Bryan Essay, Research Paper
William Jennings Bryan
Cross of Gold Speech
Let s begin by analyzing and explaining the theory of metaphoric criticism. A metaphor, as defined by Aristotle, is the transference of a name from the object to which it has a natural application. A metaphor is decoration, ornamentation, and figurative language to a rhetor. They are not needed but create unordinary speech. Metaphors serve as heuristic tools for suggesting new hypothesis, new areas of research, and new research strategies. They also function as rhetorical devices for communicating ideas. Let s consider uses of metaphor as tools for thought and communication. The tool function of metaphor is to extend the capacity of active memory using the medium speech; while the function of metaphor as a tool for thought is to extend our capacities for perceiving relationships in the perceptual domain to the conceiving of relationships in the conceptual domain. A criticism is an analysis or finding a fault of something. Together, the two definitions compose a metaphoric criticism. There are four steps to using metaphors as a unit of analysis; Formulating a research question and selecting an artifact, selecting a unit of analysis, analyzing the artifact, and writing the critical essay.
In applying the theories of metaphoric criticism, I will focus on two metaphors used throughout the Cross of Gold speech. The first use of metaphors is to convey violent acts to show the wrongfulness in changing the gold standard. Bryan refers back to fighting, contest, and war to show that the people are not going to go along with the government. Bryan speaks of brother against brother, father against son to show that part of the government is on the same level as the citizens and another part is above the rest. But when the citizens clad in armor, they will be stronger and overcome the wrath of the government. WJB refers to the office as the plank which declares against life tenure. What is shown here is the opposition of what is being built up by the plank in Washington. The life tenure being built is opposed, and excludes from participation in official benefits the humbler members of society.
Why would the battle of Waterloo and St. Helena be mentioned in this rhetoric? It is to show of things gone bad, as is Mr. McKinley s reputation when he rebuts against his nation. When he is in favor of fastening the gold standard upon this country, or who is willing to surrender the right of self-government, the battle, wars, contest, fighting, and challenges are made. He talks about enemies in battle and who shall win to refer to the government against the people and vice versa. The battle is between the citizens of the country and the government and there shall be a winner. Who the enemy is determined by the audience. But WJB is referring to the government and how their actions are not in favor of the people. His appeal, furthermore, is to labor and to the farmer, in a day when feeling is creeping through the country that the gold standard acts as a brake upon the enlarged earning capacity of those who work with their hands. You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, Mr. Bryan exclaiming at the close of his oration depicts how the governments actions are against the people. The government is trying to hurt the people but they will not allow it to happen without a dispute. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
WJB linked broadened prosperity directly to agriculture and to the purchasing power of labor. He struck out forcefully at the conservative debate that true prosperity requires first at stable base for invested wealth, from which prosperity grows. He says that ones riches maybe another s resource. The more privileged should not be able to destroy the less fortunate by taking what they have made and burn it to the ground. They should help them build on it and make it stronger.
So, What? The idea of the interaction view is that in the most interesting cases metaphors create similarity, rather than state some pre-existing similarity. They thus produce new knowledge by projecting the knowledge associated with the secondary subject (a kind of a source domain) onto the primary subject (the target domain): “The maker of a metaphorical statement selects, emphasizes, suppresses, and organizes features of the primary subject by applying to it statements isomorphic with the members of the secondary subject’s implicative complex” [p. 28].
John Searle, in his well-known essay Metaphor, criticizes scholars whom, when studying metaphors, take for granted the nature and the functioning of the literal meaning. In Searle’s opinion, there is no semantic difference between metaphoric expressions and literal, because “sentence and words have only the meanings that they have … Metaphorical meaning is always speaker’s utterance meaning” [p. 84]. The problem is that they frequently muddle up sentences meaning with the comprehension strategies. In fact, Searle defines the metaphor as a speech act in which you say one thing to mean something else. [p. 104].
In 1979, Michael Reddy published an article about the `conduit metaphor’ which George Lakoff (1993: 204-5) praised as seminal for the insight that metaphors are fundamental to human language and conceptualizing. Reddy’s (1979) claim was that human communication is overwhelmingly understood in terms of a speaker or writer transmitting meanings, packaged into words, to a listener or reader who, in turn, `unpacks’ the words to obtain the meanings. Metaphors structure human experience of the world, but also because it pertains to the act of communication itself. Given the growing awareness that language does not simply reduplicate thought (an idea underlying not only the studies by Lakoff and Johnson and their followers, but also the research projects spawned by Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) influential “Relevance Theory”), it is crucial that any metaphoric regularities in conceptions of human communication are investigated.
Given the key role of `linguistic action’ (LA) in human communication, and given present-day concerns about the relation between cognition and language, it makes good sense to explore in more detail what source domains metaphorically and metonymically inform linguistic action and, in turn, if and how LA systematically functions figuratively as source domain for yet other domains. The many different types of manipulation that linguistic expressions can undergo moreover reveal that focusing exclusively on the containment schema underlying the conduit metaphor constitutes a crude oversimplification. “These cases indicate that the conduit model is not the only framework in terms of which we conceptualize (or even reify) linguistic expressions” (p. 17). Finally, each of the verbs used of course specifies certain circumstances of the act of communication at issue in terms of control, reliability, secrecy, authority, expected (dis) approval, (im) politeness, and a range of other connotations.
Other important schemata are force, path, centre-periphery, balance or control, and contact schemata, which, moreover, often work in conjunction. Pauwels and Simon-Vandenbergen argue that value judgements are an important reason for using metaphors. Relevant criteria were found to be intensity, quantity, frequency, speed, and duration, which interact both among themselves and with the aforementioned schemata. The data allow the authors to make the interesting observation that the control schema (which often interacts with the intensity scale) typically leads to positive judgements where control over oneself and over the environment is concerned, while control over others tends to be regarded as negative. However, they warn that whereas some expressions have context-independent value judgements, positive or negative connotation can usually only be determined when the context is taken into account.
This last subdivision is a wholesome reminder of the impact of textual and contextual factors respectively: on the one hand verbal context often crucially co-determines meaning; on the other hand a study of donor domains of expressions of LA and the evaluations adhering to them reveals how deeply moral judgments (about force, control) are already embedded in the ways the English language allows us to speak about speech.
Investigations of dictionary data include evaluations of metaphorical expressions pertaining to turn-taking, topic management, and various aspects of manner of speaking (speed, quantity, duration, frequency, intensity), of which both the evaluations and the donor domains are investigated. Simon-Vandenbergen concludes that, given that LA metaphors usually entail a value judgment, the scales she and Pauwels proposed constitute a fruitful instrument for analysing these metaphors, often in combination with Johnson’s schemata. Again, context is always capable of inverting any value judgment based on a decontextualized expression. Metaphoric extensions consist in the suspension of one or more elements of the prototypical (or image-schematic) structure (p. 220).