WRITING ASSIGNMENT (TO BE HANDED IN VIA EMAIL - IN AN ATTACHMENT - BY 4 PM WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2001)
I changed my mind - at first I said not send it by email. I do things like that. Try to keep up.
After you have read Pericles' Funeral Oration (and the study guides I pointed out to you on my own site and on the ih site: http://courses.temple.edu/ih) , I want you to think about it. He is clearly encouraging his audience to buy into his program that Athens is worth dying for. He is a master of rhetoric - the art of using persuasion to communicate ideas effectively - and in this case he is communicating the idea of selfless dedication of the individual to the state, at the risk of loss of life of said individual. Good rhetoric involves not only what we say, but how we say it. Rhetoric includes vocabulary choice, poetic devices (such as repetition and praeteritio, "emphasis by omission"), strong sentence construction (all constituting form); thematic emphasis, progression, and presentation as woven throughout the body of the speech (structure); and the sub-text of the speech (or what it really means, not what it says).
Your job in a one page essay: identify the techniques Pericles uses to persuade his audience and determine whether they work or not. Use the text to support your claims. Just refer indirectly to the ideas he proposes (with page number references in parentheses) and only cite the text if it comes down to how he says it (significant vocabulary use or a repeated topos). Yes, I know Thucydides wrote in Greek and this is a translation, a pale imitation of the original which loses a lot in, well, the translation. But it's what we've got to work with and this is an intellectual exercise. So intellectualize.
You cannot write this paper until you have digested the speech and considered its overall form. As a preliminary exercise, it might be helpful to outline the speech (not in full sentences - just a general sketch so the overall pattern, movement, structure of the speech can become apparent to you).
Word count: 500-750. Single-spaced. Sent in an attachment. NB: If you work on a Mac or with software other than Word, try sending it in rtf (rich text format). It usually works great. Bring a hard copy to class just in case one of you sends me a virus and my computer crashes. But please - practice safe computing. Run a virus check on your document before emailing it to me. You don't want to be the one to bring down my computer. Trust me. Thanks.