kitchen table math, the sequel: Karen H recommends a Gettysburg address lesson in rhetoric

Friday, August 17, 2012

Karen H recommends a Gettysburg address lesson in rhetoric

re: Jen's Star Spangled Banner reading comprehension lesson, Karen H points out that the Gettysburg address offers a terrific example of parallelism. Check out the Teacher Resource Guide Karen pointed me to:
Parallelism Parallelism is a rhetorical technique in which a writer emphasizes the equal value or weight of two or more ideas by expressing them in the same grammatical form. Example, “that nation so conceived,” and “any nation so dedicated.”
List all the examples you can find.

Antithesis Antithesis is a rhetorical technique in which words, phrases, or ideas are strongly contrasted, often by means of a repetition of grammatical structure. In literature, the use of antithesis as a figure of speech, results in two statements that show a contrast through the balancing of two opposite ideas. Example, “the brave men,” and “our poor power.”
List all the examples you can find.

Alliteration The repetition of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables. Alliteration is fun to say and enjoyable to hear, and used to call attention to certain words. Alliteration is an important sound technique for mak- ing particular words stand out. It also connects the words to be emphasized. Example, “Fondly do we hope—fervently do we
List all the examples you can find.

Repetition Repetition is a classic technique in presentation and speech making. It helps tie the theme together and it creates clarity for the listener. Additionally, we remember words and phrases more readily when they are packaged in threes. Example, “We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground."
List all the repetitive examples you can find.


Address delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives so that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far sp nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

November 19, 1863. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Using speeches and other historical documents to teach reading comprehension and writing:
In the Event of Moon Disaster: parallelism, cohesion, the semicolon
Karen H recommends the Gettysburg Address for a lesson in parallelism
Jen on teaching the Star Spangled Banner to her 10-year old (and see Comment thread for more)
Glen on Daniel Boone's autobiography


Bostonian said...

Rereading the Gettysburg address, I am trouble by the ability of rhetoric to make irrational behavior seem noble.

After Gettysburg, how and whether the Union should prosecute the Civil War should have depended on the *future* costs in blood and treasure vs. the benefits of preserving the union and ending slavery, NOT on how many soldiers already died in Gettysburg and other battles. Read literally, Lincoln fell prey to the sunk cost fallacy.

Anonymous said...

This was one of the criticisms of the Sophists ... about 2,400 years ago :-)

-Mark Roulo