Worksheet 4.1: Chapter 4 methods of persuasion

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1 Worksheet 4.1: Chapter 4 methods of persuasion Understanding target audience The title of Chapter 4 of the coursebook is The language of persuasion. Persuasion can be a tricky concept to understand. While a speaker or writer who hopes to persuade their audience may have a particular agenda, there is no value judgement good or bad attached to the concept of persuasion as such. For example, take cigarette smoking: a tobacco company may try to persuade customers to buy their brand of cigarettes (which may be seen as being bad for health); and a school may persuade students to stand firm against peer pressure (which could be seen as being good for decision-making). Persuade applies equally to both scenarios. Persuasion in itself is a neutral concept. However, those who wish to persuade others may have certain values to promote, and want to affect the values of their target audience. Propaganda posters The examples of First World War propaganda posters on page 93 of the coursebook provide a helpful starting point for considering the idea of persuasion. The producers of these posters have values that may be explicit or implicit: explicitly, all the posters affirm the need for soldiers to contribute to war efforts implicitly, all the posters convey the idea that war is right as the means to an end. The values of the target audience, however, are not really known to us. Smiling soldiers on the Australian and Canadian posters imply a sense of optimism and patriotic cause. But do they reflect the real mood of potential recruits? Or are they perhaps an attempt to create such a mood? Figure 4.4 leaves much to our imagination in terms of what the father in the poster might be thinking. We may assume he feels regret (or even guilt) at not having something to tell his kids about his experiences of being a soldier in the war; or he may be wishing that his daughter had a more pacifist nature we can only speculate. Look closely at Figure 4.7 ( Take up the sword of justice ), and consider the information about propaganda techniques on pages Then respond to the questions in the table below. A response to the first question has been started for you as an example. Questions on Figure 4.7 (the poster Take up the sword of justice ) Your response 1. What kind of grammar is used above the main picture? The phrase Take up is imperative and positive (as opposed to Don t take up ), implying Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 1 of 6

2 2. Is the idiom sword of justice clear, or not? Why?? 3. Who is the central figure in the poster? Is this figure British? Do you think the figure is human? Does the figure represent something? 4. What is happening in the background of the picture? How does this affect the overall message? 5. What other questions come to mind when you view this poster? Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 2 of 6

3 Rhetoric in a wartime speech The American president Abraham Lincoln delivered what has become known as the Gettysburg Address to soldiers in 1863, in the middle of an uncertain civil war (Lincoln s Union troops, whom he was addressing, won the war two years later). Page 97 of the coursebook highlights the allusion to this address as a persuasive part of Barrack Obama s victory speech in Read Lincoln s actual speech, below, to appreciate the fuller context: Fourscore 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 battlefield 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 that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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 so 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. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (1863) Respond briefly to the following questions concerning this speech: 1. To whom is President Lincoln speaking? How do you know this? Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 3 of 6

4 2. What are some of the persuasive tactics Lincoln employs? 3. How do you think this speech affected the circumstances of the civil war in the United States? 4. How does this speech affect circumstances in the 21 st century? Rhetoric in a wartime poem Bear in mind the idea of audience as you read another text written in the context of war Wilfred Owen s poem Dulce Et Decorum Est. Wilfred Owen was almost at the end of his second tour of duty in the First World War when he died. He never lived to see his poems published. Try responding to similar questions as those above, for The Gettysburg Address noting the differences between the genres of oratory and poetry but adapting the context to make the questions relevant to the First World War. Alternatively, you might think of some questions of your own about this poem. Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 4 of 6

5 Dulce Et Decorum Est Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling: Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound ring like a man in fire or lime Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. Wilfred Owen (1918) Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 5 of 6

6 Extension exercise Besides posters, speeches, and poems, research and consider two or three other contrasting texts concerning the topic of war and methods of persuasion. For example, lyrics to popular songs may help us to think further about tone and target audiences. The following list includes examples of songs that are easily accessible via the Internet, although you should try to find some examples from your own country or region. I Ain t Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs If the South Woulda Won by Hank Williams Jr The Halls of Montezuma (official hymn of the US Marines) Travelin Soldier by The Dixie Chicks War Pigs by Black Sabbath Miss Sarajevo by U2 Soldier of Love by Sade Waltzing Matilda originally by Banjo Paterson I m in the Army Now by Status Quo The Unknown Soldier by The Doors Paper 1 (HL) practice If you are taking this IB Language and Literature course at Higher Level, read the requirements for Paper 1 (HL) on pages 56 7 of the coursebook, and study the sample exam and student response on pages Note that every pair of unseen texts for Paper 1 will necessarily include at least one non-fictional text and possibly (but not necessarily) a literary text. The pairing of Lincoln s Gettysburg Address and Owen s poem Dulce et Decorum Est would be realistic for Paper 1 (HL). You have already considered each of these texts individually, especially for their rhetorical devices and target audiences. Now compare the two texts and write a practice commentary on the similarities and differences in their: content structure theme. Copyright Cambridge University Press All rights reserved. IB_ell_4_ws1 Page 6 of 6

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