Rhetorical Analysis project

When I was in grade school, many years ago, students were taught the importance of “who, what, where, when, how and why” in writing. When my older children went to grade school I found that this wasn’t taught anymore. Let’s not even discuss the fact that my youngest children aren’t being taught how to write in cursive now either. They all know how to take a standardized test though, but I digress. This postings intent is to set the ground work for my project that is due on¬†November 9th, not whine about a broken education system – sorry!

I have been charged to select a website, apply Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical pentad to the site and see how well the form and content stand up.


Subject site: The Gwinnett County Public Library  www.gwinnettpl.org

Criteria as to how it should be evaluated: Burke’s dramatism pentad.

According to Kenneth Burke (well know philosopher, author and literary critic; 1897-1993) to understand why people do things you have to understand what motivates them. Burke believed that applying the critical technique dramatism to life, people could decipher the motivations.

Burke’s dramatism pentad:

Act: What happened? What is the action? What is going on? What action; what thoughts?

Scene: Where is the act happening? What is the background situation?

Agent: Who is involved in the action? What are their roles?

Agency: How do the agents act? By what means do they act?

Purpose: Why do the agents act? What do they want?


Basically this is the “who, what, where, when, how and why” of my youth – hence my soapbox moment above. Maybe if schools taught this basic concept in school again people would realize there is more going on in life then what they can see on their computer screens.