Friday, February 12, 2010

Children of Rhetoricians

I am reading Debra Hawhee's Moving Bodies: Kenneth Burke at the Edges of Language and listening to Will in the tub a room over. His "talk" drives home a crucial point about rhetorical action. Far from simply labeling and naming things, which is what we, as parents, often want or think children to be doing, Will is trying to do things in, with, and to the world. He is expressing an attitude, his body's
"emotive energy and purposive action" (113).
We watch Will—as an infant becoming a toddler—at the edges of language. He knows now what we all too soon forget: we are bodies (that learn language) moving in the world.

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