Applying/Using Kenneth Burke’s Pentad to Clarence Darrow’s (1924) Defense of Leopold and Loeb Assignment | Top Essay Writing

PLEASE view the file for an in-depth 3-4 page (long, I know, sorry, but I wanted the writer to be sure of what to do) description on how to do this paper, please. The description on how top do this paper MUST be followed in some way, so please make sure to read the one and only file I will be uploading. Darrow’s argument can be found online, and please contact me if there are any questions.

Paper Main Task: Use Kenneth Burke’s concept of “the Pentad” to examine Clarence Darrow’s defense of Leopold and Loeb.

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How to start the paper?

With chunks of Darrow’s text. Plunk a chunk of his text at the top of a page. Do some analysis. The chunk could be a single sentence, a paragraph, or a larger swath of text (e.g., several parts of the Nietzsche section).

Do some analysis. Then do another page with another example. Eventually, you will find that some examples should be grouped together. You can move pages around, or you can cluster things into some themes. It’s fine if you mush things around to give the work more structure.

How to write the introduction?

It’s highly encouraged to write a brief intro that explains aspects of the rhetorical situation, mostly so that you yourself are clear on these things. Who was on trial, for what, and what was Darrow trying to achieve on their behalf? Then you can give me a “purpose statement.” The purpose of this paper is using Burke’s Pentad as a way to examine Darrow’s rhetoric. Later, you might be able to create a thesis or describe an overall pattern you have observed. After all, that’s really what a thesis statement is when we analyze texts: We have engaged in an analysis of data (the passages), then we find a “line” through those data that has the best “fit.”

How might you find a “line” of analysis that best suits the “data”?

Youmight indicate which of the Pentad “ratios” seem most critical to Darrow’s success. Sure, we all know he is trying to convince a judge not to hang his clients, but it would be prudent to indicate what main technique(s) he uses to achieve that goal. Another approach is to indicate why the “resources of ambiguity” inherent in language (that’s a Burke phrase) allow Darrow even to formulate these sentences.

What NOT to do?

Analysis of pathos appeals is not a Burkean analysis. To be sure, Darrow projects a very interesting ethos, and he relies upon some logos/enthymemes about the nature of guilt and mercy. Aristotle’s theory of rhetoric would have us examine those things, but that’s not the task. Nor is the task to talk extensively about Identification. Yes, Burke is also the theorist who gave us the concept of rhetoric as “Identification.” But this paper should NOT spend time showing how Darrow tries to get the judge to “identify with” his clients.

There IS a way that Identification/Terministic Screens are in play here: When using the Pentad to study discourse, we are seeking the terms used to name/identify the underlying phenomena. So the Pentad does in part examine the terministic screens, but it also does more. It looks at concepts that are given explanatory power (like Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier,” or James Q. Wilson’s “broken window,” or another scholar’s police car or the magazine writer’s emphasis on the landscape of suburbia). These might be lexical choices, but they might also be matters of sentence structure, matters of recurrent emphasis, and larger conceptual “ratios” like SCENE-ACT.

Bottom line:

In a passage you are examining, what term/concept is Darrow trying to explain? And which is he treating as the moving force? If you find yourself studying Darrow’s decision to focus on the young ages of the killers, don’t talk about pity; talk about the way their youth invokes a particular frame with a particular ratio of the Pentad. The concept of frame and pentad are related here. The Columbine, Parkland, and Sandy Hook killings were all framed as “school shootings.” That’s a particular way to arrange the Pentad: SCENE is given dominance for framing or defining the act—right there at the lexical level. But, after some analysis of Columbine, others identified/framed the killers as something they called the “trench-coat mafia”—basically, disaffected Goths who may have been victims of bullying. This frame seems not to have been grounded in reality, but it was seized upon as having explanatory force (the group AGENT had been shaped by bullying [Act-Agent], and the bullied Agent then fashioned a desire to retaliate [PURPOSE and ACT]. Yet another compelling approach to Columbine identified Eric Harris as a psychopath. Defining the ‘Agent’ as a psychopath locates the motive in his psychology. We could say that is a psychiatric frame. All of the different explanations imply a particular way of arranging the 5 terms of the Pentad. Then, similar to Parkland, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and others there were various other ways to frame the matter: Was it a story of America failing to protect children from gun culture? Was it a story about a police-system that fails to use the already existing background checks at its disposal? Was it a story about gun culture? Rampant, untreated mental illness?

Make sure to stay on this issue of how Darrow defines, or frames, or explains his clients’ behavior.

  • According to Darrow, when his clients kidnapped and killed Bobby Franks, what was happening?
  • What sort of Agents (Patients???) were they?
  • What did they think they were doing?

Darrow offers several answers to this question. It is not just a random set of excuses; there are some patterns to the way he works—even if he also seems to jump around.

The key terms of the Pentad:

The Pentad’s five terms are meant to be the most neutral of ways to describe an event – something happened (ACT), done by someone/thing (AGENT [or Patient]), in a place/time/setting (SCENE), for a goal (PURPOSE), and probably via some kind of tool (AGENCY).  Tools can include physical tools, like police cars. But they can also include intangibles: language, money, and ideas. Motive is distributed across the five terms. Therefore, it’s encouraged to think of motive in terms of motion-power. Motive is not always linear, but it can be helpful to think of motive in terms of … a locomotive or a driver or force. In any frame – in any arrangement of the Pentad – something is explained or examined through something else. I have asked you to figure out what concept is treated as the first domino to fall, the pony or the dog at the head of the pack, the thing that sets other things in motion. Something is the engine, something else is the caboose.

Approaches

  • It’s highly recommended to focus on his paragraphs, not whole pages. If a sentence is pretty fascinating, you might write a whole paragraph about it.
  • Try to use RATIO to describe what you are seeing in the paragraph – or perhaps just in a sentence.
    • Are we looking at an AGENT-ACT ratio (the ACT is understood via the identity of the person doing the deed—like, “Oh, that person is policing when he slows down his squad car,” versus, “That guy in the car is stalking me.”)?
    • Or an ACT-AGENT ratio, where we understand the character via the action (Oh, they’re college graduates! That’s why their wearing those black gowns!)
    • Or a ratio that privileges SCENE—for instance, what is nature of the Scene (in that paragraph or sentence), and what role does Darrow give it? If I say call someone a New Yorker, I’m using a place to define them. Of course, we know there’s a lot of human activity going on in NYC that leads to New York “character.”

Warning: Please don’t spend time saying that the scene is the courtroom, the agent is Darrow, et cetera. Please know that this is BADLY off-focus.

  • Instead, examine Darrow’s explanationof what happened—his “theory of the case,” so to speak, or even his theory of Man (or Human Nature). According to him, what are the relevant Scenes? What kind of clients does he have? What exactly were they doing when they killed Bobby Franks – trying to get cash, or something else? What goal did they have, and where did it come from? It is not wrong to notice, though, that Darrow re-defines the courtroom not as a place of justice (with a judge applying the law) but as a different sort of drama.
  • As you apply the Pentad, pay attention to strange ambiguities, like items (tools) that seem to act of their own accord. Usually items don’t act; we use them. We are the actors. But language turns all sorts of stuff into actors and scenes that act upon us. Notice as well: Is the “scene” really a physical environment? And notice the disappearing decision-power of the individual.

Bigger Chunks:

In a couple of places, a bigger section (half page or more) hammers home a single concept. There, Darrow has one main idea in mind, and possibly it can be explained by reference to a single ratio. At these spots, better to work as a synthesizer instead of a line-by-line analyst. Pull together the whole chunk and analyze how it uses/sets up a particular ratio. It is okay to say that you see Scene-Agent-Act (three terms), or to say that something could be understood two different ways.

Single Sentences:

In a few cases, a single sentence deserves to be endlessly unpacked, because its peculiar phrasing does a world of rhetorical work. If you find a really bizarre sentence (like the very peculiar Dick Cheney sentence), consider the way it uses the resource of grammar and syntax to arrange elements of the Pentad – i.e., to frame the story of what happened. In some discourses, such maneuvers wind up making philosophical claims about how human beings get their character and what sets in motion their behaviors.

Figuring out the complexities is very like unpacking a line of poetry, so spend 15 minutes in careful thought just looking at the sentence. The more you probe, the better you will understand (a) what Darrow is doing and (b) why Burke refers to this as a “grammar.” If your show, in your paper, you know what Burke and I mean by calling this a “grammar”—including perhaps the idea that motive/moving-forces can get pounded into certain grammatical spots of sentences—I will sing a song of praise. Putting those sentence analyses into the paper may mean clustering some of them. This will become easier to do once you see some patterns and themes emerge in the analysis.

Form Contraries:

Partof how we evaluate activities as “sane” is the degree to which it fits the circumstances. Yelling my head off will probably get me evaluated as a not-so-sane agent … unless I am at a football game, in which case I am then a fan. You may notice Darrow using the expectation of congruence as a tool for making certain arguments.

Using the (Burke’s) Terminology

  • Do your best to identify the TWO main terms of the RATIO you see.
  • Be sure to explain how you are using your terms.
  • Feel free to identify more than one way of describing the moment—but explain the rationale for your different ways of approaching it. Don’t just list 4 possible ratios. I won’t be able to do anything with that kind of a list.
  • Do pay attention to order. The relationship/ratio expressed as (Ex.1) Act-Agent is not the same as one expressed as (Ex.2) Agent-Act.

(1) The Act-Agent ratio seeks to understand the Agent in the context of the Action, or as a manifestation of repeated Acts. A performative concept of identity puts Act first. In a “chicken-egg” sense, Act is the chicken, identity (Agent) is the egg.

(2) The Agent-Act ratio understands the deeds in the context of the person … or as a result of some part of the personality. The Agent’s identity is the “first domino to fall.” In this ratio, we assume that you have an identity or personality, and that you Act congruently with that identity. So, if two teenagers are caught throwing toilet paper into a neighbor’s trees, we might call the deed a prank (because they are teens) rather than malicious trespass.

What is a “Ratio”?

Remember: For Burke, motive is really found in the “ratio” or relationship between parts of the Pentad. Mainly there is a two-term dyad. This is the main “ratio.”

The first term in the ratio is sort of like the container or backdrop; it is not always causal, but it sometimes is. The second term is the thing being explained or characterized. The first term moves things forward, influences them, or is used to understand the second term. There are some examples at the end of this document, should you need them.

Illustrating Some Ratios (if you wanted more on this) – some extra EXAMPLES if the writer of this paper is confused:

  • Example: Imagine a socially shy freshman who wants to make friends. This person (Agent) would pursue his goals (Purpose) through tools and behaviors aligned with his personality. Perhaps he starts a Dungeons and Dragons group. This can be understood as a Purpose-Agency ratio (goal leads to the choice of tools) or a Purpose-Act ratio (goal of making friends leads to action). But let’s not ignore the role of being Shy Guy. Perhaps what we really have is an Agent-Act This is a good example of where you want to explain how you are using the terms.
  • The Act-Agent ratio seeks to understand the Agent in the context of the Action, or as a manifestation of repeated Acts. A performative concept of identity puts Act first. In a “chicken-egg” sense, Act is the chicken, identity (Agent) is the egg. If we think a person’s moral badness shapes her rotten behavior, we are saying that a person’s character is the way to understand the actions. This is an Agent-Act Ratio. Moral badness is part of the person (Agent). What it causes or shapes (bad Acts) is the second term.
  • The Agent-Act ratio understands the deeds in the context of the person … or as a result of some part of the personality. The Agent’s identity is the “first domino to fall.” In this ratio, we assume that you have an identity or personality, and that you Act congruently with that identity. So, if two teenagers are caught throwing toilet paper into a neighbor’s trees, we might call the deed a prank (because they are teens) rather than malicious trespass.
  • The term “terrorist” lexicalizes an identity (AGENT) and defines ACT in its terms. After all, nearly all violent crime causes terror, but only some crimes are considered terrorism. The ACT and the AGENT are defined in large part by the PURPOSE—the purpose the person has in the world, or the purpose of the act he commits. We could say that a desire to interfere with society’s functioning (PURPOSE) led to the ACT of causing harm.
  • The concept of frame and pentad are related here. The Columbine, Parkland, and Sandy Hook killings were all framed as “school shootings.” That’s a particular way to arrange the Pentad: SCENE is given dominance for framing or defining the act, right at the lexical level.
  • AGENT-ACT ratio: ACT is understood via the identity of the person doing the deed—like, “Oh, that person is policing the street in his squad car,” versus, “That guy in the car is stalking me.”
  • ACT-AGENT ratio, where we understand the character via the action (Oh, they’re college graduates! That’s why their wearing those black gowns!)
  • Ratio that privileges SCENE—If I say call someone a New Yorker, I’m using a place to define them. Of course, we know there’s a lot of human activity going on in NYC that leads to New York “character.” So. the place is also a human place.

 

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