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Rhetoric in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

An analysis of rhetoric in Johnathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." This is intended for an American Literature course for high schoolers.

Josef Horvath

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of Rhetoric in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

Rhetoric in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
What is rhetoric?
The Crucible Connection
Figures of Speech
Rhetoric in Action...Warm up to
"The Crucible."
The narrator of the Crucible states that
"the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men into a surrender to a particular church, or churchstate" (Miller, 34).
Rhetoric: The art of effective or persuasive speaking.

You've been practicing this for a few weeks now. We've learned persuasive appeals: logos, ethos & pathos. We've also covered the Rhetoric Triangle and SOAPStone, and it's effectiveness to analyze a speech.

Today we're going to read a classic example of rhetoric in action.
Rhetorical Devices
Persuasive Appeals
Figures of Speech
Logos - Logical
Pathos - Emotional
Ethos - Credibility
QuickWrite: What does Miller mean when he says the devil is "a weapon...used ...to whip men into a surrender to a particular church, or churchstate." In what instances could the devil be a weapon for men?
Comparing 2 unlike things without using like or as.
"All the world's a stage" - Shakespeare
"The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string." - Edwards
An implied reference to something (literature, myth, history, etc) the author expects you to know
"The floods of God's vengeance have been witheld." - Edwards
Turn to someone around you: What does this allude to?
Visually descriptive language
"He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck."
- J.K. Rowling
"You hang by a slender thread, with the flames
of divine wrath flashing about it." - Edwards

Raise your hand: What image this quote brings to
An epic simile is an extended comparison between two
unlike things using comparison words (like, between, as, resembles)
"The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose." - Edwards
An object that stands for both itself,
and something beyond itself (an idea, belief, etc)
God's Hands
QuickWrite: What might God's Hands represent?
Bald Eagle = Freedom
Words with the same pronunciation but a different meaning
"The wrath of God is like great waters dammed for the present." - Edwards
What word sounds like "dammed"
but has a different meaning?
Repetition of consonant (non-vowel)
sounds at the beginning of words
Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers.
"...and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God,
would rush forth with inconceivable fury." - Edwards
Persuasive Appeals
Quick Write: What persuasive appeal would be the most effective in convincing a congregation to believe in the wrath of God, and in turn, attend church? Why?
Look at the first page of your handout. We're going to read the first page of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." I want you to write down two examples of pathos in Edwards' sermon. Make sure to write down the line numbers as well.
What is the purpose of Edwards' sermon?
Identify the metaphor in the 2nd paragraph on the first page,and explain why it is effective.
How does citing, and thereby exposing, parishoners attempts to maintain the appearance of religious devotion strength Edwards' argument?
Tonight: Read the rest of the speech. Fill out the SOAPStone document for tomorrow. We'll use this for class tomorrow.
Full transcript