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Rhetorical Analysis Project

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S: Let's Get Digital: An Analysis of the 2008 Article, "Literature and Digital Illumination" Lengel

FC: Let's Get Digital: An Analysis of the 2008 Article, "Literature and Digital Illumination" | Elizabeth Lengel

1: Content | About the Article. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 First Impressions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Visual Pros & Cons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 The Textual Defense. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6-7 Digital Media: The Creators' Choices. . . . . . . . .8 Snapshots of the Media: Flash Videos . . . . . .9-10 Snapshot's of the Media: Images . . . . . . . . 11-12 Media Pros & Cons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 So What Else Is Out There?. . . . . . . . . . . . 14-15

2: About the Article | This presentation addresses Lis Lindeman and Gregory O. Smith's website, "Literature and Digital Illumination." Through the use flash videos, blocks of text, and standard and doctored images on the site, the creators intend to convince the reader that there are opportunities in the classroom to understand and analyze literature through the use of digital media. To support their claim, the creators look at the remediation of certain texts, such as the hpyertext of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," and doctored images that represent the analyses of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men," and other literary pieces. In order to further encourage the reader to appriciate literary analysis through a digital medium, Lindeman provides a short presentation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice through the use of a flash video. All of this is done to convince the reader that educational experiences, especially literary experiences, are no longer limited to the printed page. Lindeman, Lis and Smith, Greogory O. "Literature and Digital Illumination." Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 12.3 (2008): n. pag. Web. 27 July 2011.

3: Their Case Lindeman and Smith present a defense against stagnancy in the classroom. They argue that “there are vast untapped potentials for digital media in the literature classroom” (Our Position” page). The media they utilize on the site are Flash video and doctored photos. | The Issues | The Faults of the Case Using flash videos and doctored images as the examples of these “vast untapped potentials” of digital media is a weak portrayal of all that the digital world has to offer. Their choices in digital media could be more diverse, more prominent, and even more modern in order to make a stronger and better convincing case. | Through the combination of site design, the choices and application of the digital media, and the creators' text that defends this media, there is a sense of persuasion for the move to digital media, but a lack of strength in the digital media itself.

4: First Impressions: What It Looks Like | The appearance of the site is simple. Every page consists of the site's heading ("Literature and Digital Illumination"), the title of the page the user is on, the content of the page, and the navigation bar at the bottom. The background is a dulled, blue/gray color. Upon opening the website, the user automatically begins on the "Our Position" page, and the flash video of that page immediately starts playing. | Snapshot of the "Our Position" page

5: Visual Pros & Cons | Pros There is nothing to distract the reader from the site's message. The blue/gray background is not hard on the eyes, and it is an interesting break from a standard, white page. All pages are set up in this format and style, providing consitancy for the reader. | Cons The site is on the simplistic side, enough to be concidered amateur, which decreases its authority. The navigation bar is at the bottom of the screen, which goes against what most users are used to (that being the navigation bar towards the top). There is no "Home" page to ease the user into the site. The user is thrown in to it immediately upon opening. The flash video begins as soon as the site opens, giving the user no time to ease into the site's presentation.

6: The Textual Defense: Addressing the Argument | Lindeman and Smith textually defend their side of the print verses digital media issue by confronting their opposition. Others say: "We study printed texts. Therefore, producing and reading digital texts distracts us from what we really do: literary analysis. Making a text digital moves the emphasis from the content to the presentation, decreasing the academic value of the work itself. "Digital media belongs to composition and can play no productive role in the literature classroom. If we combine digital production with the study of literary texts, we will spend most of our time teaching technology and digital composition rather than textual analysis. "Digital media projects are easier to produce than traditional writing, and they do not test critical thinking or literary analysis skills in the same way that traditional written assignments do. Students will end up with work that focuses on flashy technology rather than critical engagement with the text" ("Assumptions" page).

7: Lindeman and Smith respond to these assumptions by stating: "The book that "becomes" digital or takes advantage of new media can be restored, with expanded relevance, to a worldwide audience, including today's literature students" ("Status" page). "Students can develop arguments and analyses with digital composition just as they can with print texts and traditional writing. Literary studies has everything to gain from recognizing that technology supports valid forms of reading and composition ("Status" page). "Digital texts update and improve print production. Instead of threatening the status of the printed text, digital media enhances it. Digital media has the ability to turn a two-dimensional work into a multidimensional one" ("Illumination" page).

8: The Digtal Defense: The Creators' New Media Application | To prove their case that new media is a positive addition to literature, the creators apply flash videos and doctored images to their site. On two pages, Lindeman and Smith use flash videos as either all or most of the pages' content. The "Our Position" page consists of just a video. The "Encouragement" page is made up of both a video and blocks of text. Standard and doctored images make up parts of the "Assumption" page, "Status" page, "Illumination" page, "Enhancement" page, and "Conclusion" page.

9: Snapshots of the Site's Digital Media: The Flash Videos | These are snapshots of the video in the "Our Position" page. The message of the video is essentially the message of their site. | 1 | 2 | 3

10: Cons: Flash videos can not be sped up, re-wound, paused, or stopped. As soon as they begin, the user must watch. If they miss a part or want to hear something again, they must wait for the whole video to finish, relpay it, and wait for the video to reach the desired part. Flash is a dated medium when compared to other video media, especially youtube, which has better features and is more "user-friendly." Using only doctored images become old, tiring, and repetitive. Since these two mediums are the only ones in use, the claim that there are vast amounts of digital media to bring in to the classroom is weak. | These are snapshots of the video on the "Encouragement" page. The point of this video is to show that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice can be analyzed via video.

11: Snapshots of the Site's Digital Media: The Images | These images are found on the "Enhancement" page. Both capture moments of the literary pieces that they represent, encouraging the reader to see this medium as an acceptable way to analyze literature, and also as an "e-llumination" of the text. | Doctored image based on Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" | Doctored image based on Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men"

12: These images are found on the "Clonclusion" page, and further show how literature can be remediated and analyzed through the use of doctored images. | Additional doctored photo based on Gilman's story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" | Image based on Millay's poem, "The Plaid Dress" | Image based on Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, "What My Lips have Kissed"

13: The Media: Pros & Cons | Pros: Doctored images have limitless potential to be creative, persuasive, and story-telling when well-made. The Site utilizes such well-made images. Flash videos are entertaining and easy to watch. They are a fun break from text.

14: So What Else Is Out There? | If flash videos and doctored photos are dated and/or not enough to convince the reader to embrace digital media, what could the creators apply to their site in order to update and diversify their media use? Since Lindeman and Smith perfer the use of video on the site, perhaps they could make use of the Youtube medium. With the ability to pause,rewind and fastforward clips, such features would update the videos that are already on the site. The creators could embed self-made videos onto their site, which would then update both their site and their argument. Images are large contributions to the site, but are too scattered throughout it. The creators could make use of slideshow medium, keeping their images in one location. This way, they make use of two mediums at once.

15: Another modern medium that pertains to images is a timeline medium. The creators could use this to show literary instructors that their students have the ability to focus on the timeline of a certain author, genre, time period, etc. There are many options that can be done with this medium, so applying it to the site would only benefit their argument. Because the creators know their opposition is in favor of text, they could show their audience the potential of a blog. Perhaps they could embed or link out to a post that analysis a piece of literature in a blog setting. Displaying text may seem like a compromise, but it would still be presented through a digital medium. | The digital media options out there are virtually limitless, and the ones that are literary-friendly vary greatly. If Lindeman and Smith want to thoroughly persuade the skeptics to embrace digital media, they should utilize a greater amount of updated and diverse media on their site.

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  • By: Elizabeth L.
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  • Title: Rhetorical Analysis Project
  • This is my analysis of the Kairos article, "Literature and Digital Illumination"
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  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Updated: over 5 years ago

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