Rhetoric of ethnicity: selected texts of the American minority writers Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Toni Morrison
Wiltse, Cheryl Ann
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Ethnicity is a concept that has received much study in the late 20th-century. Because of America's “mixed salad” bowl culture instead of the “melting pot” image, there is still great ethnic diversity in the society. Further, these ethnicities have been examined in the artistic works of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior , and Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street. These minority writers establish clear links among ethnicity, language as a cultural artifact, and rhetoric. They use the characteristics of the child as symbol and child narrators as Aristotelian metaphors to note the minority condition and to persuade the audience of their authenticity. Additionally, these ethnic writers employ an ristotelian form of ethos, particularly virtue, to persuade the audience of the goodness of the child narrators and the goodness of other characters. By using Aristotelian metaphor and ethos, Morrison, Anaya, Kingston, and Cisernos engage and educate the audience about their ethnicities. The first part of the dissertation establishes the link between ethnicity and rhetoric. The following chapters analyze the child narrators and their situations, applying the rhetorical ideas outlined in the introduction. The last chapter concludes the findings of the study, recognizing the emphasis placed on Aristotelian metaphor and ethos in these minority works.