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  1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Persuasive in Fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MilesTro, Jul 2, 2013.

    I am taking a summer English class that focus on rhetoric and analyzing how some articles use it. And I am wondering how the art of persuasive is use in fiction stories. The class only focus on the academic genre. Plus what is the difference between rhetoric in academic and fiction?
     
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    As long as you persuade the reader to keep turning pages, you've used the art appropriately...
     
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  3. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    persuade the reader to agree with the MC on some position?
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Rhetoric in fiction has to be understated to be effective, usually through dialogue. Rhetoric in the narrative runs the risk of being preachy. In my view, it's much better to simply use the story to make the reader face whatever it is you want to address and lead them to their own conclusions. A favorite example of this, one I've mentioned in other posts, is in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, specifically the scene in which Scout shames the lynch mob just by her innocence. OTOH, I can think of many instances of authors whose ham-handed preaching made their work tiresome - Allan Drury in his works after Advise and Consent, anything written by Ayn Rand, and Leon Uris' A God in Ruins all spring to mind.
     
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is common in novels that seek to make some sort of political or social point. It's taking a social issue and pushing it to extremes, to get readers to think about the impact of policies -- see The Handmaid's Tale, or the more recent When She Woke, or the classics 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

    It could also take a different POV -- maybe someone who wants to write an anti-abortion book would write a story from the POV of a fetus, or of some Earth-saving hero whose mother almost aborted him but was somehow prevented from doing so. Or the flip side would be someone denied an abortion and all kinds of other bad things happen, and the child is ultimately the destroyer of Earth, or less dramatically, shows women dying and remaining in poverty, and is told maybe from the POV of a child whose mother dies from an attempted abortion and lives with his grandmother on food stamps, which are then cut off, and we see his daily struggles.
     
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    So it is like writing an article about your argument in narrative form, and the details that your main character learns are your supportive evidences.
     
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    Not so much what the character necessarily learns, but what he experiences. You're making the facts and statistics part of the character's existence. Like if you wanted to write something against a new transcontinental oil pipeline, you could write about a boy whose house was destroyed when there was a massive oil spill. If you read that some kind of illness happens to people exposed to that oil, then his mother gets that illness. If you read that ducks die because they were all covered in oil, your MC used to feed the ducks who lived in the pond next to his house every day, but many of them died and he saves a couple who are covered in oil by washing them in a special detergent. Whatever the details are, as far as the arguments about what happens if X is allowed, those argued facts become part of your story and your character's experience.
     
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Would Animal Farm by George Orwell count?
     
  9. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    It can, although it use anthropomorphic animals. I learned that one liberator can also become another tyrant.
     

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