Dear Christine de Pizan~The Nature of Women

Pattie Crider


Response 12

October 7, 2013


Christine 1364-1430

The Nature of Women

Dear Christine de Pizan,


I read a section from The Treasure of the City of Ladies, and was quite taken by your work. The selection on slander was fascinating, but my letter is to address the nature of women you described back in the 1400’s.

In the 21st century, men no longer have the control over the world that they once held. In fact, in my opinion, if it were not for the amazing, ethical, eloquent women that have risen through the centuries, our world would be in great demise. Not that we do not have our fair share of problems to still work through.

While men still hold the higher ranks in the work force, in political seats and military service, women have grown in ways you never would have imagined. We no longer are expected to be “timid”, which I interpreted as shy or quiet. I agree that men are more hot-headed than women, and that in general, women handle the urgencies in life, putting themselves behind the needs of others.

Women today have changed in numerous ways that would blow your mind—if you were alive that is—like, we don’t even have to wear dresses. And women can take any career they find themselves called to, even a president. The President of the United States has always been a man, but women are stepping forward and challenging the male dominated position.

I’m sure this is a bit over-whelming to you. The fact that I’m reading in college, what you wrote so long ago makes it clear to me that you were an amazing writer, poet, and orator in your time. I am blessed to read your fine art and grateful for the knowledge I have gained.




Pattie de Dover

Augustine’s 3 goals will score

Pattie Crider

WRT 305

Response  10

October 2, 2013

Augustine the party boy

Augustine the party boy


Augustine’s 3 goals will score

Augustine used rhetoric to achieve three goals: to instruct, to please and to persuade.  He believed in using three styles of speech, subdued, moderate and grand, to achieve his three goals.  The application of this rhetorical approach to Christian doctrine is an effective way to formulate a sermon and share with an audience. Augustine is now a saint, so he apparently knew what he was preaching about.

So does Augustine’s method work in the twenty-first century? Yes, it does, and this is how.  Augustine taught Christianity to an audience or congregation, in person, using the appropriate style to properly inform, please and persuade. Presently, preachers are doing the same, only now, they are on television or the Internet. The change of setting does not change the development process or the way the speech is delivered.

When a preacher wants to teach, they speak in a subdued tone, allowing the information to register with the listener. When a preacher wants to please an audience, such as retelling a Biblical story or passage, a more lively style of delivery is used to draw them in with their words. And when a preacher feels action from an individual is necessary, his words will be shared in grand eloquence, demanding the listening ear of the audience.

Augustine noted that the delivery of a speech seeking to achieve his goal may need to be adjusted depending on the audience. I understood that to mean, if his audience would benefit (learn) from a more or less dramatic speech, then it should be so adjusted. Preaching on television or online (and I haven’t watched much) seems to regularly be in the grand style. This could be for many reasons, possibly because the preacher knows the sermon can be viewed by an unlimited number of people.

I’m not a fan of preachers on television or the Internet because so many in the past have fallen short of being “good men” and failed miserably at having a “divine love” for God. Their motives seem driven by dramatic speeches in hopes of receiving monetary donations. Do all preachers who have a presence on television or even YouTube mean they are not “good men”? Of course not, but I would prefer to be taught, pleased or persuaded by a preacher that stands before their congregation and moves me to action in person with their language.

Quintilian wouldn’t flip me off

Pattie Crider

WRT 305

Response 9

September 30, 2013

"The Good Man"

“The Good Man”


Quintilian criteria of a “good man” boiled down

            A “good man” in Quintilian thought, is a person who only speaks for matters of “justice, fairness and truth.” This person must be of high moral character and in no way have characteristics of a “bad man” removing the possibility that rhetoric could be called a deceptive art.

Quintilian teaching was often begun in the home of a child, the role of teacher falling to the mother. Historically, mothers are expected to be an excellent role model, and to begin a child’s formal teaching at home. Following a home-schooled beginning, a child began grammar school education under the close tutelage of exemplary professors. Rhetoric was an important part of education and children that showed promise were privately educated in “sermo” to ensure they were broadly knowledgeable on all topics and highly knowledgeable about their specific subject.

A person that is taught to fulfill the role of a “good man” from birth through adulthood in Quintilian theory would then be considered ethical. This is a great theory and perhaps a good way to measure the “good man” in this time period. This seems too romantic of a concept in modern time, proven over and over by the bad actions of our politicians.  If lawyers and politicians were held to this standard today, there would be no rhetors, because there are few of either that are found to have high morals, ethics or standards.

Orators: They’re Not a Dime a Dozen

Pattie Crider


Response 7

September 20, 2013

Classical Rhetoric

De Oratore (Of Oratory; Cicero 55 B.C.E.)


One uses a prompter

One uses a prompter

Orators: They’re Not a Dime a Dozen


            Good orators are a rare find in the present day. Most people have difficulty speaking in public, often causing the audience great distress. Cicero believed that students who strive to learn the mechanics of public speaking may still never achieve the ability to captivate and move an audience with their words. It takes a special person to excel in the art of public speaking.

Cicero had the ideal person in mind that could become a great orator.  This person must be able to portray their power, the “mastery of speaking” in front of an audience. To have this ability, they must have a personality that the audience can connect with on a personal level.  To do this, the orator had to be knowledgeable on a vast number of topics, or the dedication to perform research on a topic prior to speaking. Law was the most important topic and an orator was always expected to know Roman law. Using wit and humor, and possessing whip-like reflexes in delivering responses in combination with their body gestures and changes in the tone of their voice, made their speeches most engaging.

The specific level of language used to address an audience was mentioned several times by Cicero. An orator must speak on a level they will understand and if more scholarly words are used, examples should be given to make the argument clear. To lose the audience attention and understanding by “speaking over their heads” would be have been a tragedy. The audience, in this time period, only had the words of orators to become informed citizens. This was the news and the people depended on the orators to update them on all topics.

Cicero’s requirements of a person in the art of rhetoric are realistic presently, just as they were in the first century B.C.E. In that time, Cicero was driven to destroy the Roman senate. He was serious in his dedication to use rhetoric to inform the citizens of the actions of the empire. He is an example of a great orator of the past.  Presently, no one person comes to mind because rhetoric has changed to press conferences where the speeches are seamlessly places before the orator. There is no memorization involved in public speaking, but as Cicero pointed out, body language, facial expressions and tone are also important. Cicero was spot-on in his requirements of an orator and those requirements still hold true today.

Plato~It is all in the truth of those crazy peoples

Pattie Crider

WRT 305

Response 4

September 11, 2013


He loved the cray cray peeps.

He loved the cray cray peeps.

True Rhetoric and the Characteristics According to Plato

            Plato believed that true rhetoric was more than verbally exchanging thoughts and ideas to hash out a particular human discourse. It was not an art to use for self-promotion or to seek praise of others. Plato believed true rhetoric advanced students in knowledge, not just flattered them with false praise.

The main characteristic of rhetoric based on Plato’s writings would be truth.  Plato believed humans could achieve absolute knowledge and that rhetoric could assist in this achievement. Those who shared good rhetoric were believed to be touched by a higher power, whether a god, goddess or God. This “madness” was divine inspiration and only achievable by those moved by a higher power.  All of this truthfulness was based on the love the speaker had for the higher power, a platonic relationship, one that can never sour.

Plato’s interest was not in producing politicians through his teaching, but elevating those worthy of having love for true rhetoric, that inspired by God.  This fascinates me because I often wonder if an orator would come forward (or anyone, for that matter) and declare to have knowledge directly from the God, would anyone believe such to be true? Most likely the person would be declared insane and scorned for his love of God and attempt to share what he has learned as truth.

Phaedrus and Socrates’ dialogue within the text allows me to believe that people did in fact, speak publicly, guided by God.  People were speaking, whether divinely inspired or driven by money, and others were listening. I wonder what has changed that makes those in love with God and speaking only to promote the truth, be viewed differently now than through-out history. Has society hardened to the point that no one dares believe a man (or woman) could be possessed by a higher power and inspired to share the truth with those who will never reach such success? My personal answer is yes. Plato would say those who know true rhetoric–good rhetoric–will recognize the soul is immortal and in doing so, achieve absolute knowledge.

My absolute knowledge, is more than questionable. 😉 ~P.

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