RhetoricLee Speaking

Suddenly Nothing Changed: Why Epiphanies are Cliche

December 22, 2020

With New Year’s fast approaching, we are all in store for our usual turning-of-the clock epiphany. Suddenly, everything changes and, at that moment, we just know.

Except not. Epiphanies are cliches that keep us from doing the hard work of understanding how persuasion happens. The epiphany collapses the event that happens with our response to it as opposed to the rhetorical figure peripeteia, which marks an event as an opportunity for change.

Joe Biden used both epiphany and peripeteia in his 2020 address at the Democratic National Convention. This episode will explore how these rhetorical strategies allowed Biden to navigate his thorny history with Civil Rights advocacy and what worked and didn’t work in Biden’s speech.

Read the blog version: https://rhetoriclee.com/suddenly-nothing-changed-why-epiphanies-are-cliche/

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