At the end of Permanence and Change, Kenneth Burke calls for a new orientation toward life and social action which he refers to as “the poetic metaphor” (261). This essay connects Burke's briefly used poetic metaphor with his theories on the use of “poetic” language in the essay “Semantic and Poetic Meaning.” What results from this synthesis is a critical tool for rhetorical analysis which allows for the discussion of style as a vehicle for communication about ethics and morals in public discourse. Obama's The Audacity of Hope is used as the example of a text which uses “poetic” language in order to discuss moral and ethical issues in a national arena. Obama ultimately dramatizes his own synthesis of values, putting himself in the position of a trusted intermediary. This analysis provides clarity on Burke's thinking at the end of Permanence and Change and helps us understand his contribution to the study of rhetoric and cooperation.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Cook, Devon S., "Burke's Poetic Metaphor and Obama as Poet" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 4437.
Burke, Obama, poetic metaphor, poetic ideal