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Resemble Assemble Reply; Or, the Use of Misfit Tropes in Student Writing

Winkler, Kyle (2018) Resemble Assemble Reply; Or, the Use of Misfit Tropes in Student Writing. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines rhetorical troping, specifically how students use the misfit tropes of
metalepsis, catachresis, and enstrangement as lines of argument. I borrow the definition of
“troping” from Richard Poirier, who argued that it evinced “the human involvement in the
shaping of language, and it prevents language from imposing itself upon us with the force
and indifference of a Technology.” I ask: How and why does a writer work through the
complexities of invention processes, arguments, or conclusions with tropes that have been
historically considered misfit or difficult? Methodologically, I read student writing in the light of
Reuben Brower’s idea of “slow reading” and the frame of ordinary language as developed by
philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Stanley Cavell. The tropes I consider disrupt typical
academic patterns and allow space to trope off the commonplace or cliché. Troping also works as
a heuristic to work through writing problems or find compelling ways to move through classical
topics. My aim is not for the student work to elucidate the tropes, but the tropes to help elucidate
the student work. I demonstrate that writing pedagogy needs to return to a conscious use of
rhetorical tropes and how students can trope on academic and ordinary language, fulfilling their
argumentative needs, and how troping is effective and necessary for conceptual clarity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Winkler, Kylekyw8@pitt.edu0000-0001-9371-4990
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHolding,
Committee MemberMiller,
Committee MemberMcDermott,
Committee MemberBromberg,
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 June 2018
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 17 July 2018
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 231
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: composition, rhetoric, troping, tropes, ordinary language, student writing, pedagogy
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2018 00:14
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2020 05:15


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