The Method of Rhetorical Homologies, Illustrated in Texts of Ritual Injury
In a recent book, the author develops a method called rhetorical homology that identifies formal resemblances across texts and experiences based on discursive structures. This essay illustrates that method in application to a group of texts and experiences concerning ritual injuries. Encompassing social slights and injuries in actual experience is a widespread discursive practice which offers motivations for overcoming the injury. This paper identifies the rhetorical homology, or formal structure, linking films as diverse as "The Longest Yard", "Drumline", and several Laurel and Hardy comedies such as "Two Tars" and "Big Business". The structure also underlies stories of Christian martyrdom, televised professional wrestling, and the African American practice of "playing the dozens" or "signifying".
Keywords: Homology, Rhetoric, Discourse, Form, Kenneth Burke
Charles Sapp Centennial Professor in Communication, Department of Communication Studies Chair, Department of Communication Studies, The University of Texas-Austin