Final Proposal July 12th

Prashant Patel Proposal Thesis Advisor, Martha Brenckle PhD June 12, 2020

Committee Members
Thesis Committee Chair- Dr. Martha Brenckle PhD
Thesis Committee Advisor And Coordinator- Dr. Martha Brenckle PhD
Revisor- Dr. Kevin Roozen PhD
Feedback Advisor- Dr. Sonia Arellano PhD

I. Introduction

A debate has emerged in rhetorical circles over how to best interpret fictional narratives of war, and its relationship to notions of epistemological truth. Contributing to this debate is a parallel discussion over how fictional narratives of war can be analyzed through the predominant school of Post Modernism theory. Post Modernism theory is defined as a paradigm in which individuals or persons within institutions are viewed as “agents of change” (Hendrickson and McKelvey 7289). In terms of discourse and language Post modernism has its antecedence in the field of anthropology where scholars study how individuals of early societies construct notions of “truth” (Mumby 14).Post-Modernism is viewed as a social philosophy that attempts to understand how ideas of epistemology are formed without intermediately institutions presenting obstacles. These institutions are; churches, political units, and schools.

Through this lens discourse and rhetoric are delineated within two distinct categories (T) truth and (t) truth. In terms of (T) truth, this is defined as a concept in epistemology within Post Modernism that perceives notions of truth as being absolute and direct. This direct truth assists individuals in conceptualizing how items and things are presented to construct meaning (Mumby 14). Whereas (t) truth seeks to decentralize (t) truth and contextualize how an individual’s experience, or how the ontological factors influence their understanding of the world and language.

My position is that fictional narrative of the Vietnam war and the Iraq invasion of 2003Should have a place within a rhetorical theory. I believe that since these novels possess an interrelationship with different diverse rhetorical philosophies that highlight the two different categories of truth it will illuminate a textual analysis. This will shift how the current scholars of rhetoric discuss the role of war fiction.
An intensive analysis of how the concepts and ideas that have molded rhetorical theory and their engagement to the text of a fictional war narrative, illustrate how a diverse group of authors construct meaning out of their war experiences from the Vietnam era and the Iraq war of 2003. But perhaps most importantly this research will be discussed and expand how war fiction is used in rhetorical studies today. Currently, scholars and researchers situate rhetoric’s relationship to war fiction from a perspective of structuralism theory. 
Structuralism theory when applied to rhetoric, primarily identifies the structural pattern of institutions that contribute to the usages of discriminatory language towards minority groups. In addition to the emphasis on ideas of structuralism, there is also a prevalence within rhetorical scholarship to examine war literature from a perspective of how and why a specific text is structure and written in the way that it is, without extrapolating any further meaning. As a result, scholars tend to limit their textual analysis in terms of discussing how a particular text diverges from another without mentioning any rhetorical reference to epistemology Hawking’s (5). This in turn shortcuts any value that Post-Modernism can bring to the study of war literature.

II. Literature Review

The purpose of this literature review is to demonstrate how the present theoretical structure within the field of rhetorical theory engages fictional narratives of the Vietnam and Iraq war of 2003. The intended outcome of this project will be to demonstrate how a textual analysis of the novels relating to these two periods illicit different concepts of epistemological truth. 

 Writers, Leslie Henrickson and Bill McKelvey argue that the theoretical concepts that became to be conceived as Post Modernism have their roots in the 1970s when rhetoricians were turning away from the ideas of Positivism (Henrickson and McKelvey 7288). At this time Positivism was viewed as “social science in which knowledge and truth have become acquainted with the “scientific method” (Mumby 4). A direct consequence of this is that language was transformed into “a discourse of representation” (Mumby 4). This is defined as communicative events when discourse narrowly defined and limited to the only persuasion. (Mumby 4).
From an epistemological perspective, one can argue that positivism prevents an investigation of the text that resides in war fiction and how elements of truth can be extracted from its pages. This is because within the tenants of “modernism” is the belief that there should exist a scientific bifurcation relationship between the observer of a research project and its subject (Mumby 4). This is significant in that a modernist paradigm would confine the meaning and the context in which a character may explain their perspective of truth. At the exclusion of all other types of knowledge.

Due to the restrictive nature of modernismscholars began to investigate new theoretical formations. The outcome that resulted from these investigations is the concept of Post Modernism theory. The significance of Post Modernism theory is that it reconceptualizes the relationship between epistemology and knowledge. One example of this is the function of “heterogeneous agents and agent-based modeling” (Henrickson and McKelvey 7288).
This is significant in the fact thatPost-Modernistic unlike modernism constructs a concept of truth that has its foundation in human rationality this rationality values human’s ability to reason in selecting a particular epistemology to believe in.
The literature review that follows highlights the many different ways that a postmodernist perspective undergirds different schools of truth that emanate from the text of a war novel. This relationship is most salient within the writing styles of Vietnam and Iraq war literature. Within these novels are different ideas of narration, rhetorical theory, and epistemological truth.

III. Methodology, Theoretical Framework, and Research andQuestions :

Methodological design and implementation issues have also affected how scholars of war fiction have approached a rhetorical analysis of this topic. For example, scholars such as Kimberly Crenshaw in her article “Women In The Gulf War: towards an Intertextual Rhetorical Feminist Criticism In The Gulf War”. Crenshaw argues that feminist scholars should expand traditional applications of feminist theory to war fiction that go beyond the common analysis of a woman’s role in a hierarchical and patriarchal system (Crenshaw 219). Instead Crenshaw advocates for a rhetorical analysis of the perceptions that create a concept of ” intersectionality” within the environment soldiers who are female, and African American (Crenshaw 220)
Feminist theorist and scholar Frank D’Angelo borrows Julia Kristeva’s definition of intersectionality, she defines this term to be viewed as “the transportation of one (or several signs (systems into another” (Krsteva 60). In clarifying this definition D’Angelo says in other words, every text is connected to another by citations, quotations, illusions, borrowing, adaptations, imitation and alike” (D’Angelo 33). In D’Angelo’s perspective intertextuality assist readers to understand how ideas of race and war intersect with one another to create discursive adaptations towards minority groups that reside within institutions such as the military (D’Angelo 33.)
However, there are significant limitations to the use of intersectionalityas an analytical instrument in the investigation of war fiction. One significant handicap is it would be difficult for this study to locate an initial text that or document that includes all significant rhetorical devices that adequately or transition into a particular war narrative. This is the case since different authors employ a variety of rhetorical strategies to convey their points. For example, in Tim O’Brien’s “The things They Carried” the author seeks to amplify rhetorical devices of metacognition that are used to emphasize the difficulty of Vietnam veterans to make sense of their experiences 20 years after the war ended.

If an inter-textual analysis were applied to a novel such as the “Things They Carried” it would be difficult for a researcher to identify where the text is specific narrative story is being derived from an exact document. This gives narrators such as O’Brien the liberty and flexibility to shape and design the narrative of the entire book under the message that they want to tell.  Due to the particular rhetorical strategy of metacognition, and inter-textual approach cannot be applied.
The principles of Critical Discourse Analysis is a methodological design that is viewed as being an alternative to intersectionality. Acknowledged by the acronym (CDA) critical discourse analysis, is defined as a methodology that “wants to know what structures, strategies, or other properties of text, talk or verbal interaction or communicative events play a role in these modes of representation” ( Van Dijk 250). To satisfy the criteria of CDA analysis, a researcher will be required to examine the presence of questionable conditions of “legitimacy or acceptability, including what is usually called “abuse of power” (Van Dijk 250). In other words, this author is concerned with issues relating to how the internal design of institutions reproduce or solidify social inequities within systems, in which an analysis of discourse can explain (Van Dijk 250).
Despite the growth in popularity of (CDA) within rhetorical scholarship, this methodology will not serve the purpose of this research project adequately. This is the case because the exigency that is the central focus of this study does not involve an examination of how institutions and their internal design, reproduce factors that propagate inequality or political dominance. For example, a (CDA) analysis of “The Sympathizer”  will not permit the flexibility that is needed to reach conclusions about how the text of the sympathizer highlights aspects of rhetorical epistemology. This is because a (CDA investigation would only go as far as understanding how the main character’s communication with Americans in a structure of dialogue reinforces cultural biases of American culture that lost the Vietnam War.

Methodological stance

I will examine the intersection between fictional narratives of the Vietnam war and Iraq invasion of 2003 from the rhetorical position that the implementation of a narrative theory methodology permits a more expansive application of the ideas that comprise the study of rhetorical theory than existing ones such as feminism. A construction of narrative theory fits into a post modernistic paradigm since it amplifies how the different voices that come from the text of these novels illuminate diverse concepts of epistemology.

Research Questions

The research questions which will guide the implementation of a narrative methodological formula on the for this project is the following:

  • How does each piece of war literature that is that serves as a primary source for this research project interacts or highlights concepts of epistemological truth, in terms of (T) and (t) truth?
  • What are the differences from how multi-voice narratives and singular voice narratives construct concepts of truth that are highlighted in their text?
  • How do the characters that are at the center of the plots in the 4 novels conceptualize truth and how does that influence how the characters define war within the scope of narrative theory?
  • What are the implications for rhetorical theory in adopting a new methodological design towards and how the field of rhetoric researches the role of world literature, in terms of their importance to rhetorical theory?
  • How does the narrator in each of the four primary sources serve as a mitigating factor towards a conceptualization of either (T) truth or (t) truth, that is prevented from being understood from the text?

VI. Chapter Outline of the Thesis

Chapter One: Introduction, explanation of what is being studied and why it is important to rhetoric literature review.
Chapter Two: Explanation of methodology and a discussion of Narrative Theory and how it applies to an analysis of War fiction.
Chapter Three. The role of narration as an element of textual analyses.
Chapter Four: Will be an analysis of singular voiced novels and how the ideas and concepts that are derived from the text of the literature conceptualize a theory of (t)truth. For example, through the use of narrative theory, this project will discuss how the novel’s such as the things they carried frame and contextualize ideas of time and space.

Chapter Five: will entail, a discussion of Multivoiced novels within a framework of narrative theory and how a text highlights different concepts of epistemological (T) truth when they interact with principles from rhetorical theory.
Chapter Six: Is a concluding chapter that will consist of a detailed discussion of what value war narratives bring to a study of rhetorical theory and more specifically what particular pieces of literature from the Vietnam era and Iraq invasion can add to expanding the applicability of war literature to a discussion about how a textual analysis of these novels can highlight concepts of truth that are bolstered by the usage of critical discourse analysis. Ideological discussions in “The Sympathizer”, versus letters in “Sand Queen” in the text. Compare and contrast these sets of novels that are both Multi voiced and written by a female and a male against the novels such as “The Things They Carried” and the “Yellow Birds” which are singular voice novels and written exclusively from a male perspective.

V. Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework for this study will be how the theoretical foundations that comprise the western cannon of rhetoric engage with pieces of war literature. The theoretical framework that will comprise this study will be explained in terms of how the authors of Multi voiced narratives and singular voice narratives, use specific foundations from rhetorical theory to analyze a text, in a certain way that underscores axioms of Post modernism. The theoretical rhetoricians such as Kenneth Burke have contributed significantly to designing certain ideas that can be applied and understood within a perspective of postmodernism. For example, in his famous treaty, The Range of Rhetoric Burke states “ For rhetoric as such is not notices in any past condition of human society. It is rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that wholly realistic, and is constantly born anew; the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols” (Burke 43).

What Burke states here is that from a Post-Modernistic perspective the purpose of rhetoric s not for words to have universal applications in all situations, but to use symbolic language and symbols to inform how a person understands and situates a specific space, timeframe or event. This general analysis can be applied to The Yellow Birdsin which the story centers around how the main character contextualizes, the death of his friend to make a specific interpretation of what was the overall purpose of the Iraq invasion of 2003. Therefore ,it can be stated explicitly that the framework for this paper will not examine how particular scholars construct truth,but how aspecific theory from the western rhetorical cannon interconnects with a text. This in turn instructs a specific interpretation of what war novel says about truth.

VI. TimeLine

Draft of Chapter 1 due – July 17th, Friday 2020

Chapter 1 revised Draft due- August 17th, Monday 2020

The final version of Chapter 1 due-  August 31st, Monday 2020

Draft of Chapter 2 due- September 14th, Monday 2020

Chapter 2 revised Draft due- October 2nd,Friday 2020

Final Version of Chapter 2 due- November 2nd, Monday 2020

Draft chapter 3 due- November 30th, Monday 2020

Chapter 3 revised due- December 2nd, Wednesday 2020

The final version of Chapter 3 due- December 16th, Wednesday 2020

Draft of Chapter 4 due- January 12th, Tuesday 2021

Chapter 4 revised-January 29th, Friday 2021

The final version of chapter 4- February 5th, Friday  2021

Draft of Chapter 5-  March 1stst, Monday 2021

Revised Chapter 5- March 16th, Monday 2021

The final version of Chapter 5- March 29th, Tuesday 2021

Defense of Thesis – April 8th, Thursday 2021

Work Cited

Foucault, Michel, and Michel Foucault. The Archaeology of Knowledge; And, the Discourse on Language.New York: Pantheon Books, 1972. Print.

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds: A novel. Little, Brown, 2012.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction), 2015.

Benedict, Helen. Sand Queen: A Novel. Soho Press, 2011.

O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Bread and Circuses Publishing, 2012.

Precup, Amelia. “REVERSING ABSENCE. THE EXPLORATIONS OF MEMORY IN THE YELLOW      BIRDS BY KEVIN POWERS.”Studio Universitatis Babes-Bolyai-Philologia 62.1 (2017): 173-190.

James Phelan  & Peter J Rabinowitz. “Narrative as Rhetoric” P.3-9,  Ohio State University Press 2012. Ohio State University Press 2012

Friedrich Nietzsche. “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” “The Madman” “How the ‘True World’ Finally Became a Fable” “The Dionysian World*”. New York: Humanities Press, 1979
Mumby, Dennis K. “Modernism, postmodernism, and communication studies: A rereading of an ongoing debate.” Communication theory 7.1 (1997): 1-28.
Van Dijk, Teun A. “Principles of critical discourse analysis.” Discourse & Society 4.2 (1993): 249-283.
Cahoone, Lawrence E,  Habermas, Jürgen. From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology. “An Alternative Way Out of the Philosophy of the Subject Communicative Vs the Subject Center Reason? “Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. Print
Haytock, Jennifer. “Reframing War Stories: Multi voiced Novels of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” MFS Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 63 no. 2, 2017, p. 336-354. Project MUSE

Martin Heidegger The Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being 1999 – Lippincott Philadelphia, PA

D’Angelo, Frank J. “The Rhetoric of Intertextuality.” Rhetoric Review, vol. 29, no. 1, 2010, pp. 31–47., Accessed 12 July 2020.

Darby, David. “Form and Context: An Essay in the History of Narratology.” Poetics Today, vol. 22 no. 4, 2001, p. 829-852. Project MUSE

Richardson, Brian. “Antimimetic, Unnatural, and Postmodernism Theory .” Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates, by David Herman, Ohio State University Press, 2012, pp. 20–29.
Phelan, James, and Peter Rabinowitz. “Authors, Narrators, Narration .” Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates, by David Herman, Ohio State University Press, 2012, pp. 29–39.
Hendrickson, Leslie, and Bill McKelvey. “Foundations of “new” social science: Institutional legitimacy from philosophy, complexity science, postmodernism, and agent-based modeling.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99.suppl 3 (2002): 7288-7295.

My Skills

I believe in the fact that learning never stops and I am interested in learning new technologies and programming languages that will help me design and develop a better output in less time.



City of Deltona, Division of Planning & Development Services, Deltona FL

Administrative Assistant & Intern

I have responsibly led a team of 12 designers to help, supervise and approve their designs to make sure it matches client expectations and latest design standards.


Volusia County Managers Office, Deland FL

Administrative Intern

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Jan-May 2003

Volusia County Public Transit, Daytona Beach, FL

Government Internship

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