Metaphor is the bomb; at a minimum, it is the talisman. Metaphor immediately invokes a powerful image, a connotation, and related inferences. Through its linguistic iconography, metaphor efficiently conveys the reader beyond the flat world where the pencil drawings of introductory remarks slowly sketch their outlines of the dialogic landscape. Metaphor delivers us quickly into the beautiful, full-color relief of a well-defined and fully furnished three-dimensional environment that serves linguistically as a virtual reality in which subsequent exploration, negotiation, and dialectical navigation may all safely transpire.
An Example of Churchill’s Style: The Great Declaration
Files I prepared for class: Roundtable Handout
“This Was Their Finest Hour” speech to the House of Commons by Winston Churchill
Recorded June 18, 1940
Audio Excerpt: Finest Hour-Clip
I spoke the other day of the colossal military disaster which occurred when the French High Command failed to withdraw the northern Armies from Belgium at the moment when they knew that the French front was decisively broken at Sedan and on the Meuse. This delay entailed the loss of fifteen or sixteen French divisions and threw out of action for the critical period the whole of the British Expeditionary Force. Our Army and 120,000 French troops were indeed rescued by the British Navy from Dunkirk but only with the loss of their cannon, vehicles and modern equipment. This loss inevitably took some weeks to repair, and in the first two of those weeks the battle in France has been lost. When we consider the heroic resistance made by the French Army against heavy odds in this battle, the enormous losses inflicted upon the enemy and the evident exhaustion of the enemy, it may well be the thought that these 25 divisions of the best-trained and best-equipped troops might have turned the scale. However, General Weygand had to fight without them. Only three British divisions or their equivalent were able to stand in the line with their French comrades. They have suffered severely, but they have fought well. We sent every man we could to France as fast as we could re-equip and transport their formations.
I am not reciting these facts for the purpose of recrimination. That I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful. We cannot afford it. I recite them in order to explain why it was we did not have, as we could have had, between twelve and fourteen British divisions fighting in the line in this great battle instead of only three. Now I put all this aside. I put it on the shelf, from which the historians, when they have time, will select their documents to tell their stories. We have to think of the future and not of the past. This also applies in a small way to our own affairs at home. There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments-and of Parliaments, for they are in it, too-during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. There are too many in it. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine. Continue reading “Until Victory is Won”
Below is a MindMap (generated using Xmind) of the first five chapters of Nonsense Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language by Robert J. Gula.