This week, we started thinking about the differences between the three classical levels of decorum or style — high/grand style, middle style, and plain/low style. Our engagement with style was largely practical: students had to write paragraphs in the differing styles. At the same time, they were asked to think about what writing strategies they used to try to impart that style to their paragraphs. Part of our project this week is to move from an “I-know-it-when-I-see-it” approach to style to a more thoughtful and reflective approach that helps you recognize the strategies writers use to best communicate in a given rhetorical situation.
Here’s a handout that I worked up to that provides a comprehensive overview on the different levels of style. For more reflections on this, see Envision chapter 8.
Let’s start to sharpen these criteria by looking at more concrete examples. Before class on Wednesday, October 26, all fall Rhetgamers should look at their sources and choose ONE excerpt (1-3 sentences long) that clearly represents either high, middle or plain style. Then, as a reply to this post, they should post that quote (in quotation marks, with a proper citation), list what level of style it represents, and then briefly (in 1-3 sentences of their own) indicate what specific characteristics of that particular quote defines it as high/middle/plain style. Feel free to read through the comments before yours to help you with your own analysis!