AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Scripting sisterhood : a rhetorical analysis of sisterhood as plot and metaphor

by Juliette E Holder

Institution: San Diego State University
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2094433
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/172188


This paper explores common understandings of sisterhood in current American culture. First, through rhetorical criticism, this project uncovers the sisterhood plot as constructed by popular media. Analyzing artifacts from popular culture, I argue that popular media present one plot of sisterhood that prescribes what sisterhood should look like among women everywhere. This plot entails an unwavering commitment to sisterhood despite life changes. A long, shared history as sisters is treasured and seen as an adventure. A sister is the most significant, enduring relationship and the person with whom the most is shared. The relationship demands sacrifice but also carries the security of knowing one???s sister will be there in the same way. Comparing this plot to actual experiences of sisterhood demonstrates that while the plot in itself is confining and not necessarily representative of the experience of sisterhood (maybe even to a problematic level), the themes found within the story are good guiding principles for how sisters relate to one another. The second task of this project is to analyze sisterhood???s rich metaphorical life. Sisterhood as a metaphor for the connection among all women is widely used in varying contexts, including feminist rhetoric, Christian religions, and university Greek systems. However, the plot of sisterhood and its connotations do not disappear when the plot is cast as metaphor. The metaphor of sisterhood is not just referencing an image, or even a relationship, but a story. Using the plot as a metaphor has some important repercussions. These effects are explored in detail alongside an analysis of why sisterhood is the chosen metaphor for each group and how its use adds new dimensions to the ???stories??? of sisterhood commonly held by culture. Insight into how sisterhood is generally perceived and used by culture can be found in this analysis of how sisterhood is discussed and portrayed. More specifically, conclusions can be drawn about the value, role, and power sisterhood carries in its cultural construction. Advisors/Committee Members: Quandahl, Ellen, Bordelon, Suzanne, Geist-Martin, Patricia.