Clandestine Claims

by Lincoln Smith

My Notes
  • Required.
Save Cancel
    Report mistake

    00:01 It's easy to read an entire CARS passage, and not think that anything was argued at all.

    00:09 Maybe we can see the conclusion of the author at the end.

    00:13 But maybe we didn't see how we got from point A to point C.

    00:18 So let's take a further look at ways that authors can bolster their own viewpoints without necessarily stating them directly.

    00:27 Sometimes CARS question sets will test you on something not explicitly stated in a passage, but for which you need to infer.

    00:35 Let's go through a series of short exercises where we demonstrate the art of showing without telling.

    00:41 The first example will be really quite simple to illustrate our point.

    00:47 Here it is.

    00:48 "As the principal entered the room, the children recoiled in fear." What is implied? Okay, simply, this would be that the principal possesses some quality, which would cause fear, that doesn't need to be explicitly stated because it is shown by the children's reaction.

    01:09 How about this one? "Twisted dandelion greens canvassed the field.

    01:15 An unidentified beast trounced through, starving and alone." So this starts off very neutral.

    01:24 We're given this kind of pastoral image of a field.

    01:28 And the fact that this beast is unidentified makes us start to think, "Okay, but is this a dangerous beast? Should we run away?" But then, this just gets into right tone and implications here.

    01:42 The fact that the beast is described as being starving and alone as opposed to just being starving and say, ravenous for a kill implies that perhaps we should have some kind of sympathy for this beast.

    01:56 Maybe that's not really what we should have.

    01:58 But we can at least see how the author might view this beast or how the person viewing the beast feels about it.

    02:06 Now it's, of course alone so it's a there's no actual viewer, but you get the point there, right.

    02:13 And this gets into something where the author wants us to see it, but can't really stated explicitly any other way other than to use language that would increase sympathy.

    02:28 Now, showing without telling is written with the intention of communicating an idea just a little bit indirectly.

    02:37 But connotative language in a CARS passage is a little different in that it can actually attempt to obscure a point.

    02:46 This is a rhetorical device itself to get the reader to lean in and pay closer attention.

    02:52 Let's go through another few examples of connotative language and unpack exactly what's been connotated.

    02:59 "All snowbirds migrate for the winter.

    03:03 If it weren't, so we wouldn't get to experience the bluebird's song each year." What does that connotate? The simple sentence which any one of us might use could be unpacked with a few deeper meanings.

    03:17 Based on the first part, the speaker might be kind of like a teacher just telling us that all snowbirds migrate for the winter.

    03:25 That could also be a scientific statement.

    03:28 It could also be kind of a folksy statements, something just kind of homespun to make us feel at ease.

    03:36 It could in certain contexts be insulting to have to even tell people that snowbirds fly for the winter.

    03:44 So we really need the second sentence to interpret the first.

    03:49 The second sentence clarifies that the speaker is in fact, offering that folksy homespun wisdom for the betterment of the listeners.

    03:58 Okay, so let's take another example.

    04:01 Connotative language.

    04:03 You can think of the classic fatherly advice.

    04:06 "When I was your age, I used to walk barefoot in snow to school for a mile, uphill both ways.

    04:14 Other than the obvious impossibility of this statement, the connotation is clear.

    04:20 Sure, kid, you got problems, but I had them in my day too.

    04:24 Obviously, mine are much worse than yours, you just need to suck it up and get over it.

    04:29 In fact, stating the sentiment like that directly, would be kind of mean to the kid.

    04:37 And stating it indirectly, rather, can engender a kind of friendship.

    04:43 And it's for this reason, we can see that connotation is a formal rhetorical device because it opens the minds of listeners by presenting things from an alternate point of view.

    05:00 Lastly, here's just an ad campaign.

    05:03 "Scaling mountains can be tough.

    05:05 You can do it with your regular hiking boots, but if you purchase our top-of-the-line footwear, you'll be at the top of the peak in no time." The connotation here again is clear.

    05:16 If you don't purchase our footwear, you'll be missing out on some of the amazing benefits it has to offer.

    05:23 This phrase uses the additional rhetorical device of informing readers that they could continue to use their current hiking boots when in fact, the advertisers desire is the exact opposite.

    05:34 This is yet another example of how addressing an alternate viewpoint can strengthen your own.

    05:43 When we're using figures of speech and language, that's when you wouldn't be able to know what the meaning of the words we are saying would be just by reading the words themselves.

    05:56 For a figure of speech, you will have to infer a little bit of something deeper.

    06:02 Hyperbole, which often gets conflated with figures of speech would be an example of a figure of speech where we use an exaggerated or outlandish version of something to make a point.

    06:15 We started this lecture discussing something without explicitly stating it, showing without telling.

    06:22 Next we discussed how to state something by implicitly stating, by connotating it.

    06:28 Let's conclude by discussing how authors can state something with a completely different meaning than the literal words.

    06:35 This is closest to the rhetorical device of synecdoche that we discussed earlier, but a little bit more general.

    06:42 Keep in mind, figures of speech do not imply the exact opposite meaning of the words we are reading.

    06:49 But only that a completely different meaning than the actual words on a piece of paper is supposed to be understood by the reader.

    06:59 A figure of speech really could be anything that fits this definition.

    07:03 In fact, rhetorical devices themselves are more often than not figures of speech.

    07:08 Since the purpose of rhetoric is to persuade through the exploration of deviant forms of language.

    07:14 So let's take three more quick examples that can be used as kind of a generalized understanding for what a figure of speech is.

    07:23 "I'll vote for that political candidate when pigs can fly." "His smirk extended beyond the peak of Mount Vesuvius." "The little cherubs made their way in to the kindergarten classroom." If he thought of any one of these phrases at a literal level, they wouldn't make sense.

    07:42 But most of us can infer what the meaning is about for that political candidate when pigs can fly, that I really have no realistic chance of voting for this political candidate, and so forth.

    07:55 The good news is that as with anything new or unfamiliar in a CARS passage, you should be able to define the figure of speech based on the surrounding context.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Clandestine Claims by Lincoln Smith is from the course CARS Theoretical Foundations.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Anton Chekhov
    2. James Joyce
    3. Katherine Mansfield
    4. William Faulkner
    1. The current trial you face is surmountable; I overcame worse trials when I was a kid.
    2. I really enjoyed my walks to school when I was a kid; I just thought you should know.
    3. I see that you have a real challenge ahead of you; my childhood was very manageable in comparison.
    4. You seem to be facing something very easy; I, too, never had to earn anything when I was young.
    1. Exaggerating something to make a point
    2. Language that implies something other than that which is stated
    3. A word or phrase that refers to a larger concept
    4. Connoting something without stating it directly

    Author of lecture Clandestine Claims

     Lincoln Smith

    Lincoln Smith

    Customer reviews

    5,0 of 5 stars
    5 Stars
    4 Stars
    3 Stars
    2 Stars
    1  Star