Alex Murphey

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou


Life is based on feeling. The idea of feeling ranges from our five physical senses to the abstract realm of personal intuition. The adage “going with your gut” serves as a testament to how feeling is often the most important factor in decision making. People do what feels right.  People remember how you made them feel. While objective reasoning and logic are vital tools for success in society, our feelings are what ignite us as social beings. Core issues that alter the courses of our lives like purpose, passion, drive, and positivity are rooted in feeling.


Rhetoric in Everyday Life, the book my classmates and I wrote last year, studied different facets of rhetoric. While a variety of chapters elicited emotion at times, Rhetoric in Everyday Life functions as a guide to identify and explain rhetorical aspects from a mostly academic perspective. Providing terminology, context, and understanding to fundamental rhetorical concepts such as ethos, pathos, and logos served as a tutorial to conceptualize human feeling.  Rhetoric in Everyday Life teaches the ability to navigate through and dissect a variety of communication phenomena such as conversations, arguments, and political demonstrations.  This approach to Rhetoric in Everyday Life allows for an academic understanding of rhetoric, but does not emphasize the ability to feel. Therefore, Feeling Rhetoric raises the bar in terms of appealing to a wider audience. While we may not all be communication scholars, we all certainly feel. Therefore, the purpose of Feeling Rhetoric is dual fold: we as authors invite all readers to feel and learn by experiencing the totality of manifestations of rhetoric. Feeling Rhetoric is a candid acknowledgement of what it means to be human.


The contributions in Feeling Rhetoric have been created by students of Dr. Alessandra Von Burg’s Rhetorical Theory and Criticism classes at Wake Forest University. This group of communication scholars consists of athletes, storytellers, poets, dancers, actors, school record holders, a pilot, future leaders in business, and future elected officials. Seeing how we as authors currently feel about a variety of issues provides an insight into the future direction of society.  This work is divided into five parts that span all aspects of feeling. By understanding feeling, being able to define it, seeing whom it impacts, how it evolves, and why it is important, you will become more familiar with the notion that feeling is a rhetorical endeavor. At the end of the book, you will have moved from merely knowing about your feelings to becoming more in tune with the forces that control and try to manipulate your feelings. An individual in control of their emotions is operating at their fullest potential.


The chapters of Feeling Rhetoric allow abstract concepts such as faith, identity, ideology, and belonging to be felt as if they were to tap you on the shoulder. By capturing the rhetorical essence of topics like social movements, social media, virtual reality, religion, mental health, societal change, and education reform, you will see the theoretical blend with the practical.


As a former student of Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, I am grateful for the opportunity to have engaged with course material that is pertinent to life. Many college courses force students to produce work that is rendered worthless once the class concludes. Rhetorical Theory and Criticism is not one of these classes. Publishing the works of students in Rhetoric in Everyday Life and Feeling Rhetoric is not only a gift to commemorate the work of the collective, but an action that provides a guidebook to be used for the rest of one’s life. Works like Feeling Rhetoric are important because they encompass the perspectives of a variety of individuals. May you enjoy the works of these students and may they guide you on your own unique journey through the feeling process that is life.


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Feeling Rhetoric Copyright © 2022 by Alex Murphey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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