AS A PREGNANT RHETORICIAN
One woman in particular has stood out; her story has been documented by at least four hundred international, national, and
local newspapers, magazines, and television shows. Her name is Lisa Beamer, and her husband was on the doomed flight that crashed
in the Pennsylvania field on September 11th. He had an important role in deciding to revolt against the terrorists who manned
the plane, and he is credited in part with saving innumerable lives. The public first saw Lisa Beamer on September 20th, when President George W. Bush pointed to her in the audience during his address to Congress, and he said that she and her husband were examples of exceptional Americans.
Since that speech, Lisa Beamer has not faded away. The birth of her daughter, just a month and a half ago, was announced in over two hundred newspaper articles in the US alone. But more interesting than her presence in the media spotlight has been the message she’s conveyed to the American public, and exactly how eager so many have been to embrace that message. Beamer is an Evangelical Christian, who lets not a moment pass without citing scripture and referring to her faith in God. In October, Lisa Beamer set up a memorial on behalf of her husband, the Todd M. Beamer foundation, which has a website. On the first page, she has a letter thanking everyone for supporting her and her family. She says, “My family and I still wrestle with what has happened, but are comforted with the knowledge that a sovereign God is in control and that ‘God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.’” (I Corinthians 14:33). And on each page of the website, a biblical quote is introduced.
It is interesting that the imagery of the biblical citations overwhelmingly emphasizes the greatness and goodness of God as a father figure and those
who believe in him as his children. “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, your father, will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1, 9). "He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 144, 2). According to a recent Gallup poll, seventy-seven percent of people, sixty-eight percent of non-religious people said that religion and spirituality were especially
welcome in the wake of the September 11th tragedy. In the same poll, eighty-three percent of respondents said that Lisa Beamer
was an important symbol of what America is becoming. Whether these people responded to her religious message or to her pregnancy is unclear,
but I would argue that they responded to her religious message because they were sympathetic to her pregnancy. Her pregnancy gave her an in with the American people; and subsequently, she has become a symbol for much of the public. The pathos that Lisa Beamer has presented has a great deal to do with her pregnancy. On a stage full of sympathetic characters, Lisa Beamer emphasized her pregnancy and she became especially sympathetic.
Page One: ARISTOTLE AND RHETORIC
Page Two: INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT
Page Three: SYMBOLS FOR PROMINENT RHETORICIANS
Page Four: LISA BEAMER, THE RHETORICIAN
Page Five: MARIANE PEARL, THE RHETORICIAN
Page Six: CONCLUSIONS