Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"I speak for the trees": An exploration of environmental advocacy and speaker credibility in Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax"
by Glass, Kelly E. A., M.A., San Jose State University, 2014, 105; 1560822
Abstract (Summary)

Over the years, growing concerns for the environment have increased discourse regarding the problems and solutions to environmental crises. Messages in popular culture have implications for public perceptions of the environment and, as a result, impact how we interact with and understand our natural surroundings. While we understand the impact of rhetorical strategies in a general sense, research is needed when exploring how speaker credibility influences environmental messages.

This thesis explores two concepts: how credibility impacts environmental messages and the concept of speaking for the environment. I explore these concepts through a media-centered rhetorical criticism of the film, The Lorax (2012). I analyze seven selected scenes, drawing on McCroskey’s (1966) scale of ethos and Spangle and Knapp’s (1996) study of tactics and appeals. The analysis reveals several tactics used by the two main characters, the Lorax and Once-ler, to establish their credibility. How the Lorax and Once-ler establish or fail to establish credibility impacts the future state of the environment. Ethos is a key communication concept in speaking for the environment, as the way we speak and represent the environment has consequences for how we interact with the natural world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Todd, Anne Marie
Commitee: Jaehne, Dennis, McConnell, Kathleen
School: San Jose State University
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 53/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Communication
Keywords: Ethos, Speaking for others, The lorax
Publication Number: 1560822
ISBN: 978-1-321-04616-8
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