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The Art of War
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Art of War Thread III

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Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Sun Tzu may not be a career writer, as he spent most of his life as a General, none the less he does use literary devices, such as similes metaphors and rhetorical questions. What do you believe the intended effect of these are and how does it help his ethos as the narrator?

message 2: by Eoghan (new)

Eoghan McGovern | 15 comments I think the point of these literary devices are to help get his point across. The use of literary devices helps demonstrate many of the points on the strategy of war. In addition, it helps to develop ethos by making the book about logical warfare strategies sound more intellectual and scholarly. Instead of only sounding like a man educated in the practice of warfare he sounds like an intelligent man who they can trust to portray the information.

message 3: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 19 comments I agree with Eoghan on his last point. Sun Tzu definitely wanted to reach out to a wide number of people with the book and needed to make it persuasive and alignable. In the version I read the translator would kind of decrypt anything confusing but he also included a lot of examples of his war strategies at work in Chinese history. While not the words of Sun Tzu, at the time it was written these wars and battles would be well known. His ability to show the readers that his manifesto is not just theory but fact largely comes from his use of ethos as readers during the time (Officers and Generals) would find no reason not to believe him and carry on his strategy in history as they fought their wars.

message 4: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 19 comments Also to answer you Dan I think one of the main reasons for his use of similes, analogies, and metaphors is to keep his audience interested while progressing his point. One of my favorite examples is when he compares making the enemy force come to you making them weary and easy to defeat, to throwing stones at eggs. The point being that they cannot hope to win after exhausting their forces in foolish conquest. He uses writing strategies like this to keep the argument logical and the reader in awe.

Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Well done to both of you. My favorite example is when he compares strategy to water on page 39.

Joseph Palladino | 25 comments Mod
Thanks Dan, for stealing what I was planning on saying. His comparison with water is a good one. So I'm just going to expand on what you said. By this comparison with water, he's making the idea of being pliable to varying situations more understandable for whoever is reading.

Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Nice profile pic...

...jk it's bad

Joseph Palladino | 25 comments Mod
Not as bad as your IQ

Daniel Mealie | 26 comments At least I didn't show up late on the first day of school, to first period. Yeah that's right, you will never live this down!

Joseph Palladino | 25 comments Mod
I learn from my mistakes, like Sun Tzu. Even though he never made mistakes, he learned from others. (See how I worked the book into our conversation? Try it) and shared his insight.

Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Are we going to have a problem, because Sun Tzu speaks about how to handle disobedience in his army. I'll do the same to you, boy.

message 12: by Alex Rousso (new)

Alex Rousso | 13 comments Aside from the petty bickering happening above, most of the arguments stated above, I believe that Sun Tzu's use of literary devices is to help the reader understand what could have been otherwise complicated and boring strategy. Though I am late to reply, I would like to use Dan's comparison of strategy to water. Strategy is complex, and it takes a certain level of tactical genius to understand it. It is for the reason of creating and understanding strategy that even today, you need to specialize and go to school for military strategy. Under this context, it is no surprise that understanding strategy is no easy task. I believe Sun Tzu understood this, and by comparing elements of strategy, or even strategy itself, to other objects, helps the reader understand his points. For example, with the comparison to water, he intended the reader to understand that just like water, strategy is fluid. There is no one, definite form of water, and there is no one, definite form of strategy. Comparisons like this help the reader understand the depth of Sun Tzu's guide to strategy.

message 13: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Cruickshank | 20 comments Okay, this one also does not provide a ton of textual evidence either. Alex's post was probably the best, but it was also late. Now the banter between Joe and Daniel interested me. I was hoping that you would use information from the book... it would have been really clever...

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