Russell H. Conwell’s once famous speech, "Acres of Diamonds,” has been dismissed by both historians and rhetoricians as a shallow expression of the Horatio Alger myth. This conclusion does not explain how Conwell was able to win nationwide audiences for over fifty years. A Burkean analysis of the speech reveals that Conwell’s formula for success relied upon a masterful transformation of pentadic ratios, carried on through the medium of the "true-life” success story. The speech illustrates the power such narratives have in altering an audience’s perception of its role in a greater drama.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics