Dorothy Day and the matter of authority
Rush, Katie Louise
MetadataShow full item record
One of the main rhetorical tasks of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, was to establish her authority. In this study, I address this rhetorical challenge by analyzing two pieces of Day’s rhetoric—The Catholic Worker newspaper and Day’s autobiography The Long Loneliness. I argue that Day drew on the resources of the newspaper and autobiographical genres to establish her authority and, moreover, that she exercised her authority in two contrasting ways. In some instances, she assumed the role of the prophet, criticizing her community from a distance. In other instances, she located herself firmly within her community, drawing on rhetorical traditions to build identification with her audience. The tension between these two rhetorical styles, the prophetic and the personal, is a central characteristic of Day’s rhetoric.