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Fall 2017, 47.4, pages 335-358

Political Animals: Prosopopeia in the 1944 Presidential Election

Abstract: This essay examines citizen correspondence to the White House following Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)’s “Fala speech.” During the 1944 presidential election, citizens often engaged in prosopopoeia by writing from the perspective of their pets and Roosevelt’s dog, Fala. I argue that citizens used this classical rhetorical figure to identify with the president and express their views of FDR’s character. Thus, animals offered a strategic, seemingly nonpolitical locus for expressing judgments about the election.

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