Consolatory rhetoric: A cluster analysis of a funeral sermon among the Dagaaba of Ghana
Although much has been written about death and consolatory rhetoric (Ochs, 1993; Kunkel & Dennis, 2003; Naaeke, 2010; Holloway, 2004), nothing has been written on the rhetorical function of a funeral sermon within the context of a catholic funeral liturgy among the Dagaaba of Ghana. This paper fills the gap by conducting a rhetorical analysis of a funeral sermon within the context of a catholic funeral liturgy, using cluster criticism as a unit of analysis, to answer one research question: how does a funeral sermon within the context of the catholic funeral liturgy act rhetorically to console a grieving community? The paper argues that Dagaaba beliefs and values about life and death are produced and consumed rhetorically in verbal and non-verbal ways to act synergistically, persuasively, and consolingly on a bereaved community and to reaffirm the community’s identity, beliefs and values, especially through the funeral sermon.
Key words: Consolatory rhetoric, Cluster analysis, Dagaaba, Sermon