What are “breaks”?

In an essay about knowledge and digital aurality, Jeff Rice proposes several unique terms/phrases that he claims are incredibly important to understand digital aurality. One of the terms that Rice mentions is “breaks.” Knowledge, according to Rice, is described as “moments of division … of breaks in historical lineage” (275). These breaks aren’t intended to reveal information that’s already been written; Rice refers to Roucault, stating that these breaks merely function as “a rewriting.” Breaks, as explained by Rice, are a rhetorical mechanism that permits individuals to question a document’s fixed nature.

From my understanding, “breaks” create rhythm rather than disorder. Breaks can actually serve to help a piece of text or even a speech by creating “peaks and drops.” I found it interesting how breaks don’t necessarily disrupt something; instead, breaks assist a document and allow the writer to include their voice/position into an artifact. The statement that “breaks suggest a discontinuity in narrative progression” intrigued me because it reminded me of how storytellers use certain sounds (i.e. tones, accents, sound effects) that may form a break—no pun intended—in the narrative for distinct reasons. On that note, musicians also use particular sounds (and maybe even a brief absence of sound) in a song to establish a certain mood or an effect on his/her listeners.

Throughout the essay, I was very intrigued by all the unique terms/phrases that Rice mentioned. All of the vocabulary is very peculiar, but I am interested in learning more about them and their effects on digital rhetoric.


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