Discuss "A Rhetorical Journey into Darkness: Crime-Scene Profiling as Burkean Analysis" by Jennifer MacLennan

A Rhetorical Journey into Darkness

My overall assessment is that Jennifer MacLennan's essay on crime-scene analysis as viewed in the light of Burke's dramatism makes for a rich, detailed, and generally convincing analogue. Obviously, if Burke's take on human symbolic action has validity, a dramatistic critic can dig up spadefuls of drama in any set of discourses. As she makes clear, though, MacLennan explores not just the way the pentad-related "who, what, when, where, and why questions" pervade the how-to-do-it books of the sleuths who solve serial murders. She unveils "deeper connections" and similarities. Both John Douglas and Robert Ressler, her primary guides in the hunt for what are superficially thought to be motiveless killings, have "assembled . . . a grammar of the symbolic elements of violent crime," a "language of the crime scene," that mirrors many of Burke's primary insights.

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