Publication Date

April 2008


School of Communication


Communication Studies: Speech Communication

Primary Subject Area

Speech Communication


Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission, Good Monsters, rhetorical criticism, generic criticism, metaphoric criticism, Christian concept videos, Africa


Images of Frankenstein and the boogeyman no doubt come to mind when one thinks of monsters. Can a monster be “good”? What does it mean to be something typically personified as bad and yet apply such a contradictory adjective? What do men dancing in brightly colored costumes have to do with people dying every day in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world? These are just some of the questions inspired by a curious and unforgettable artifact.

This study is a rhetorical analysis of the Jars of Clay song and concept video, Good Monsters. Within the professional and social context of the video’s release are many clues as to the intention of the creators of the text. How can a greater meaning be understood? The first methodology used in this study is metaphoric criticism, which is applied to the lyrics, visual images, and musical movements of the artifact. Through this, representations and allusions are explained. Secondly, this study uses generic criticism to place the artifact within the genres of satire and social movement rhetoric. These aspects are what make the artifact stand out in a viewer’s mind and spur them to take action. Through this venture into the deeper meaning of a text, a greater understanding of rhetorical message and audience response is achieved.