Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication


Katz, Steven B

Committee Member

Haynes , Cynthia

Committee Member

Holmevik , Jan R


Scent is inherently persuasive, but the language of scent is largely missing from rhetoric's vocabulary. This is because language cannot express the 'truth' of an odor. Identification of odor as substance is dependent on consubstantiality between the author and reader. We instead describe smells using metaphorical language, or by invoking episodic memories and emotional reactions. In this way, scent is dramatistic. In order to consider the possibility of a grammar of scent beyond metaphor, the author develops an olfactory pentad (Sniff, Context, Emanation, Odor Object, and Response) by applying the framework of Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad. In this way, scent is exposed as a powerful rhetorical substance separate from human motive, but motivating in and of itself. The author then explores implications for a rhetoric of scent beyond the literate tradition.