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Rhetorical Analysis

Over the course of the semester we have read and heard about the stories of Lauren Ridloff a deaf actress and Saige, an infant who was diagnosed with hearing loss. Both Lauren and Saige have stories that evoke a series of emotions and can appeal to wide of audiences. However, the way in which their stories are told differ. Through rhetorical analysis we were able to identify the ways in which the authors evoked emotion from their audiences and spread universal messages, which can be seen below.

Example #1

Michael Paulson is a theater reporter for the New York Times who is writing about this new actress on the rise. However, the actress is deaf and had no experience acting before being nominated for several awards. The author communicates this by including quotes from the actress, Lauren Ridloff from different interviews. Her quotes are intertwined with the narration of the author, as he accounts all of her accomplishments so far as an actress and as a member of the deaf community. The audience may be anyone who has a disability or is simply feeling discouraged about pursuing their dream due to a setback or what they consider to be a setback. The audience could also be fans of the writer or fans of the play.

   Overall, Michael Paulson’s does acknowledge Ridloff’s courageous attitude and inspiring confidence, however, he does make unnecessary remarks that some may take offense to. For instance, he mentions that Ridloff was able to conduct an interview with the assistance of a sign language interpreter. Statements like that are unnecessary because in some ways it takes away the focus from being on Ridloff’s talent and puts emphasis on her disability. Paulson’s language makes it difficult to identify how we’re supposed to feel about Ridloff. Should we feel happy for her or sympathetic?

Example #2

Timmothy and Samantha, the parents of an infant named Saige sat down and talked about their reaction to Saige being diagnosed with hearing loss. Saige’s parent’s felt saddened and overwhelmed by the news but after doing research they were able to find something that would help Saige. The beginning phases of Saige’s journey all the way to the end are communicated through the clips of different types of specialist discussing Saige’s disability along with her parent’s reaction to finding help. The audience may be parents who have children with disabilities in addition to doctors who want to know how well cochlear implants work on infants. The message is that the cochlear implants not only made Saige a happier baby, but it also helped to create a bond between her and her older sister, Aspyn. In addition, the cochlear implants helped to bring their family closer together because they could communicate with Saige and she could still learn how to understand the world around her.

After writing multiple rhetorical analysis’ I was able to realize that this form of writing can be extremely beneficial outside of the classroom. The benefit of writing a rhetorical analysis is that you learn to pay closer attention to the purpose, message, and audience of the things that you read. You learn to question the motives of a writer and figure out how and in what way the material you’re reading is affecting you and others around you. An example of using rhetorical analysis in everyday life would be trying to figure out what an ad or commercial is trying to persuade you to think, say or do. Once you figure out the intentions of the ad or commercial, you can then decide whether it has a positive or negative effect on you.