Rhetorical Analysis

[Analyze rather than summarize. How do the authors use the rhetorical triangle to convince the reader and how do they support their arguments?] The argument Chabris and Simmons are making is that human memory, in general, is malleable. We believe to have these distinct memories of particular events, but in reality we are all subject to certain factors of recollection that can distort our memory. Some of these factors include the level of confidence in our memory, a distortion of recollection over time and the accidental combination of memories that occurred as separate events, but were connected due to a relation they may share.

The purpose of this article was not only to inform readers about the misconceptions we as a society have in regards to memory, but to also persuade the general public to take this information into account when discussing matters in which public figures’ memories are called into question. Because the subject matter of memory is subjective in and of itself, the authors primarily use studies and past examples (logos) to present their argument and establish credibility [use of ethos].

The tone of the article is one in which the authors seems to be persistently attempting to demonstrate to the reader that his or her preconceived notions of memory may be flawed. Because most people view their own memories as accurate and sharp, the authors are tasked with the burden of demonstrating that anyone can fall victim to distorted memories. It’s possible that some may reject this notion. [Analyze rather than summarize.] Therefore it was crucial that the authors use scientific studies and public examples to establish credibility among its readers. The effective use of logos allowed the authors to properly inform, while simultaneously persuade. [good point] 

Each paragraph discusses an element of memory distortion and then follows it with a study, and or example to affirm it. For example, the article discusses an instance in which the highly respected astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson, inaccurately recalls a quote from president George W. Bush. Doctor Tyson was sure his memory was accurate, however the evidence showed he falsely constructed it. [Analyze rather than summarize.] This was an excellent use of logos because not only did it give a fitting example to support the authors argument, but it also demonstrated that even someone who is regarded as intelligent [use of ethos] can fall victim to false memory. This is where the article briefly supplements its use of logos with elements of pathos. An emotional appeal is established by demonstrating that this phenomena can happen to anyone, and we should therefore take that under consideration when discussing high profile instances; in which it occurs. [good point] 

[Analyze rather than summarize.] The readers choice comment picks and the comment picks of the New York Times, differ in the sense that the readers picked comments appeal to a wider demographic of readers, while the New York Times comments appeal more to the academic value of the article. The readers picks consisted of people either attempting to affirm or negate specific components of the argument. The New York Times pick on the other hand, selected comments that addressed the article as a whole by discussing its themes and implications. I personally prefer [Analyze rather than express personal opinion.] the New York Times picks because whether they agree or disagree with the premise of the argument, their comments generally seem to reflect a respectful understanding of the content.

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