Rhetorical Analysis-Lily Watters

 

Thesis Statement: Chabris and Simons effectively use the Rhetorical Triangle in their article to convince their audience that while memory fails us, it is how we react to it that matters most. THIS IS NOT A THESIS. WE KNEW THEY USE IT! HOW DO THEY USE IT?

In the article by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, Why Our Memory Fails Us, the two authors add the Rhetorical Triangle to influence their readers that while memory fails us, it is how we react to it that matters most. They begin by building their case with examples of President George W. Bush’s remembering of September 11, 2001. The quote “Our God is the God who named the stars” brought much attention to how our biases can blind us and how we rely on confidence as a signal of accuracy.

Chabris and Simons both rely heavily on facts and studies such as Dr. Tyson’s, Sir Frederic Charles Barlett and other psychologists to get a better understanding of why our memory fails us. Their tone as authors is a combination of the rhetorical triangle. At the beginning of the article, Chabris and Simon bring the rational appeal of logos by stating facts, case studies, and statistics. Towards the middle of the article, we see ethos because of the reliable sources they mention. Then, at the end, we see pathos “they appeal to emotion by extending” sympathy towards Dr. Tyson, George Bush, and Clinton by stating that we should be more understanding of mistakes by others.

The first comment in the Reader’s Pick was by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I found his techniques to be convincing by so many other readers because he uses a rational point of view. He provides the reader with case studies about the 9/11 Bush quote regarding the star names, which ends up being very effective since he proves real facts. Reader number two, Keith Dow, uses pathos to convince his readers. He brings his emotional appeal to hand by stating that President Bush’s intelligence is faulty by providing us with several quotes. The last reader, Jacob Sommer, use ethos. You can see Jacob sends the reader a sense of fair credibility by saying that he doesn’t even remember every event of every day.

After reading through the top three readers’ choice and the top three NYT picks, I noticed each comment uses different examples of the Rhetorical Triangle (pathos, ethos and logos) in some way. To compare the pathos comments, I noticed the readers’ pick commentator uses his emotional appeal to bash on Bush and his faulty intelligence. In the NYT’s pick, another commentator wants people to understand that not everyone remembers everything, therefore having pity towards Bush. They both have an emotional appeal, but one in a higher emotion and the other in lower emotion. For the ethos, both the readers’ pick and NYT pick show fairness by stating that we as humans make mistakes. They both show fairness because we can confuse reason for memory, therefor, humans making mistakes is normal.

I believe having the Times approach ranking to comments is effective and needed because it gives the reader more of an incentive to comment if they see a well written comment/reply to the article. It can build the audience due to word of mouth and the more people comment, the more you want to voice your opinion as well.

 

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