Daniel Blanco Blog Post #1: Rhetorical Analysis

Blog Post #1: Rhetorical Analysis of “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

Daniel Blanco, Team 20

Thesis Statement: In their article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” Chabris and Simmons use ethos, pathos, and logos to explain the problem of relying on a person’s memory and the importance of how one should be treated when their make a mistake based on what they remember. (Very good!)

To strengthen their credibility, Chabris and Simmons include plenty of evidence related to the topic. Their evidence comes from reputable sources, such as: reports from the National Academy of Sciences, papers published by psychologists Henry L. Roediger III, K. Andrew De Soto, experiments conducted by Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett, and evidence of President Bush’s memory mishap documented by memory researcher Daniel Greenberg. They also include a report from a panel that one of the authors contributed to. The authors rely on these heavy facts and studies to prove their argument, and they effectively strengthen their argument, showing readers the proof that back up their claims.

While it is not prevalent in the article, the authors do utilize pathos in order to appeal to the reader’s emotions. After discussing the Dr. Tyson situation, the authors talk about the significance of memory failure. It may seem like an exaggeration, but the authors claim that memory failures have led to wrongful convictions and death sentences. They also claim that the memories that people believe or not believe can change the way we interpret events. The authors’ conversational tone throughout the article makes readers feel comfortable while reading, thinking that they’re talking to them. This example of rhetoric is effective because it brings the reader into the article, and because the best way to convey the message to the reader is to let them know how it affects them. (very good)

The top three Reader’s Picks comments are ranked by the number of readers that recommend the comment. The first ranked comment comes from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson himself, addressing the issue discussed in the article. Two links to his Facebook page were included: the first was an email exchange between him and Sean Davis of the Federalist concerning the issue, and the second was a post that included an apology for the mishap. This comment showed to be a not so successful attempt at using ethos. The email exchange hurt his credibility, since he could not answer any of Davis’s questions concerning the source of quotes that he mentioned in his talks. The apology, however, does build his credibility a little bit since he admits his mistake and knows he was wrong.

The second comment came from Keith Dow, and he was counterarguing a statement the authors made where they called President Bush an intelligent person. In a similar style of comment mentioned by Heffernan, the comment was written like an itemized list of evidence to prove his counterargument. He included a link to an article and even provided examples of quotes from Bush that were not so intelligent. Dow used logos by providing evidence of why he disagrees with the authors. The third comment comes from Jacob Sommer who defended Dr. Tyson. Sommer claimed that when people’s memory fails, it is usually an honest mistake rather than a result of being angry at a person. They also write that people should stop believing that people’s mistakes are actually them trying to do bad toward you on purpose. Sommer’s use of pathos was an effective way of defending Tyson and getting readers to sympathize with others when the mix up their memories.

Hi Daniel, You make some excellent points. Your post is well-written, clear and concise.  Good sentence structure, good follow through with your paragraphs too. Good job. I enjoyed reading your post and please keep up the good work!