Ids 3309 Rhetorical Analysis Team 24


In the article “Why our memory fails us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons and the Article “Comment Is King” by Virginia Heffernan, both authors effectively provide information on subjects of matter using various rhetorical devices like logos, pathos, and ethos. Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons argue that our memory is not perfect, but our memory failures do not necessarily mean we are dishonest or incompetent. We should apologize when we make a mistake and be more understanding of others’ memory failures.


Here is the essence of the Chabris and Simons article. Your paragraph, which follows, needs some organization and clarity.

Chabris and Simons build their case with logos, relying on scientific studies of  memory. They establish the authority (ethos) of Tyson, an astrophysicist. They establish their own authority as psychologists (ethos). They refer to studies by Roediger and DeSoto, as well as Bartlett and the National Academy of Sciences. All of this scientific background  (logos) points to the fact that we are overconfident about our memory, but we can be very wrong. Our memory is not perfect. When we make memory errors, we should apologize, as Tyson does (this shows pathos, feeling). We should also show forgiveness toward others (pathos). 

In the reader comments, Tyson uses ethos (his reputation) and logos (his reasoning) to defend himself. He also uses some pathos (he is annoyed to have to explain himself). The second person, Dow, uses pathos (ridicule, irony) to make fun of George Bush, who frequently said stupid things while president. This reader comment is not so mcuh on target, although amusing. Finally, Jacob Sommer uses logos to defend Tyson (reasonable analogies) and he also uses emotion to ask us to be forgiving of one another’s memory failures. 


There is an abundance of stories or articles that have the ability to direct the readers appeal to the opinion of the author. In the article “Why our memory fails us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons and the Article “Comment Is King” by Virginia Heffernan, both authors do this. The Authors both use many Rhetorical devices to get their point across. Beginning in the title of Chabris and Simons article “Why our memory fails us” the title poses a deliberating question towards the reader. The authors use Logos to in this act, to question the memory of the audience. Chabris and Simons’ article is very prevalent in the use of logos and Ethos in their writing also. Providing trustworthy evidence from research that was done by astrophysicist and host of the Tv series “Cosmos” Neil Degrease Tyson and many others. As the authors add the profession of the Tyson, a form of credibility is established within the readers. It shows that Tyson’s background can back the information that he has cited. The Authors use ethos to appeal to the readers. Ethos is used in personal and relatable experiences spoken of throughout the distortion of memory. Personal appeal is a great way to catch the reader’s attention and possibly affect the opinion on a subject, which is what Chabris and Simons have done so great as it is shown throughout the readers pick in the comments section. “We all do this; it is a human frailty” stated by a concerned citizen. The use of “we” informs the reader there is sympathy show for Tyson. The commenters are effectively influenced by the use of Ethos and even Pathos. The commenter does not put Tyson at fault but instead give him grace.


+egins the article by giving the credibility of Anne Applebaum by incorporating her recognition. For example, being rewarded “the Worlds Most Sophisticated Thinkers” by Foreign policy magazine. The use of this provides a great source of intelligence and credibility just Chabris and Simons add in their article. While doing this, Virginia Heffernan also uses Pathos in the article by speaking on subjects that are very controversial like pro-immigration, pro-free trade and anti-torture. As Anne Applebaum’s ideologies on the topics are presented, the readers may easily be shifted either negatively or positively by the subject of matter. The audience may corolate as a woman who is fighting for equal rights with men. “Like no male columnist at The Post, Applebaum is regularly called “sweetie” and “dear” by commenters who disagree with her” is a quote from the Article and evidently shows how the author has some form of aggression towards the words that are said towards a woman. Heffernan, to end her article persuades the audience through using an emotional appeal through the use of pathos to show that the commenters are at fault as they compose lengthy comments on posts of journalists and readers like Heffernan.