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In the contemporary reasoning, authors of various articles or texts tend to aspire to the multilevel argumentation. It is connected to an idea that comprehensive reasoning is the key to successful delegation of the author’s opinion to the audience. The four most important rhetoric appeals are logos, pathos, ethos, and kairos (Ahern Knudsen, 2014). If one of these essential elements is missing, the text might lose in credibility or can even leave the intended audience indifferent. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the chosen article and to review it based on the four basic categories.
The title of the analyzed article is “Are the Effects of Global Warming Really that Bad?” and the author of it is Melissa Denchak. It is an article written especially for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is one of the organizations engaged in environmental protection. The purpose of the text written by Denchak is to raise the awareness of the American population as well as everyone concerned with the natural environment on the important topic of global warming and its consequences to different aspects of nature and people’s lives (Denchak, 2016). The article is written in semi-formal tone since the author strived for reaching a personalized approach that would be more common for the audience. To be more precise, the author quotes influential scientists while expressing the attitude of NRDC in rather a simple way not to overburden the comprehension. In addition, the writer uses contracted words for the matter of semi-formality, though, keeping the language of the text filled with the essential terminology on the topic.
As stated earlier, the article is intended for the general public; however, it could be assumed that the writer tried to appeal to the younger population groups (intended reader), which could be evidenced by choice of words, informality characteristic of younger people’s speech and so on. Nevertheless, the author tried to cover as wider audience as possible to attain higher understanding among the population. Regarding the thesis statement, the author indicated that global warming is a critical issue and the further changes in the temperatures could cause further detrimental effects to the environment and the lives of people. In particular, the author supported the idea that “slight average temperature rise is enough to cause a dramatic transformation of our planet” throughout the document and restated the thesis in the conclusion part without invalidating it (Denchak, 2016, para. 1).
It is important to emphasize that the writer uses logos in order to establish the relationship between the thoughts and their linguistic form. In particular, the words are linearly arranged, and they have a specific general sense while the writer sequentially switches from one thought to another. In order for the intended public to understand the transitions better, the text has been divided into logical sections. Moreover, the author appeals to syllogism (Yagelski, 2014). For instance, she concludes her thoughts while shifting from general (global warming) to the specific (death rates, threats to animals, air pollution, contamination and so on) (Denchak, 2016). Most importantly, the author uses statistics and provides facts to evidence the situation, which allows her to conclude that the further temperature changes would lead to even worse consequences. This kind of approach justifies for the reader that the raised issue is critical indeed.
Pathos in the article effectively reflects the strong will and emotional state of the author. Denchak utilized emotionally-charged words to create the specific atmosphere. However, it is essential to mention that this approach intensifies in the body of the text whereas the introduction is not that emotionally tense. A relaxed mood in the introductory part transforms into sympathetic perceptions as the body of the article is developed. Notably, the appeal to pathos remains effective till the end of the writing, and the author boosts its effect by stating the possible positive outcome if people are aware of the contamination they bring with their activities (Denchak, 2016).
Throughout the article, the writer supports her claims as well as the ethos by providing expert opinion and quoting influential people. The use of different statistics and expert thoughts allowed building credibility and, in its turn, such an appeal to ethos enabled the author to form her argument in an effective way. Nevertheless, the writer avoided providing any examples or personal perceptions that could supposedly strengthen the argumentation. It could be justified by the complexity and the scientific nature of the raised discussion (Van Eemeren, Garssen, Verheij, Krabbe, & Snoeck Henkemans, 2014). Despite the fact that the writer did not describe her personal stake, it is rather excusable due to the type of the actual document.
Kairos as rhetoric means is a powerful tool to stress out the importance and emergence of the issue at the current moment. Stating that “by aggressively reducing our global emissions now, we can avoid a lot of the severe consequences”, the author made effective use of the particular point of time to create the feeling of urgency, which supported and concluded her argumentation greatly (Denchak, 2016, para. 12). Notably, no argumentative fallacies were evident in the writing since the author appealed to logical connections supported by facts and figures solely, which makes the proclamation to kairos reasonable.
It can be concluded that the author of the article used the four primary rhetorical appeals in an effective and reasonable way. She was able to support her argumentation with the relevant statistics, facts, and data; thus, building credibility and validity. Overall, the text is free of argumentative fallacies; it has enough evidence, logical connections and it has clearly defined causal relationships.
Ahern Knudsen, R. (2014). Homeric speech and the origins of rhetoric. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press.
Denchak, M. (2016). Are the effects of global warming really that bad? Web.
Van Eemeren, F., Garssen, B., Verheij, B., Krabbe, E., & Snoeck Henkemans, A. (2014). Handbook of argumentation theory. New York, NY: Springer.
Yagelski, R. (2014). Writing. Boston, MA: Cengage.