Blog #5

In this article, Sedaris shared a story when he was a kid. After finish reading this story, the storyline turned out to be something that I was not expecting. In the beginning of the story, Sedaris characterized the Tomkey family in a mysterious way. At first, I thought the Tomkey family will be a kind-hearted family, but they are not well socialized with others in the community. After going through a sequence of events, the author will realize that they are very beautiful inside. Ironically, the Tomkey family is characterized as rude and impolite in the end. In the story, the authors says “I would have to shift gears and find pleasure in hating them” Sedaris 1). The way that author view the family changes from a favorable impression to hatred.

I do not really like this story because the ending does not match with my expectations. More importantly, instead of ending the story with a happy ending, the story ends with a frustrating emotion.  Personally, I do not like stories that do not have a happy ending because it leaves an unpleasant feeling after reading the story. Even though I do not have a positive impression of the story plot, I do really like the way that the story was told. Sedaris started the story with a general background of his family and then moves the focus to the Tomkey family. He then slowly builds up the mysterious feeling of the Tomkey family. Sedaris writes ” I could have done it on weekends, but friendship would have taken away their mystery” (Sedaris 1). Since the readers are reading the this article in a first person point of view, this statement really enhances readers’ curiosity. With all the curiosity build up in my mind, the author reveals the true personality of Tomkey’s family through Halloween.

When I first moved to America, I have always wondered what will my neighbor be like. One of the first impression is how neighbors do not have a very close interactions with each other. This is very different from my home town because whenever a new family moves to my home town, we will all come over and welcome them. However, I feel people in America do not really like to interact with others in the community. Due to my past experience, I have always wondered and hoped my neighbor would be a kind person. However, I have actually met them even though they just live right next me. And, until this day, I still do not know their name nor their faces.

Rhetorical Analysis Draft

Name: Zhi Chen

Course: WRT 102

Instructor: Karlianne Seri

Date: 2/9/18

Throughout American history, America has always been a place for people who seek for opportunities. In the modern world, people with different ethnic backgrounds are joining the big family. However, most people do not know the responsibilities that come along when they become an American citizen. Theodore Roosevelt gave the speech “The Duties of American Citizenship” in Buffalo, New York, 1883, to persuade and encourage the citizens of America to fulfill their duties as being an American citizen. In the speech. Theodore Roosevelt criticizes those who are not participating actively in politics and those who intentionally avoids to engage in their civil duties. Theodore Roosevelt delivered his speech in a coherent and thorough manner in order to achieve his purpose. He was able to persuade the audience and encourage them to engage in politics through the use of appeal to emotions, logical reasoning, and credibility.

Throughout the speech, Roosevelt employed the use of logical phrases. The objectives that he wanted to approach is to trigger his audience to think logically on what he said and draw a conclusion that would agree on his ideas. One example of appeal to logic in the speech is “Nothing worth gaining is gained without any effort.” This is a very obvious quote to make people agree on because everyone knows that you would not do a good job on any particular field if you do not put in enough effort. Not only did the simplicity make this quote powerful, the placement of this phrase in the speech also has a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of the speech. The follow up statement, “If freedom is worth having, if the right of self-government is valuable right……then one and the other must be retained exactly as our forefathers acquire them”, describes how one could not gain freedom without putting in any effort. By introducing a more general statement before stating a more specific statement, audience is able to make parallel connections with the previous statement. Therefore, it is more likely for the audience to agree on his idea of citizens should engage actively in politics in order to deserve the rights they currently have. Moreover, this follow up quote also appeals to logic. Comparing to the previous phrase, this phrase carries out a similar meaning. By assuming on the fact that everyone wants freedom and equality, Roosevelt took a step further and relates to the early Americans who fought the revolutionary war. As an audience, they would go through the process of self-reflection and question themselves. Then, they would most likely draw a conclusion of I should put in effort in order to earn the rights and privileges they have. The use of logical thinking is essential because the audience would reflect on what was been told and make their own conclusion. This is process is extremely significant because no one’s words are more trustworthy than their own thoughts.

Aside from using quotes are generally targeting the appeal to logic, Roosevelt also focused on increasing the credibility of his work to make his words more reliable to the audience. He strengthened his speech by using the fame of respected people and delivering his own personal opinions. One example quote that incorporates the element of the appeal to credibility is “If freedom is worth having, if the right of self-government is valuable right……then one and the other must be retained exactly as our forefathers acquire them.” Not only did this quote triggers logical deductions to the audience, it also increases Roosevelt’s credibility of his work. By mentioning the honored American revolutionists, Roosevelt made his words more reliable by referring his ideas to another a group of people, who the general public usually trust. In addition to borrowing others’ credibility, Roosevelt amplified his own credibility by expressing his own opinions on the topic. For instance, he said “I do wish that more of our good citizens would go into politics……do it in the same spirit with which their fathers went into the Federal armies.” In this quote, he combined the both his opinion and those who are trustworthy, which in this case are the founding fathers. By inserting his own opinion in the speech, the audience is able to hear personal opinions from the speaker rather than speaking in a third person point of view. It increases his credibility as a speaker because by judging on his personal beliefs, the audience would have a better understanding of his personality, which would let them have a closer relationship with the speaker. Moreover, Roosevelt shows the capability of understanding what he is arguing about by giving out his own thoughts. Not only did those quotes strengthen his credibility, his identity at that time period also had a major impact on his reliability. At 1883, Theodore Roosevelt is still an assemblyman in New York. However, he was known for fighting against corruption in politics. The fact that he gave this speech in Buffalo, New York is also a factor to his success because local audience already have a positive image of him fighting against the corruption. When Roosevelt combines multiple statements that express his own feeling and relating to credible people, his speech would become trustworthy to the public.

Roosevelt was also aware of human nature that people would be more likely to resonate with the topic or even act on impulse if the speaker was able manipulate their feelings. The emotion that Roosevelt primarily focused on is the sense of guilt and patriotism. In multiple parts of the speech, he emphasizes the excuses that most Americans are using to avoid any active engagement in politics. One example in the speech that described appeal to emotion is “The people who say that they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying that they are unfit to live in a free community.” In this quote, Roosevelt purposely points out the major excuse that people use when they were being criticized by the in-activeness in politics. Majority of the people claim that they are too busy to engage in political events. However, Roosevelt directly criticized those people to provoke a sense of guilt in the audience’s mind. After the audience reflect on their past actions, they will most likely feel ashamed of their behavior and become easier to convince. However, I do believe that this phrase might have some negative impact because the phrase is overly straightforward and can be criticized to use scare-tactic fallacy. Since people have different personalities, some of people might be easy to convince by direct criticism, but some people might be very stubborn and develop a reverse psychology in their mind. As a result, the quote becomes very ineffective to those people. Also, when he provokes guilt through criticism, some people are convinced not because they went through introspection, but they are driven purely by their emotions. As a result, this statement becomes a fallacy for some audience. In addition to guilt, Roosevelt provoked patriotism in the audience which would develop an inner pride. For example, it states “In a free republic the ideal citizen must be one willing and able to take arms for the defense of the flag.” The flag is generally being a symbol for the country. By describing the action of defending the flag, all the patriots would feel emotionally attached to his follow up arguments. Moreover, by provoking the sense of pride in the audiences’ mind, it is more likely for them to resonate with Roosevelt’s arguments.

Another factor that makes his argument tremendously persuasive is through the use of analogies. Throughout the speech, he makes a parallel connection of the country to smaller groups such as an organization or a family. By using analogies, audience can have a better connection with the topics that Roosevelt is discussing about. In the beginning of the speech, he compared the role of a citizen in the country to the role of father in a family. Roosevelt stated that,” No man can be a good citizen who is not a good husband and a good father…… no amount of attention to civil duties will save a nation if the domestic life is undermined.” In this particular set of sentences, he is comparing a person’s role in the family in transition to the role of a person in a country. By making a proper transition from a smaller community to a larger community, audience could make parallel connections between these two ideas, and understand the fact that everyone has certain obligations to fulfill and contributions to make as long as they belong to a community. Not only did the aspect of logical analogies make his claim more persuasive, the mix use of appeal to emotion in this quote also amplifies his argument. By praising the responsibilities that most people were able to fulfill in their domestic life, Roosevelt was able to make them feel proud of what they have already accomplished. Based on that prerequisite, Roosevelt extended the idea of fulfilling duties in a domestic perspective to the national perspective. Since most audience are pleased with the previous statements, they will most likely agree on his following statements.

The speech, “Duties of American citizenship”, is a tremendously persuasive speech because it integrated all aspects of rhetorical elements. Most people now are unaware of their responsibilities as an American citizens and this does not only include immigrants, but also those who were born in the United States. If the speech were to give in the modern world, I believe his ideas will be spread widely across the country through the use of modern day technologies. In the present day, there are multiple methods, primarily the social media, for information to spread which will most likely to have more people listen to his ideas. Most people in the current generation is slowly losing the interests in politics and this speech could definitely be one of the tool that alarms people the obligations that they have to carry out.


Rhetorical Analysis outline

The main purpose of the speech “Duties of American Citizenship” is to persuade the public to participate actively in politics. The speech is targeting all the citizens across the United States who inactively involved in politics.

This speech was given in Buffalo, New York, 1883. The speaker is Theodore Roosevelt. Even though Theodore Roosevelt had not become the president of the United States, he was an assemblyman in New York. He devoted his early career fighting against corruption in the government. Therefore, he already has some credibility before giving out the speech.

The speech incorporated all appeals to logic, credibility, and emotion. By using statements that would appeal to logic, Roosevelt intended to guide the audience to come up with a conclusion that he desires. For example, “Nothing worth is gained without making any effort” Rather than being told directly by the speaker, it is more likely for the audience to trust the conclusion they come up with. Also, Roosevelt expressed his own personal opinion in the speech. Instead of using third person point of view, Roosevelt used the first person point of view in several parts of the speech. For instance, “I do wish that more of our good citizens would go into politics……do it in the same spirit with which their fathers went into the Federal armies.” The audience is able to judge Roosevelt’s personal beliefs, then trust him more because the audience have a better understanding of his personalities. Roosevelt also tried to provoke patriotism and guilt in audience’s mind. For example, “In a free republic the ideal citizen must be one willing and able to take arms for the defense of the flag.” By doing so, the audience is more likely to resonate with his claim.

After comparing these three appeals, I feel Logos is the most influential element for the audience. Not only did Roosevelt use logical statements, he used many analogies throughout the speech. By comparing the nation to a smaller community such as family and clubs, audience could make parallel connections between these two ideas. For example, “No man can be a good citizen who is not a good husband and a good father.” By agree on the previous statements, in a domestic perspective, audience is most likely to agree on the follow up statement, which is in a national perspective.


Blog 2

For the rhetorical analysis paper, I am currently considering Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, “The duties of American Citizenship”, as my text to analyze. In this speech, Roosevelt discussed the obligations that every citizens should carry with them once they become an U.S. citizen. I chose this particular speech as my target to analyze because this topic is closely related to me since I have recently became a U.S. citizen. However, the primary factor that I chose this speech is because of the importance of the message that Roosevelt is trying to deliver. In the speech, he criticized that most citizens are being irresponsible and do not contribute to this country, but still enjoy the benefits that were granted to them by the government. More importantly, this issue became a lot more serious in the modern world. Since the revolutionary war happened hundreds of years ago, people have slowly forgotten that the rights we have are not granted but earned. For instance, most citizens do not vote nor give out opinions to government, but this should be part of the obligations that every citizen should carry with them.

Other than the fact that the message Roosevelt is try to deliver to the public, the way that the speech was written is also worth to analyze rhetorically. A good speech must utilize all logos, ethos, and pathos to build up a strong argument. In the case of “The duties of American Citizenship”, Roosevelt wrote the speech in respect to all components of rhetoric. He showed the appeal to logic by logical statements to make audience agree on what he was saying. He showed the appeal to credibility by using quotes from quotes from the fighter in the civil war. He also showed the appeal to emotions by provoking emotions and giving out stories that would make audience to resonate with. Other than the part of using these three types of appeals, Roosevelt used analogies in the speech to make his speech easier to understand.


Image result for theodore roosevelt

Self Introduction

My name is Zhi Chen and I’m a freshman. I came from Queens, New York. I’m an immigrant from China, I moved to this country several years ago. My current major is astronomy/planetary science. I’m also planning on taking music as a minor but I have not decided yet. I started having interests in music because my roommate is a music major. I was fascinated by how many instruments that he has, including keyboard, guitar, ukulele, and etc. I was inspired by him and remember that I once had interest in playing guitar but I quit after I bought the guitar. And I recently decided to re-learn guitar. Other than playing guitar, I also like to play all sorts of games with my friends. My other hobbies include watching anime and movies.

In the aspect of my writing history, I have been asked to write every year by my teachers. This does not simply include writing class but every other type of courses. For example, writing emails, lab reports, and etc. I do like writing when I’m free to write down my ideas and my intended purposes, but I hate English writing. It is because the grammar and punctuation restriction. I still remembers time when I had such amazing ideas but they would just make my sentences too complicated. I was afraid that I would get points deducted because I’m probably going to make a grammar mistake. I definitely believe writing is ne of the most important “technology” that humans invented. Before writing was invented, people had to memorize everything in their head, but with this new innovative “technology” people are able to cheat and write them down and store them somewhere else. This works just like modern computers. However, I feel putting a strong restriction on grammars would just deviate the main purpose of writing.

Image result for cat  ( I love cats by the way )

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