Inquiry 1-Rhetoric and Me


Rhetoric happens everywhere, everyday as long as people need it to convince someone or achieve their rhetorical aims. I often use it as well. For example, one day, my little brother, who was a primary school student, did not want to review his English book and do his homework because he wanted to play computer games. As we all know, he had not enough power to control himself when faced with the lure of video games because he was a child. So I tried to persuade and help him in my way.

Firstly, I told him a story, which was the experience of one of my middle school classmate’s. My classmate was a smart boy and he was one of the top 10 students in our class. Everything was good until he became addicted to computer games. He had no interest to study and he did not do his homework. As time went by, his grades became C’s even D’s from A’s. Finally, he could not get into high school, say nothing of university. He had to find jobs after he realized that he could not play computer games anymore because he needed to make living. But guess what? He could only do some jobs that needed his strength rather than knowledge, like manual labor. What were we doing when he was removing someone’s furniture? We were learning knowledge, which could help us have a good job and life. The reason why I use this example is because I want to scare him if he does not work hard and finish his homework, he could not have a good life in the future.

Actually, I was not successful at that time because he was too young to think about his future. My brother said “why Ma Yun is a successful businessman even though he’s grades were terrible?” I told my brother that “you only see that he did not go to college because his grades, but what about his effort? Do you know he learned English 12 hours every day after he failed the college entrance examination? Do you know he was learning Economics when his  competitors were falling asleep?” My brother contemplated a couple of minutes and said “well, I’m going to do my homework.” Fortunately, my brother stopped playing computer games and started to do his homework. The reason why this time I succeeded was because my rhetorical choices were able to convince him.

Now, I want to show you how I use rhetorical techniques during persuading my brother. I try to use “logos” to tell him “if you work hard, you will have a great life”, and I think this is logical because everyone knows that you need to work hard to making your life better. What’s more, I use “pathos” to convince him. I said “if you just playing computer games instead of studying, maybe you could not get into high school, saying nothing of university. I threaten my brother that if he keeping to play video games, he will have no chance to go to high school and college to learn more knowledge.  By using logos and pathos, I was able to convince my brother to change his ways.

Except these two ways to persuade my brother, I can tell him that if you do not finish your homework, you cannot play computer games anymore as a punishment. It is a good way to get him do his homework even though he may be unwilling to do his homework. I want to bring out the facts and reasons to him and let him accept with pleasure. In addition, I can just leave him alone because after several weeks, his grades will indicate everything. If his grades get worse, it is easier to persuade him to work hard and stop playing games. On the contrary, if his grades are good, maybe he can play computer games.

After I learned some rhetorical terms,  I recognized that it not only can be used in writing, but it can also be used in movies, speaking, newspapers and so on. In addition, it is important to use rhetoric when you need to achieve different rhetorical aims. Like my brother and I, I need to persuade him to stop playing computer games and finish his homework. I can choose different ways to persuade different type of people in different situations. For example, If I want to find a part-time job on campus, I need another rhetorical technique to convince my parents. May be I will use ethos to show them I could become well if I have a job. I will collect some information on the Internet, which can confirm that university students can improve themselves if they earn money by themselves.

Finally, I want to share with you that writing an article needs to think about the readers, and which rhetorical technique can make your readers more interested in your article.

First Post: 12 Sep 2016


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