Rhetorical Analysis

What is rhetorical analysis? The Definition google gives me is “rhetorical analysis is a form of criticism that employs the principles of rhetoric to examine the interactions between a text, an author, and an audience,” but what does this mean? In simpler terms rhetorical analysis is analyzing a piece of work and the strategies that are used by an author to get a message across to a specific audience. Rhetorical analyses tend to be very useful in helping you understand what is trying to be communicated and how it’s trying to be communicated, which then helps you further understand the three major components which are, the writer, the speaker, and the message. In my class I have rhetorically analyzed “Iggy Peck the Architect” and a bunch of house tours on Manhattan apartments. Iggy Peck was a book about a little boy who was constantly put down about his passion for architecture by his teacher and ironically his “useless” passion saved the teacher from a seemingly hopeless situation, while the house tours were about -you guessed it- house tours that were beautiful and attempted to attract readers and create a desire in the readers to clone the look of the pretty apartments.

Many professions throughout history have been constantly pushed to a corner and laughed at. During my upbringing my parents spoon fed me this idea that being a doctor, engineer, scientist and other STEM careers were my only options. Dreams about being an astronaut or a professional athlete were quickly met with opposition. This brings about the question: are all professions as important as what society tells us are the “top professions”. The author of Iggy Peck builds up Iggy’s character as a unique outsider. On the very first page there is a picture of Iggy building a tower out of his diapers. In many pictures afterwards, he is seen building different things out of everyday items that a kid would be surrounded with, such as mud, apples, pancakes. The author does this to display the natural talent Iggy was born with. The author later adds on to Iggy’s character by making him stand away from his conforming classmates, in these later pictures of Iggy’s life he is portrayed as miserable; That is until it was his time to shine where he is hailed as a hero for saving his class. The message the author is attempting to communicate with the audience -who in this case are kids who have aspirations, but are facing opposition- is to, and as cliché this is going to sound, chase your dreams. The second audience is the parents who have the traditional thinking of STEM careers only instead of being more progressive and encouraging the child to chase his/her dreams. The author is telling us that everyone has a natural talent and every talent and profession is as important as any other. Iggy was the only one who could save the class and is portrayed as a hero for doing so. At this point in the book Iggy goes back to being content, which shows that even though there will be challenges to not give up because there is a place for every kid with dreams in this world.

Another rhetorical analysis I did during the course of this was about a house tour where two different personalities came together in harmony. The message for this article is that even with two distinct tastes, in terms of design, in a household couple, it is possible to get the best of both worlds. In this specific household Jeff has a desire for a minimalistic design while Michelle on the other hand loves pieces of work might have historical and sentimental value. It’s clear the contrast between these two; One loves for lack of a better term “meaningful junk” while the other likes minimalistic design. This article shows how the two come together to surprisingly work. The audience are couples who believe want their house to have a meaningful look with the smallest amount of stuff they can work with, hence the title of the article. I clicked on this article because I’m the opposite of a minimalist and I believed that it was going to look ugly. However, everyone has different taste and if I was a minimalist, I would’ve loved this article and that is the audience it exactly targets. The writer includes many small effective strategies to really attract the audience and get his message across. One of the writers most effective strategies is all the pictures she includes of the couple along with the first name basis the writer puts us on with the couple. It gives the audience a feeling that this couple is just like any of us and very possible to be just like Jeff and Michelle.

This practice of rhetorical analysis was very eye opening to me because in high school I was used to scanning a piece of work and looking for rhetorical devices and then we were given the task to say why the author used this strategy and the answer was always the same, for emphasis. It almost made it feel robotic. This way that I was taught in My FIQWS helped me further understand what I was reading by looking at it as a whole.