Giving A Voice To The Voiceless

1277 words - 6 pages

Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion as defined by Aristotle, remains one of the most useful skills to master in life. It not only proves to be useful when formally writing an argument of some sort, but rhetoric also permeates the daily lives of every human being in his/ her communication skills, vocabulary, decision making, and much more. When specifically delivering a message as a fitting response to a rhetorical opportunity through speaking, writing, or some other means of broadcast, the speaker almost always keeps a rhetorical audience in mind to influence or change. For James M. Perrin, his fitting response “Children in Poverty” responded to the op-ed column “Progress in the War on Poverty”, written by Nicholas Kristof. The New York Times published both pieces in their newspaper and website. The rhetor’s argument consisted of the assertion that too many children currently suffer in the face of poverty and that budget cuts to federal support systems harm the potential for these children to succeed in life.
Perrin aimed to persuade the readers of the New York Times, in particular, those that maintain a very weak political stance who can be persuaded towards democratic perspectives, and elected officials that possess the power to create change in the country. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, political demographics of the New York Times assure that 68% of readers have little to no political views. Therefore, a great potential exists for Perrin to persuade a large amount of people that remain in the middle of certain beliefs. Furthermore, only 13% of readers maintain right wing views while 44% remain self-identified Democrats. This statistic proves to be beneficial for the author due to the fact that little outright opposition to his argument could surface. Through his use of the rhetorical appeals, and recognizing his audience, Perrin successfully creates a solid argument promoting organizations that provide aid to impoverished families.
One rhetorical appeal that Perrin uses frequently throughout his writing consists of pathos. Using pathos appeals to the emotions of the audience and prompts them to submit to an argument through the softening of stubbornness or dogmatism. By describing what circumstances these children must suffer through, he invokes a feeling of sympathy, and concern from his audience. “…too many children still suffer the indelible effects of hunger, homelessness, and financial insecurity” (Perrin par 1). By surfacing these emotional responses from his audience, Perrin prompts them to see life from a different perspective where they are not as fortunate. This phenomenon increases the chances of readers understanding the author’s side of the argument and switching positions on the issue. In addition to describing the harsh conditions children live in, the author uses words such as “our” or “we”. These pronouns appear throughout the text to create a connection between his audience and him,...

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