Rhetorical writing is a special kind of activity that involves the ability to both analyze the plot of the object under consideration and see how the author manages to affect the audience’s perception of this object by certain rhetorical means. The appeal to the audience is rather important in this aspect, as well as the arguments and their support that the author uses to back up his or her points of view. One of the bright examples of the brilliant use of rhetoric devices and techniques to interpret a piece of art and to make the audience agree with such an interpretation is the essay by Jenna Berko. Her paper considers The Local Pub photo, and the author manages to convince the readers that the major focus of the photo is the pub but not its visitors. Thus, using the appeal to the audience and purely rational and logical course of thought, Jenna Berko copes with the task of showing the eternality of time and timely character of people in it.
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Initiating in the paper is the idea that the essay author speculates on; it is the composition of the photo under consideration. What is necessary to notice initially is the assuming tone of this part of the essay. Jenna Berko supposes or expresses purely her personal impression about the photo and the unusual focus of the latter. The people, who are usually focused on, serve as the foreground for the more important image – the image of the eternal pub that remains the same irrespective of thousands of new people that might attend it the next day or the next decade: “The photo is composed in a manner that develops a pub’s permanent and timeless nature and is contrasted by the underlying sense that the viewer is not a part of this world” (Brundage and Lahey, p. 207). Having stated this, however, the author comes to close to expressing her ideas as the universal truth, and such a confident manner of presentation adds much to the credibility of Berko’s interpretation of the photo.
Further on, Jenna Berko executes in her analysis is the consideration of the elements of the photo and the symbolism that each of them might carry. Aside from purely artistic or critical analysis, such a technique adds to the credibility of the author and her ideas in the eyes of the readers. Admitting that the detailed analysis is possible only under the condition of the deep knowledge of the subject, the readers cannot argue with the fact that Jenna Berko knows well what she writes about. Accordingly, the presentation of the window as “an image within in image”, and “the light and faded portrayal of the drinkers” (Brundage and Lahey, p. 207) serve as a brilliant convincing technique that makes the author’s viewpoint understandable and natural to the audience. When someone speaks in a definitive and a confident tone, there is much more chances for him or her that others would believe; that is why Berko’s arguments look so convincing – they leave no space for doubt.
Obviously, the tone of the ideas’ presentation is thus on of the most significant rhetoric devices used by the author. Jenna Berko does not use subjunctive mood at all to express her assumptions or thoughts. There is only the indicative mood that lets the audience know that the author is sure about her arguments. If so, the audience is also sure to believe them: “The pub’s structure, the clear and focused aspect of this photo, is the scene’s foundation” (Brundage and Lahey, p. 207). Presenting the ideas not like her own ones but like the scholarly accepted and research proved facts, Jenna Berko achieves what any writer would like to – the audience believes her words and takes them as an authoritative and reliable opinion. Stating that “the pub is a permanent place; the drinkers and their beer may fade away, but the pub will exist, will have patrons” (Brundage and Lahey, p. 208), Jenna Berko seems to express the opinion of any viewer of the photo – so convincing and well structured her arguments are.
Accordingly, it is necessary to conclude this essay with stating again that rhetoric is a great force in convincing the audience in a certain idea, and in her essay Jenna Berko manages to convince the readers that the major focus of the photo is the pub but not its visitors. Thus, using the appeal to the audience and purely rational and logical course of thought, Jenna Berko copes with the task of showing the eternality of time and timely character of people in it. The definitive tone of the ideas expressed combined with the obviously deep knowledge of the subject matter under analysis add to the credibility of the author and her arguments. Jenna Berko skillfully uses the technique of saying little but to the point to develop the understanding of her ideas in the audience.
Brundage, David and Michael Lahey. Acting on Words: an Integrated Rhetoric, Reader and Handbook, 2nd ed. Pearson Education, 2008.