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“Snack Attack”: Rhetorical Analysis

“Snack Attack” is a short film that was directed by Andrew Cadelago (from Pixar) and produced by Alejandro Gómez Monteverde and Leo Severino. The video tells the story of an old lady and her intention to eat some snacks (cookies). The short movie touch on a sequence of quite compelling themes: understanding elder people, judging someone based on their appearance, looking and stereotyping them, learning to share. The creator used such rhetorical appeals as pathos, and ethos to persuade and emotionally move an audience.

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To start with, the audible component of the short film is to be discussed. The entire video does not involve any example of oral speech. Instead, the viewers can observe that the main messages are transmitted with the help of mimics, gestures, body movements, squealing, moaning, and producing other noises. However, it is enough for the viewers to hear these sounds and understand what is going on. At first, the viewers see the old lady who cannot get her box of chocolate cookies. Her squealing and her attacking behavior with the machine illustrate her bad temper. In another situation, when the lady is mad at a teenager, the viewer can notice that her bad temper is illustrated by the presence of incomprehensible sounds and furious grumbling produced by the old lady as the reaction to the situation. Therefore, the importance of visual techniques prevails over aural ones in this source. The video does not include a subtle choice of words, literary devices, syntax, accent, and so forth. At the same time, the emphasis on the visual elements and sounds makes it possible for the director to effectively transfer the message.

As for the use of rhetorical appeal, it might appear that the director did not include any examples of logos in his video. The video does not involve facts or numbers that should persuade the audience in his ideas. Nevertheless, the general definition of logos as “an appeal to reason relies on logic or reason that depends on the use of inductive or deductive reasoning” might lead to the assumption that the video partly involves at least one example of logos (“Rhetorical Strategies”). This example of logos can be seen in the suggestion that the old lady is a victim, while the teenager is constantly taking and eating her cookies. The viewers can also conclude based on logic and deductive reasoning that this teenager is rude. In other words, the director wanted to make the viewers form an opinion based on the common stereotypes and generalizations and then apply this assumption to this specific case. However, the old lady is not the victim of the given teenager but rather one of her foregone conclusions, bad temper, and false perceptions of reality.

Another rhetorical appeal used in the video is pathos (emotional appeal). This rhetorical device is aimed at the audience’s emotional sensibilities, needs, and values (“Rhetorical Strategies”). This appeal is more efficient than persuasive techniques based on reasoning and logic. It should be noted that the author paid more attention to the usage of emotional appeals than to any other persuasive techniques. First, the director put a great emphasis on the facial expressions and gestures that serve to show the characters’ emotions during the occurred situation. He especially concentrates on the old lady’s expressions when she realizes that she was eating the teenager’s cooking. The viewers can read such feelings as sorrow, confusion, and astonishment on the old lady’s face. She is taken aback by finding the box of cookies in her bag. In this particular scene, the reminiscences of what has happened can be also considered as logos since it is a factual base of the story.

Second, the use of pathos also deals with the organization of the visual information. In the beginning, the viewers can see the title “Snack Attack” written on the bench. The focus slowly moves from this text to the old lady approaching the machine. The title already gives the audience a general idea of what they should expect. Indeed, the old lady throws a glance at the showcase and experiences a strong craving to have the coolies. As can be seen, the feelings experienced by the lady get more evident through the appearance of the titles. Furthermore, pathos deals with the colors used in the video. The video becomes more emotionally charged with the help of bright colors: the color of the text, the surroundings, the character’s appearance, and their clothes, the overall graphics. As for ethos, the director makes the audience feel empathic towards the old lady, who is an ethos-driven character. In addition to that, the viewers can rely on the reputation of the author (Pixar).

The video shows that it is crucial not to judge someone based on appearance and the subjective understanding of the situation. The director also wanted to show that it is necessary to look beyond stereotypes and be kind enough to share something with other people. In order to achieve this purpose, the director used such rhetorical devices as pathos and, logos, ethos. At the same time, the usage of pathos is more evident in the video.

Reference

“Rhetorical Strategies”. Purdue Writing Lab, 2020, Web.

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“Snack Attack” (2019) Web.

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