Rhetorical Strategies and the Author’s Appeals
In his book, Mark Edmundson uses various rhetorical strategies that allow the author to best convince the audience of the competence and truthfulness of statements. In one of the chapters, which is called “Why Write?”, several basic approaches are used, thanks to which the author creates basic images that allow the reader to provide evidence that writing is an actual occupation. First of all, he uses the tactics of “analyzing cause and effect”, which provides an opportunity for the author to analyze the reasons why this or that event occurred. In this case, Mark Edmundson makes assumptions about why and how people’s approach to reading has changed. The author notes: “Too often now the public roads for information, not enlightenment. People read to be brought up to date and put in the know” (Edmundson 135). Thus, Edmundson aims to show why writing has changed its character, however, it is also a way to demonstrate why the changed meaning of reading is one of the main reasons to continue writing.
In addition, the author uses the tactics of “Defining” and “Describing”, which are used to create a definite image of writing. Mark Edmundson resorts to these tactics in order to create a certain perception in the reader about reading. The author points out various factors of reading related to the fact that people are faced with an overflow of information and its oversaturation. As a result, there is a certain feeling that writing is a meaningless occupation, however, Edmundson reveals other details that prevail over these statements. He writes: “I mean real writing of course: writing that rises from the desire to give other people pleasure and instructions. I mean writing done with as much detachment from desire and purity of motive as possible” (Edmundson 139). Consequently, it becomes clear to the reader that writing is something more significant than just the number of books existing in the world.
With the help of ethos, the author shows the reader that he can be trusted, and his opinion should be listened to. He convinces the reader of his professionalism, his knowledge and experience. Mark Edmundson notes: “But really, I think what chiefly qualifies me to write about writing is that I’ve been a slow learner. I’ve gone by small steps” (Edmundson 141). Thus, the author refers to his life experience, which allowed him to acquire the necessary skills in this field.
Using pathos, the author evokes the necessary emotion in the reader or listener, which will correlate with the feeling of what writing means. As mentioned earlier, Mark Edmundson uses description and definition strategies to create a certain image of this phenomenon. Thus, the author seeks to demonstrate the importance of writing in people’s lives. They note facts that may raise doubts about the significance of this type of activity, for example, “Why write when the work is as lonely as it is?” (Edmundson 138). However, then Mark Edmundson uses these strategies to create pathos about what writing means to him. The author writes: “We could say, more neutrally, that writers are almost always spies and have the kinds of lives that spying creates. They are constantly collecting information, making mental notes” (Edmundson 139). It is in this way that Mark Edmundson creates an emotional attachment with this field of activity.
This is followed by the logos, which is necessary for the author to create a more reasonable way of convincing the reader. Within the framework of this book, Mark Edmundson resorts to a large number of references to other people and sources, for example, “Real writing can do what R. P. Blackmur said it could: add to the stock of available reality” (Edmundson 140). It is also worth saying that all of these strategies are used throughout the chapter to create a single logical chain of judgments. This is what allows the author to back up his own statements with the opinions of more authoritative people and sources. In addition, Mark Edmundson tries to provide beliefs and then refute them using various approaches, which creates the logos of the narrative.
Persuasion of the Intended Audience and Assumptions It
It should be noted that the strategies used by the author are used quite effectively to convince the target audience. This manifests itself in a variety of factors, which are how Mark Edmundson builds the narrative and logic of the chapter and the book. An important aspect in this case is the desire to anticipate the reader’s position regarding various aspects of writing. An example is the following: “Who am I to write a book about writing?”, that is, the author seeks to understand what the audience can assume (Edmundson 141). The most important point here is the desire to also answer the questions posed. To do this, various methods are used, for example, the author’s life experience or appealing to the opinion of more authoritative people and sources. Thus, Mark Edmundson’s appeal allows him to describe in sufficient detail the features and importance of writing, which helps convince the target audience.
On the other hand, it is also necessary to analyze the assumptions that the author makes about readers. Based on the logic of the narrative, it can be understood that for Mark Edmundson, the audience is a doubting people. This is evidenced by the number of rhetorical questions that are asked in this chapter. The answers to them are designed to convince the reader and change their initial presets regarding various aspects of writing. That is, the main assumption about the audience is its inexperience and doubt about the specifics of this field of activity.
Examination of a Source Used by the Author
In his book, Mark Edmundson refers to many works or words by other authors, one of them was a poem “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Yeats. It describes the difficulty of creating something beautiful and memorable. In the chapter, Edmundson uses a small passage that is associated with the fact that writing is a fairly complex and slow process. Thus, the poem states: “A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought” (Edmundson 138). The author uses the lines in order to convince the reader that even well-known writers are faced with the fact that this is quite a painstaking job.
At the same time, this allows the audience to create a sense of attachment to this process, since it is now easier to realize its importance. In “Adam’s Curse,” the poet expresses his dissatisfaction with society’s lack of regard for poetry as a viable vocation. The author claims that writing a poem that appears effortless takes a long time. “Adam’s Curse,” on the other hand, celebrates the amount of effort that old-fashioned love necessitates, which Yeats compares to the effort that poets must put in to compose their words.
Edmundson, Mark. The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching. Omnibus, Bloomsbury, USA, 2018.