Essay on Rhetorical Devices

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Vanderbilt University
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Language is the primary mode of communication. It is used to ensure the transmission of information from one source to the other. In most cases, language is employed to persuade individuals depending on different situations. The persuasion is mainly conducted using sound arguments with the logical force and the manipulation and rhetorical force of the listener's emotions. Critical thinking is thus a fundamental requirement in the persuasion process and the use of language as a tool of communication. Critical thinking enables an individual to distinguish the different forms of belief and assists in the identification of the rhetorical strategies (Kennedy, 2015). The study thus focuses on the identification of the various rhetorical devices used in chapter five of the reading.

Rhetorical devices are the approaches employed by different authors to convey information to the readers and the listeners primarily to persuade the readers or the listeners. The devices are used to evoke emotions from the readers.

Euphemism is a rhetorical device used by authors to ensure indirect and polite expressions that replace the rude, unpleasant and harsh expressions. Euphemism is an expression that loses the original and literal meaning and develops a different phenomenon to ensure the elimination of the unpleasantness of the original text. It is the replacement of different words that prove embarrassing to the readers (Kennedy, 2015). Euphemism is mainly employed in the chapter in two instances. The first instance is depicted in line nineteen where the author states that But, like Teddy Roosevelt, I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. The use of euphemism is also depicted in line 62 where the author states that like Henry Ford, my solution, or "using plastics bags to patch the leaks," The author replaces the unpleasant words with words that seem respectful and very appropriate to the readers.

Dysphemism is an expression that is very offensive to the audience or the subject matter. It is mainly initiated by feelings like hatred, fear, contempt, and distaste. The device has been used in the text by the author. The device is mainly used in line sixty where the author states, "The HOA has an alternative solution for me. Those who call me "cheap" are small-minded fools." The author is very offensive towards the individuals who criticize him, and the author is mainly driven by the feelings such as fear of failing the election and hatred towards such people.

Weasler is an expression used by authors to eliminate criticism of a claim and to weaken it. The device is used in the text in line sixty-one where the author states, "I am an innovator, a creative man of the industry with a can-do attitude." The device is also used in line nineteen as the author states do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. The author uses the words to enable him to deny previous meaning, and the author thus implies the statements made previously are vague and very ambiguous.

Downplayer is an expression used by the author to diminish the significance of a particular claim (Kennedy, 2015). The author uses the device in line eight, nine and ten when he pays down the claim that everybody can have the interest of the stakeholders despite the duration of stay. The author thus implies that only individuals who have stayed within the organization for long have the interest of all the stakeholders.

The stereotype is an expression used by the writer to generalize the members of a given class. The author uses the device in the text as depicted in line fourteen as the author states that the HOA is a group of like-minded individuals with same concerns about the health of the planet earth.

Innuendo is an indication of an event considered deprecatory. The device has been used in the text in line fifty-one where the author states that an entrepreneur cannot advocate for the public good and that entrepreneurs only make money for themselves. The approach is also employed in line sixty-six when the author states, "It's because these six people aren't rational enough to concern themselves with keeping the property values of their homes." The device is also used in line 69 where it is stipulated by the author, "It couldn't be more clear and evident that with Parfit at the HOA's helm over the next three years, our property values will continue to decline." The author uses such statements to insinuate deprecatory nature of the events.

A loaded question is one that relies on unjustified assumptions. The device is used in line 55 where the author asks, Is his goal to drain every HOA member's bank account? This question is based on unjustified assumptions.

The case of ridicule is mainly used in instances of dismissive language. The device has been used in the text in line 60 when the author refers to those calling him cheap as small-minded fools. A case of hyperbole comprises of the use of extravagant overstatement. It is highlighted in line 66 when the author states the six people are not rational to even concern themselves with keeping the property values of their homes.

The author to influence the belief of the audience employs a case of rhetorical definition. The device is used in line 30 to indicate the commitment of the author towards the development of the association and to ensure the influence of the audience belief. The rhetorical explanation is mainly used on line 70 when the author influences the audience by stating that with him as the president the values of the association's property will appreciate.

The proof surrogate is an expression used by different authors to indicate the availability of evidence. The author uses the device in line 8 when the author states he has been a resident for seven years without giving a definite proof. It is also used in line 24 when the author states that conservationism is one of his assets but fails to give substantive evidence. The device is also used in line 29 when the author claims that some members are against his efforts towards the conservation of water resources but fails to give details of the same claims.

Repetition is also employed in the text by the author as the words HOA and Glenways have been repeated on different occasions throughout the text. A rhetorical analogy occurs where the author compares one thing with the other. The device is used in line 36 when the author compares the performance and the term of Beth Granz and Parfit. The device is also used in line 70 when the author compares the performance of Parfit as the president and his expected performance if elected. The author in line 9 also employs misleading comparison when he compares good leadership skills with the length of stay within the association. The author believes he is the best suited for the position simply because he has stayed at Glenway for seven years. This is misleading to the audience.

Rhetorical devices are thus very elementary language techniques that help writers and authors to ensure the persuasion of the audience. It is thus a tool that should be highly incorporated in the curriculum system as it enables students develop not only critical thinking skills but also enables them communicate well with the target audience.


Kennedy, G. A. (2015). History of Rhetoric, Volume I: The Art of Persuasion in Greece (Vol. 1). Princeton University Press.

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