Running on Empty

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Margaret Visser writes about fasting in her short story “Running on Empty”. Visser effectively presents her writing style as expository and her thought process as deductive with denotative diction through the use of objective writing only to persuade the reader to her way of thinking. Visser’s writing is in fact persuasive, connotative and inductive. After a careful analysis of the story, one must conclude that Visser intentionally attempts to convince her audience that fasting is wrong by appealing to her audience. She appeals to her audience by presenting unbiased points of view then incites rejection of fasting in modern society. M. Visser introduces her short story in the first paragraph by defining fasting and distinguishes fasting from starving and dieting. One must note that Visser defines “’starve’ [as] from the same root as the German sterben, ‘die’ whereas fasting is ‘standing firm’”, but she doesn’t define “dieting”. Visser ends the first paragraph with one subjective sentence, of which there are two in the entire short story. “Today performing a fast has become so rare as to be judged bizarre and irritating behavior.” This is not fact and it also does not appear to be Vissers’ own opinion; so Visser remains to be on the fence, does not take any sides, but leaves a faint hint for her audience to nudge them in the direction of thinking that performing a fast is socially unacceptable. All the way from the beginning of the second paragraph to the beginning of the ninth paragraph all facts are stated however that does not mean that they can’t be offensive. Visser’s writing style is objective and expository throughout most of her story. By explaining the good things about fasting from an objective point of view, she gains the readers’ trust. In the second paragraph Visser explains how people “…are biologically gifted…” and how we as humans benefit from our body in times of low food supply. Visser continues to explain highly believable facts to continue...
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