Critique Assignment

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The article which I will be critiquing on is titled ‘For some, wounds will never heal’ written by Max Venables. It was published in “The Sunday Mail” on 18 March 2007, p.42. This article is about a former Prisoner of War’s views and his feelings about Australia’s Prime Minister’s agreement with Japan for a closer relationship and co-operation between the two militaries. I will be examining how the author put up his argument, using Aristotle’s rhetoric namely ethos, pathos, logos and fallacies. Ethos can be defined as sets of values held either by an individual or by a community, reflected through language, social attitudes and behavior. The concept of ethos is divided into ‘two interdependent concepts, Personality and stance’ (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p.16).

Personality is referred to as the image that was projected through interaction involving spoken or written persuasion. It is also defined as a projection of character traits of the writer matching the reader and the topic (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p.28). Max Venables was a prisoner of war in Singapore during the occupation by the Japanese. He had personally gone through the suffering inflicted by the Japanese, hence making his view more credible and valid.

According to Cockcroft and Cockcroft, stance refers to ‘…something inherently interactive, reflecting group values but decidedly subject to the persuader’s own control’ (2005, p.28). The author’s stance was negative as he did not like the idea of working closely with the Japanese. It can be seen in the quoted sentence in the article ‘…if I close my eyes, I can see, hear and smell a different Japan - a country I still can’t trust’ (Venables 2007, p.42). It revived negative thoughts and feelings that he had personally experienced during the Japanese Occupation where he was a prisoner of war.

Pathos is defined as emotional appeal where graphical vividness is used to create images in the mind of reader thus arousing ‘strongly positive or negative connotations…’ in the reader (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p.62). ‘Although pathos may be used to distract the persuadee from making a rational judgement on a specific issue, it may equally be used to give force and focus to rational argument’ (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p.79-80).

Emotions on hunger and dying are being provoked in the below few pointers. ‘…Changi PoW Camp took my youth, my dignity and my health’ (Venables 2007, p. 42) ‘We were starved, bashed, and very sick on the working parties at Bukatima, digging foxholes’ (Venables 2007, p.42) ‘No lunch, so one man decided to eat something, He was spotted by a Japanese soldier and, in a rage, the Japanese emptied everybody's food onto the road’ (Venables 2007, p.42) Words such as starved, bashed, no lunch, sick arouses strong emotions and sympathy, hence able to win the readers' empathy.

Emotions on threats to a personal life is being stirred up in the below statements. ‘About August 10, 1945, while carrying the soil past a Japanese soldier, he said to me: “If Singapore is invaded, you will carry the ammunition to the foxhole and we will shoot you…”’ (Venables 2007, p.42) ‘“We have lost the war but we will come through the back door.”’ (Venables 2007, p.42) ‘…if I close my eyes, I can see, hear and smell a different Japan - a country I still can’t trust’ (Venables 2007, p.42) Statements such as shoot you, come through the back door and a country I still can’t trust were being used hence arousing strong emotions where life is at stake. Thus it is easier to win the reader’s empathy.

Emotions on hurt and grieves is being projected in the statements below. ‘I recently asked to have the Japanese flag taken down from the Grand Hotel in Glenelg.’ (Venables 2007, p.42) ‘…was told to purchase any goods, I would have to change my money to yen. It hurt’ (Venables 2007, p.42)

Emotions on Nationalism and patriotism is being stirred up in the below few statements. ‘I am not in favour of our...
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