Rhetorical Analysis: E. Wiesel and E.B White

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Corey Noble
Mrs. Bogart
AP English Lang
9 September 2012
Rhetorical Analysis
Plato, student to Socrates and Greek philosopher, affirms, “rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” Rhetoric, the art of persuasive and effective argument, is evident in every facet of argument, written work, and speech. Writers have tried since the beginning of written language to integrate beautiful rhetorical devices to enhance the persuasive effect and the argumentative power of their pieces. Elie Wiesel, in his essay Why I Write: Making No Become Yes, and E.B. White in The Essayist and the Essay, try to craft arguments to prove their specific purposes in the most incisive ways. Accordingly, Elie Wiesel and E.B. White manipulate syntax and detailed extended metaphors respectively to prove their specific purpose; however, E.B. White’s essay is greatly undermined by his inclusion of the theme of self-deprecation. To begin, Elie Wiesel, in his essay Why I Write: Making No Become Yes, establishes the central point of his essay—the inexpressibility of his experiences—by appealing to the emotional conscience of the reader through the use of asyndeton in his diagrammatic description of the holocaust. Wiesel masterfully chronicles, in several instances, the calamitous and unfathomable nature of the holocaust that mercilessly drowns the reader in vulgar detail. For example, Wiesel writes that no one could understand “the fear and hunger of the sick, the shame and suffering, the haunted eyes, the demented stares,” –that no ”coherent, intelligible” words could define, could limn the lassitude of the Jewish people (39). This specific commission of asyndeton reads monotonously and quickens the reader’s pace. Furthermore, it creates a steady pulse—almost a rhythm—similar to a heartbeat. Wiesel suggests, in the device’s effect, a human feature that has significance in the reader: the heart. The heart is essential to life and health; even more, the heart has symbolic...
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