A Rhetorical Analysis of an Article on Euthanasia

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Johnathan Drake Swails
RHET: 010:003:22
February 12, 2013
Dog Days: A Rhetorical Analysis of an Article on Euthanasia
“We love him; he’s ruining our lives” states loyal caregiver, Louise Aronson, about her family dog, Byron (Aronson, 17). This author faces one of life’s most difficult choices: life or death? While being a controversial topic, Louise does a good job supporting her positive views of euthanasia. She argues that euthanasia is the merciful, ethical decision throughout her article. Imagery aids this trusted resource’s point; ironically, she seems to paint an aura of lightheartedness at first. Piggybacking on pathos helps drive her point home on such an emotionally involved topic, for she shares her own personal struggle. Emotional involvement is one of the best strategies to use with a touchy subject like euthanasia. Louise decides to stay away from statistics and facts, rather, she reasons with the reader, and her word choice is just icing on the cake of her argument.

Louise can captivate readers with her use of imagery, and she uses this to her advantage in persuading others to think the same as her. Starting with what seems to be the beginnings of an anti-euthanasia pitch, this author decides to cause uneasiness for the reader halfway through the article. She begins painting a vulgar image of her beloved dog as she states, “pus dripped from his red, swollen eyes” (12). This, earlier described as cute dog that enjoyed, “[toddling] along happily on his daily walks,” is now being portrayed as gross and diseased(3). This quick turnaround forces the reader to revise their previously thought up image of a playful puppy: replacing it with an old decrepit dog that is much more suited for death. Showing the dog as disgusting and less lively helps the reader sympathize with the writer’s final decision to euthanize her dog. After telling the reader that she is finally going to kill the dog, Louise revisits the cute puppy idea saying, “he ran to...
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