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A Rhetorical Analysis of: Evil is as Evil Does By Leonard Pitts.

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Diana Best September 30, 2001 History of Rhetoric Joseph McCallus A Rhetorical Analysis of: Evil is as Evil Does By Leonard Pitts PURPOSE: The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, concerning the art of rhetoric, "[it] is the faculty of discovering in every case the available means of persuasion." A suitably eloquent phrase, the definition lends itself to images of momentous speeches amongst great crowds and heated debates in which the fluent, forceful language of one person casts a shadow over the rural diction of another. Leonard Pitts' purpose in his article, Evil is as Evil Does, is to argue that, "The events of September 11 did not happen because we did something wrong. Or because we somehow 'deserved' them." Pitts feels very strongly that we were attacked on September 11 "because certain religious extremists hate us." Pitts is writing a heated response to the arguments and comments he has heard over the past couple of weeks concerning why we were attacked. AUDIENCE: Since this article was in a local professional newspaper for the public, Pitts' audience would consist of people in Columbus, Georgia, regions close around the city, and in Florida because he is a writer for the Miami Herald. ...read more.


He concludes his article with another bold statement, which says, "We are right and they are evil. End of story." This concluding paragraph shows the readers how strongly he feels about his argument. The reader can clearly see after reading this article that Pitts is using inductive reasoning to persuade his audience. The article was very easy to read and understand. There were no words that one would stumble over or that were hard to define and the paragraphs flowed and transitioned smoothly. The sentence structure was also varied well between long and short sentences. AUTHORITY: Pitts establishes his authority at the very beginning of the article by including his job title with his name: Leonard Pitts, Commentary. Right away, his audience is aware that he is an educated man because, otherwise, he would not be a writer for such a well-known newspaper as the Miami Herald. He is also an American, which, at this point, gives him good authority to write such an impassioned commentary concerning the recent attacks. Another thing that shows a writer to be credible is how one would define his character. Aristotle listed three aspects that would help with the credibility of a writer. ...read more.


He does not revisit each argument, but instead says that "they hate us" and "there is nothing about our enemies that deserves to be dignified by our moral distress." He concludes his argument by asserting that "We are right and they are evil. End of Story." EFFECTIVENESS: This article was a very effective argument. The author made a point by providing facts to support that point, and countering the opposition. The article flowed well, and the diction was not so complex that one could not understand. The passionate voice Pitts uses and the facts he provides clearly express his feelings on the issue at hand. I do agree with Pitts' assertion that these attacks were not the fault of America and I also believe we did not deserve these vicious attacks. The acts of the terrorists were cowardly and evil. And in my own opinion, I believe that the attack backfired on them. Although they caused mass chaos and much pain, they also caused a revival of American pride and unity in our nation that has not been seen since World War II. Pitts' article completely convinced me because I believe the same things that he does. We are certainly not a perfect nation and we do not always do the right things, but we do not condone the slaughter of innocent people, and there is no cause that would justify such an action. ...read more.

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