Throughout the duration of the online rhetoric course we have looked at the basic elements that comprise rhetoric, we have looked at examples of rhetoric in WWII and the modern day online community, and we have been looking at ways rhetoric is used in the academic environment. All of the aforementioned discussions have been very helpful with developing a more thorough understanding of the rhetorical process, but as the class is coming a close, I have been looking for ways to use my newly acquired understanding of rhetoric. In doing so, it has occurred to me that I have used the rhetorical method of persuasion numerous times in my life.
Persuading parents or other roommates to get a puppy is one of the first rhetorical acts many people engage in. Without fully realizing it, young kids enact detailed strategies to convince their parents of the rewards of pet-ownership. The very determined kid may use graphs, statistics, and the highly effective “pretty-please” to when their opposition over. No matter how they go about it, each kid is participating in the long-standing tradition of rhetorical debate with their audience.
When I was around 5 years old and living in Atlanta, I employed the standard, child-like persuasive methods to convince my mom to get a puppy for my sister and me. I focused on the irresistible adorableness of puppies, as I knew this would create a strong emotional response in my mom. Secondly, I aimed to convince her that it would be the ethical thing to do; because her friend’s dog had just given birth to a half-dozen puppies that were going to need a new home. Next, I also explained that the puppy would keep me company in our new neighborhood, while at the same time teaching me responsibility. As one final emotional tactic, I told my mom we could name the puppy Muffin, after the dog she had as a little girl.
A few weeks later, we brought a little puppy home with us. Over the next 12 years Muffin was a member of our family and even made the move from Atlanta, GA to Milton, PA with us. Unfortunately, Muffin passed away a few weeks before I graduated from high school. Everyone in the family was very sad, especially my younger sister. After a few more weeks, I found her and my step-sister employing the same tactics I did as a young child, to convince my parents that we should get a new dog to fill the void in our home. They were also successful, and shortly thereafter a small, white, fluff-ball of a dog named Gunner was running through our home.
In later years, I found myself using rhetorical persuasion once again, to convince my grandmother that we should get a dog to keep her company in her retirement while I was away at school and work. It took a little convincing to get my grandmother to see the benefits of having a dog. I made sure to tell her that having a dog would make her feel more secure while she was home alone at nights, and I also used statistics to show her that elderly people that take care of an animal are far less likely to suffer from depression, as well as a number of other mental illnesses.
Shortly before Christmas of 2012, my grandmother and I went to small farm to pick up the little puppy named Max, although our original plan was to get a retired Greyhound race dog. I knew that my grandmother would change her mind about training a puppy as soon as she held the miniature-elephant looking dog in her arms. Once again, rhetorical persuasion had successfully created a major change in both my grandmother’s and my life. When Max grew to be over 80 lbs in the first six months, we realized we had gotten a little more than we bargained for, still, it has been an interesting and rewarding experience from day one.