English 103 Rhetorical Analysis Authors Becky Herz, and Kim Phuc wrote essays that not only touched hearts, but also made people take a different look at life and those around them. “The Long Road to Forgiveness” and “My Husband Will Call Me Tomorrow” are two essays that use literary devices such as pathos, imagery, ethos, and repetition to effectively tell their stories. By using different rhetorical and literary devices in their writing they were able to make an impact with their words. Words are very powerful weapons in the battle of making a point and trying to make sure that people actually understand that same point.
In Herz’s “My Husband Will Call Tomorrow” she was able to use repetition as well as visual devices to effectively tell her story. Her use of these devices allows the reader to be able to connect and see things from her level. Phuc’s essay on the other hand, was able to evoke gut-wrenching emotion, just using devices such as imagery and details about to make her story credible. Becky Herz’s essay, “My Husband Will Call Me Tomorrow” contains credibility in her use of certain details about how her life is laid out now that her husband is not at home.
Her use of repetition through the essay, stating that, “I believe my husband is going to call me tomorrow” is very effective. The author states this through the essay multiple times. This can be interpreted in a way where one can come to believe that she is just stating a fact. Over and over she states that her husband is going to call her; this shows that she has hope, faith, and is determined that her husband will indeed call her tomorrow. Herz gives detail about how she puts the baby to bed, walks the dogs, checks on her employees; this expresses how she does indeed “have her hands full” and establishes her credibility.
By going through her everyday life, this reveals that hope and belief that nothing is out of the ordinary. Through detailing the actions and evoking the emotion behind it, she makes her story more credible and emotional. The reader can actually believe that she does have hope and believe her husband will call her. If she really did not believe that her husband would call, would she keep her usual routine? Or would she just wallow in the idea that she will never see him again? Her use of repetition helped make her essay touching and believable. In Kim Phuc’s essay, “The Long Road to Forgiveness” she does not tell a story.
She states the facts about everything that happened to her when she was younger giving the story an emotional effect. She described in intricate detail about how she saw everything around her in flames. “I saw fire everywhere around me. Then I saw fire over my body, especially on my left arm. My clothes had been burned off my body” (Phuc 179). Not only did this statement help provoke the emotion in her story, but it also created imagery for the audience. Her word choice allows the audience to visualize the fire everywhere around her, burning off her clothes and everything around her.
Also you can read Rhetorical Devices in Night Walker by Brent Staples
Her words further on in the essay help form her credibility in the forgiveness that she is trying to provoke upon the reader. Still, her story is so detailed and thought provoking to feel some time of emotion for what has happened to her is unavoidable. As her essay goes on, never in the beginning or the middle does she state exactly what caused all the damage around her; Phuc saves the fact that she was burned by napalm until the very end of the essay. By just giving details about what happened instead of stating that fact first and then elaborating on it, allowed the essay to have a more emotional impact on the reader.
By finalizing what exactly caused all this damage to her physical being, stating how “Napalm is very powerful, but faith, forgiveness, and love are much more powerful” (Phuc 180), she made her story that much more credible. Especially when she reiterates how is “If that little girl in the picture can do it (forgive), ask yourself: Can you? ” (Phuc 181). Both Becky Herz and Kim Phuc were able to use emotion in their writing and make their essays credible by using details that forced the reader to actually sit back and think about what they were reading.
For instance, in Herz’s essay, just how she wrote about how she went through her day waiting for her husband to call her, it was almost as if she was just writing a note to a friend. Her diction created a relaxed tone though she was talking about something that was anything but that. She didn’t write it like she was trying to make the reader feel sorry for her; she was just revealing that she had hope by going through her everyday routine. “When people say, ‘Looks like you have your hands full,’ I’ll smile and acknowledge that its true, but I make the nest of it because I believe my husband will call me tomorrow” (Herz 110).
Phuc organized her essay the same way. She did not ask for any type of pity in her writing in how she wrote it; the facts about what happened were simply stated. From the very first sentence, “On June 8, 1972, I ran out from Cao Dai temple in my village, Trang Bang, South Vietnam, I saw an airplane getting lower and then four bombs falling down” (Phuc 179), information was given but pity was not requested. She told what happened, and how from it, her life changed drastically; this unknowingly pulls emotion from the reader, and helps establish even more credibility. The Long Road to Forgiveness” and “My Husband Will Call Me Tomorrow” are two essays that use literary devices such as pathos, imagery, ethos, and repetition to effectively tell their stories and create an essay where the audience can establish understandings and connections. From Phuc’s essay the reader can visualize almost every single detail that she writes about because the words themselves are so vivid. The reader can see the bombs falling out of the sky as they skim over the words. Becky Herz and Kim Phuc’s essays in This I Believe II are two perfect examples of these literary devices fundamentally being put to use.
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