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Blackfish Rhetorical Analysis

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Julianne Balasta

on 22 September 2015

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Transcript of Blackfish Rhetorical Analysis

Julianne Marie Balasta
What is the director trying to get across?
Director of
Gabriela Cowperthwaite
- makes the claim that
killer whales should not be held captive (like they are in entertainment facilities) due to the danger they pose to humans and also to themselves.
Mainly targets the large family establishment,
How they reel in
the audience

Begins by showing clips of orca whales swimming peacefully in the ocean. Makes us believe that the whales are graceful in nature.
Gives an emotional and ethical appeal
Whole argument will fail if audience does not believe this
Screen goes
and we hear a 911 phone call.
Scare Tactics
are used to lure us in.
What happened?
This happened at the famous SeaWorld?
Didn't they just say orcas were peaceful?
Questions like...
pop into our heads and we want them answered!!!
Trainer dies
They imply that a trainer of the name
dies at SeaWorld due to a killer whale.
Scare Tactic
"Could of happened to anyone"
"One of the best trainers"
How did she die?
How the writer builds
(Reputation of the author outside of the intended argument and how it affects the credibility of the work.)
(How the author creates trust within the speech.)
Gabriela Cowperthwaite - directed, produced and has written for ESPN, National
Tim Zimmermann - wrote an article on Dawn Brancheau
Funded by CNN
Samantha Berg, Jeffrey Ventre, Carol Ray, and John Hargrove - former SeaWorld trainers
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Instead of attacking SeaWorld from the get-go, Gabriela goes back in history and shows real video footage and news reports of how the mistreatment of captive whales lead to deaths of people even before SeaWorld.
Because of this, the audience is able to see that this issue is actually old news and that SeaWorld is putting its employees and animals in danger despite their previous knowledge.
The clips also give credibilty to the documentary because it shows the legitimacy of the stories being told.
is shown
Seaworld employees
The personal anecdotes from the former trainers
creates emotional appeal for the audience because it allows the viewers to empathize what the trainers and the whales endured during their time at SeaWorld.
They also included whale hunters' stories.
killer Whales
John Crowe
The film also gets the viewer to feel sympathy towards the killer whales.
the whale that killed
The main focus of the film. Gabriela creates an emotional relationship between Tilikum and the viewers by telling his story of how he became a disturbed and angry whale.
Shows him in isolation due to other female whales attacking him.
Food deprived in order to get him to do certain actions [learn a trick or enter a small enclosed space]
- “we kept them in a module that was 20 feet while by 30 feet deep…with the lights off.”
Appeals to
The whales were trapped in small pools, deprived of food, separated from their families, and like Tilikum, were beaten by other whales, so therefore, became stressed and aggravated leading them to potentially kill.
The film also reasons that orcas have a larger limbic system (which links to our emotions), implying that they are very emotional creatures and live a family-like structure their whole lives.
Argues that much like humans, orcas have a strong mother-child relationship and if separated, feel the pain and suffering.
Logical Fallacies
aimed toward the General public, with emphasis on the customers of seaworld
Hasty generalization: Tilikum, a killer whale held in captivity, killed a trainer, therefore that all captive whales will kill.
false dilemma: stop putting killer whales in
captivity, or have more people be killed
Thank YOU!
Full transcript