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The Elements of Persuasion
Transcript of The Elements of Persuasion
the use of detailed descriptions to paint a picture in the reader's mind
Use these techniques to analyze the different texts we study!
Definitions and Examples
The Elements of Persuasion
“With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God."
-From FDR’s For a Declaration of War Speech
Clear, decisive language that leaves the reader without any doubts or questions- the opposite of “iffy language”
This type of language is extremely persuasive!
Example: “Emaciated refugees construct makeshift shelters out of branches and scraps of plastic. All around them, vicious winds whip up choking clouds of red dust. On the parched earth where it has barely rained for two years, the carcasses of dead animals lie everywhere: dried-out pastures have become the graveyards of this drought.“
What images does this description of northern Kenya paint?
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering
with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be
transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color
of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
~Example from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Speech
the use of the same words or phrases over and over again
The impression that everyone else is doing something, or the feeling of being left out of something if you don’t join in.
Recently, President Obama said the following during his speech on creating jobs in America:
“Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we're going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?”
Who wants to be left out of being
Language that evokes a certain emotion in the audience that could sway the audience’s opinion about a specific topic.
“In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.”
-JFK’s Inaugural Address in 1961
Read the following examples about spending money to add safety precautions to a highway. Which would persuade you?
Examples from: www.professionalspeaker.com/public-speaking-emotions-article.htm
“There have been eleven accidents in the past year at the sharp curve which is two miles north of Cherokee Lake on Route 857. Installation of guard rails, warning signs, and a flashing light will cost approximately $34,000. Even though we have not balanced the budget this year, I feel that we should appropriate money for this project. Thank you.”
No Emotional Language…Just the Facts
“On July 18th of this year John Cochran was found dead. The radio of his car was still playing when the paramedics got to his overturned vehicle. John's neck was broken. It was snapped when his car flipped over an embankment. No one here knows John Cochran because he did not live here, but he died in our neighborhood. Most of you do know of the hairpin turn on Route 857 that has been the scene of eleven accidents this year alone and has injured many friends as well as strangers. We need money to put up guardrails, signs, and a flashing light. I know money is tight, but I hope you see fit to find the funds to remedy this situation before the unknown John Cochran becomes one of your loved ones.”
Example Two: With Emotional Language
“Elephant populations dropped from 1.3 million to 500,000 in Africa because of a heavy demand, mainly from Japan, for the tusks that are carved into jewelry, signature seals and other mementos.”
“At the present rates of extinction, as many as 20% of the world's 7-15 million species could be gone in the next 30 years.” (WWF)
Facts and statistics are true statements that validate the author’s
opinion, persuading the audience to trust what the author is saying.
Facts & Statistics
Language used for descriptive effect, often to imply ideas indirectly
"As the cave's roof collapsed, he was swallowed up in the dust like Jonah, and only his frantic scrabbling behind a wall of rock indicated that there was anyone still alive".
The allusion in the sentence above is to a story from the bible about Jonah and the whale. The reader is expected to recognize the reference to Jonah and the whale, which should evoke an image of being 'swallowed alive' ... in this case, behind a wall of dust and rock.
"Christy didn't like to spend money. She was no Scrooge, but she seldom purchased anything except the bare necessities."
Did you spot the allusion to Scrooge? That name should bring to mind an image of someone who 'pinches pennies' and hoards money with a passion. But the allusion only works if the reader is familiar with Charles Dickens' story 'A Christmas Carol‘ or the Disney movie version
"Well," said the Lieutenant, who had listened with amused interest to all this, and now waxing merry with his tipple; "Well, blessed are the peacemakers, especially the fighting peacemakers! "
In this case the allusion is a Biblical reference to a section of the Bible called
the Beatitudes: which includes: 'Blessed are the peacemakers”
“What I seek to convey is the historic truth that the United States as a nation has at all times maintained opposition -- clear, definite opposition -- to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient Chinese wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or for any other part of the Americas.”
Speech by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Four Freedoms delivered 6 January, 1941
Allusion in a
A reference in a literary work to a well-known character, place, or situation from another work of literature, music, artwork, or from history.
Identifying Emotional Language
"In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. . . Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."
~From Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
“I Have a Dream” Speech
Many allusions refer to the bible, mythology, nursery rhymes, famous fictional or historical characters /events or classic literature (Shakespeare).