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Texting May Be Taking Its Toll


According to the author Hafner (2009), in an article published on a daily press New York Times; Texting May Be Taking a Toll, makes use of the rhetoric art of writing to communicate effectively and persuasively. She goes along to use the three audience appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. She also uses rhetoric writing by dividing her work into the five clearly defoined ‘canons’ which include: invention, arrangement, style, memory and, delivery. Rhetoric art is an ancient art dating back to the 4th century BC. It is categorically described as the art of persuasion. Aristotle the philosopher is accredited as the basic developer of the art, and has through time had influence on the development of the rhetorical theory from ancient through modern times.


I have analyzed from the article the use of this art bit by bit. In the introductory section of the article, the author uses the canon of invention by the way she puts emphases on the intensity of texting as well as by comparing different circumstances and situations. She also uses delivery to create meaning and effect. A perfect exemplar of this can be demonstrated when she says, “They do it late at night when their parents are asleep, they do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt.” (Hafner, 2009). In the last sentence of the quote, the author uses Pathos to create an emotional sympathy. That is by employing the meticulous choice of words like “hurt” to evoke emotions to the reader (The Art of Rhetoric, 2010).

The author continues to provide proof to this by giving statistical data on the number of texts massages send and received averagely by the teenagers. This is the use of appeals Logos specifically. Logos is used to persuade the reader by means of logic. When reasoning with statistical basis, it creates reason. This can be exemplified when she says, ‘The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists …’ (Hafner, 2009). This statement seeks to form a basis for invention in argumentative, persuasive core of rhetoric. ‘Dr. Martin Joffe, a pediatrician in Greenbrae, California……’ (Hafner, 2009). In this text, the author is providing a reputable character to enforce on the ideology that texting is causing physical harm to the teenagers. The author in the subsequent paragraph continues to provide more conclusive assumption from reputable characters on the harms of texting among teens. This is use of appeal in the form of Ethos to credit the document on the reputation of the Doctor and Psychologist. By using the name of a reputable doctor who has carried out research on the topic, vouches on the integrity of the research (Hafner, 2009).

Pathos, an argument that is based playing on sympathy, emotion, fears and desires can be used for persuasion. The author is keen to point on the harms that come from over texting. By pointing out the harm of this act, she attempts to sway away people away from indulging so much in the act. I quote ‘Annie Wagner, 15, a ninth grade…, she noticed a painful cramping in her thumbs.’ This elicits sympathy and fear to other users (Hafner, 2009).


Canons have served both analytical and generative purposes. They create a base for critic and at the same time educate. The canons are arranged in a pattern to create meaning and draw attention. In the article, the author aligns her information in an executing manner to warn and draw attention to the dangers of texting. She follows an arrangement of a classical oration; introduction, statement of facts, division, proof, refutation and conclusion. By applying this arrangement, then the application of the appeals becomes an easier task (The Canons of Rhetoric, 2010).















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