Rhetorical Analysis Rough Draft

rcl 1

(This is the basis of my essay)




It takes plastic over 500 years to decompose into small pieces and close to 1000 years to decompose completely. That means the first piece of plastic created (in 1905) is still is not even a quarter of the way decomposed yet. This slow rate of decomposition has made it so that there are more pieces of plastic waste in the ocean than there is plankton. There is so much plastic waste in the center of the Pacific Ocean that is has created an island the size of Texas called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Dead marine animals are washing up on beaches more and more frequently because their stomachs are filled with plastic waste. The massive amounts of plastic wastes in the world’s oceans are not the only environmental issue affecting the Earth today. Man made global warming, air and water pollution, and the wasting of water are only some of the other issues affecting Earth. To combat these problems, there are many movements to help stop and fight these issues. These include initiatives such as the Mobius Campaign at Penn State to increase and encourage recycling of almost all wastes, encouraging the use of green energy and green transport to help combat global warming, and reducing the amount of water used during daily activities. The use of less single use plastics has a huge audience of people looking to improve the quality of the Earth; it just does not have the popularity to reach those people. This poster feeds off of these people desire to improve the Earth and encourages them to go a step further than they already have, by stopping the use of single use plastics completely.

This poster was created and distributed by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The goal of the Plastic Pollution Coalition is to eradicate the Earth of plastic pollution and its harmful impacts. It does this by uniting individuals, organizations, and large companies all by one pledge. This pledge is shown on the poster and is as simple as saying “I will refuse single use and disposable plastic every chance I get.” The Plastic Pollution Coalition has very little to gain from ending the use of plastics. It does not have any connections to a greener version of plastic and will not benefit from the end of single use plastics. It simply wants a better Earth and it believes a better Earth will come from no single use plastics being used. It uses this ethos in the creation of the poster. They include their name on the bottom of the poster because they know viewers will look at the poster and agree to it because the Plastic Pollution Coalition sponsors it. The Coalition assumes that people will know their credibility and will trust it in the decision to cut back on the use of plastics. This assumption relies on the idea that people know what is wrong with the Earth and that they know what the basic goal of the poster is.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition uses this poster on all of its social media websites and also distributes them to stores throughout the country. People in all walks of life see this poster and it affects every one differently. This poster has a wide appeal, but it specifically targets a unique group of people. Every viewer of this poster is able to understand the basic motivation behind this poster; it calls for the end of the use of single use plastics. However, not many viewers understand the motivation behind the poster. Only people who understand the current conditions of the Earth truly understand the message by the poster. This specifically targeted audience shows the logos behind the poster. The harmful effect of plastics on the environment is known. The only solution to that problem is to end the use of plastics all together. Without that, Earth will continue to deteriorate to the point of no saving, ultimately leading to the end of humanity. This poster also plays into the pathos of the audience. The consequences of using plastics is well known to the audience so the poster evokes a feeling of guilt into the viewer because they know the consequences of their actions. The poster uses the knowledge of the audience to cause them to feel guilty which in turn makes them support the cause.

The message of this poster is clear. “I will REFUSE single use and disposable plastics every chance I get”. It is plain and simple and right to the point. It calls people to do one simple thing for the benefit of the Earth as a whole. Saying this simple message unites you with a community of other people who took the pledge to fight the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the over use of plastics as a whole. The poster does not describe what the problems facing the Earth today. It does not mention the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or that more and more marine animals are dying every day due to the amount of plastics in the world’s oceans because it does not need to. The Plastic Pollution coalition knows its audience is well aware of these issues and many more. It gives the audience a reason to give up single use plastics because they feel they are being left out of the community of people built by saying this pledge. The spacing and orientation of the words and letters is also significant. It capitalizes the word REFUSE because it is the call to action in the poster. The viewer will refuse plastic next time they are offered it. Another key point about the orientation of the words is that the word plastic gets its own line. This singles out plastic even more and makes it the second focus of the pledge. The poster uses the color red to show it is a powerful message and that it wants to stand out wherever it gets placed. Red also evokes emotion within the audience of the poster. It creates feelings of determination and power. The background of the poster itself creates a feeling of the desire to do more to help the cause. The poster also has a large picture of the classic 20-ounce Coca Cola bottle on it, however the bottle is pointed downward. This shows the audience what the poster is there to combat, but it also creates a “down with plastics” mentality without saying exactly that. A man is drawn in the center of the bottle, and on that man’s shirt is another plastic bottle pointing directly at the man. The bottle on the shirt is singling out every viewer of the audience to create the feeling that stopping the use of plastics is their job, not the job of someone else. It removes the feeling of not doing something because somebody else does it. Instead, it says that the viewer should stop the use of single use plastics because they are the only ones who have not done so yet and that they can make a difference. The poster would not be successful at what it is trying to accomplish without the commonplace that the Earth is in trouble and needs to be cleaned up. It plays off of people’s knowledge and makes them feel guilty about the plastic bottle they are drinking from or the plastic silverware they are eating with.

I need a conclusion of some kind, I’m just not sure the direction to take.

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1 Response to Rhetorical Analysis Rough Draft

  1. Angela Zhang says:

    Really good draft! You were able to extract a lot of detailed analysis from a simple poster, which shows how much you address the issue beyond the artifact itself.
    I typed down some notes and am pasting it below. It looks like a lot but actually most of them are yays 🙂 You were wondering about the conclusion so I also put down a suggestion for that. Sorry it’s a lot…!

    Yay: The introduction paragraph is very useful in introducing the context of the situation/what the poster is responding to: plastic waste, garbage patch, marine animals. Good BG info to introduce potential ideologies the coalition makes.

    1st body paragraph:
    Yay: Stating they have no connections to plastic producers and genuinely want a better earth is a good ethical appeal analysis.
    Suggestions: Expand on how their ethos persuades the viewer? How does this poster further incite people who already understand what’s wrong with the earth and know what the goal of the poster is? How does it engage them even more?

    2nd body paragraph:
    Yay: Good explanation of logos towards specific target audience. Also well explained — pathos guilts people into joining the cause!
    Suggestions: Maybe elaborate on how this poster is very effective for that target audience, while not as effective for those who don’t know about the issue (i.e. pros/cons of logos)?

    3rd body paragraph:
    Yay: Good explanation of peer pressure goading audience into one beneficial network: “It gives the audience a reason to give up single use plastics because they feel they are being left out of the community of people built by saying this pledge.”
    Explanation of visual/text choice well done in how it moves the audience emotionally to join the cause (e.g. “down with plastics,” “stopping the use of plastics is their job,” etc.)
    Explaining visuals in creating guilt again well done!

    Because you address a lot of the pathos and the moral obligation as a part of the community as parts of their persuasive argument, maybe the conclusion could wrap up with how the various facets of the global issue (pathos/guilt, morality/saving the earth is the right thing to do) are overarching themes people respond to; it’s in our “nature” to want to protect something within our community, whether linked by emotion or ethical reasoning…?

    On a side note, I enjoy that you mention the Pacific garbage vortex. I also thought it was very witty when you said the amount of plastic exceeds the plankton, which is in fact quite saddening.

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