Rhetorical Analysis (Post 2)

An analysis on Vanessa Barbara’s New York Times opinion article on “The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians.”

A Sneak Peek in “The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians”

Vanessa Barbara argues on a May 29th, 2017 New York Times article, called “The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians”, that the current Brazilian administration and many landowners in and near the Amazon are threatening, abusing and erasing numerous native tribes in the Amazon. Next, The author further states that the attacks were part of a larger pattern of marginalization and neglect. Then, she briefly mentions how colonial settlers (back in the 1500s) and today’s land-owning farmers illegally acquired the native’s lands, land in the Amazon rightfully protected under the Constitution of Brazil. She advances her argument and explains that the government doesn’t do anything about protecting the natives, and the people in power supports the oppression of indigenous people through agribusiness.

Usage of Rhetorical Appeals

Source: Tes Teach

Barbara successfully persuades and informs her readers through the effective use of two main rhetorical appeals, which are logos and pathos to clearly get her point across. The author addresses her opinions and makes sure to support them with facts. She also used quotes from experts or people who are knowledgeable about the killings and displacement of Brazilian Amazon natives, to enforce logos.

At times, Barbara effectively uses pathos in her writing to further illustrate and describe what the current state of many neglected native tribes are. Her use of vivid and emotional language hints at what neglected indigenous people go through daily. She eventually ends her opinion article with a call-to-action which helps her readers feel included in the process of making change — an emotional appeal to her readers.

Logos, Logic and Content

Source: PathosEthosLogos

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the author writes with logos through quoted related facts and statistical information from a specialist or expert. For example, Barbara writes, “Since 2007, 833 Indians have been murdered and 351 have committed suicide, according to the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health — rates far above the national average. Among children, the mortality rate is two times higher than in the rest of the Brazilian population.” With this, the logic or reasoning is amplified because she’s supporting her claim with factual and statistical information from the Specialists Secretariat for Indigenous Health. The quote quickly mentioned how the rates surpassed the national average and with this, the author is enforcing again the fact that many natives are suffering in the Amazon.

Pathos, The True Emotions

Source: Pinterest

Likewise, the author uses pathos or emotional appeal to keep the audience hooked and to see the bigger picture. At the end, she adds, “Unless there is a public outcry in defense of Brazil’s indigenous people, they will continue to die — cut off from their lands, officially silenced, murdered, ravaged by malnutrition and disease — and the genocide will be complete.” She ended it with an emotional, vivid and powerful statement. When writers use clear descriptive and moving language, it allows the readers to sense the urgency of the situation and possibly convince their audience to become part of the cause or movement. She clearly gives us a clear message that this is a humanitarian crisis and it’s an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

In addition, the usage of expressive concrete words or phrases such as “cut off”, “silenced”, “genocide” and “ravaged by malnutrition and disease” helps her audience to picture the extremity of the horrors they might or will face. This last statement has an impact because it effectively tugged the heartstrings of its readers, which is pathos.

The Effective Use of Pathos and Logos Together

Source: Effective Altruism

Any piece of writing shouldn’t just be reliant in pathos, because many say there’s not much legitimacy in just being emotionally-driven. For example, she effectively melds together the use of pathos and logos. Barbara includes the following quote, “…22 Indians were wounded, including three children. Many were shot in the back or had their wrists chopped.” This quote came from the Indigenous Missionary Council (an advocacy group), and they talked about how the abuse of the Amazon natives led to many deaths and fatal injuries. Again, logos is enforced because another expert was quoted and statistical information was presented too.

Since they’re an advocacy group, they’re probably highly informed and are actively organizing about the current issue. Moreover, she added a very detailed description of how fatal the injuries or attacks were — many were shot from the back or had their wrists chopped off. The image being laid to the audience is not pleasant and could possibly make someone squirm or feel uncomfortable. Through this, pathos is used once again.

Overall View

Lastly, the author’s article persuaded me that the natives in the Amazon are in great danger, and they’re very vulnerable because no protection is given and they’re undervalued often. The article’s purpose and message kept the reader(s) absorbed as the rhetorical appeals were used well. This article, is a great example of how to use logos without any logical fallacies, pathos without being too emotionally-tied in writing, and appeal better using both logos and pathos successfully.


Works Cited

Barbara, Vanessa. “The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 May 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/05/29/opinion/the-genocide-of-brazils-indians.html?mcubz=3. Accessed 20 Sept. 2017.

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