Rhetorical Analysis: Syrian Refugees (Post 2)

Rhetorical analysis of “New Dangers Stalk Children Still Haunted by Horrors under ISIS” by Somini Sengupta and Hwaida Saad published on the New York Times.



The New York Times article “New Dangers Stalk Children Still Haunted by Horrors under ISIS” published on July 31, 2017, by Somini Sengupta and Hwaida Saad depict the horrors that Syrian refugee children endure when they’re stuck in their hometowns. The article explains the horrors that children must face currently by the ruling of ISIS in Syria, and how ISIS and other “umbrella groups” are brainwashing children to make them violent and radical and feel powerful enough to carry out crimes such as suicide attacks. Likewise, Sengupta and Saad state that ISIS has closed schools and painted them black as well as how desperately Syrians need food.

Furthermore, I believe Sengupta and Saad’s main point is to inform us of the ways that ISIS is terrorizing innocent refugee families who are stuck living in unbearable conditions; we must help them overcome this oppression. ISIS has been terrorizing and brainwashing Syrians in order to turn them into radicalists since these civilians no longer have a government to protect them. President Trump’s travel ban isn’t doing anything to help these oppressed refugees.Sengupta and Saad establish their point through various rhetorical strategies such as the use of ethos and pathos. These rhetorical strategies are used mostly in this article to give the audience a clear image of the horrors that Syrian refugees must endure everyday. Also, rhetorical strategies are employed in order for readers to feel empathy for the refugees and encourage us to do something about their situation and as best as we can such as protesting Trump’s travel ban which is closing doors in the faces of many refugees seeking a better life.


Use of ethos

Throughout the article there are various uses of ethos, which is persuading the audience through an appeal to ethics. Sengupta and Saad employ ethos in order to persuade the audience that babies are not developing normally, “‘A child under 2 years is the most difficult child to examine,’ said the doctor, Rajia Sharhan, who works with Unicef. ‘A child starts to fight with their arms, legs, even cries. This is normal.’” (Songupta and Saad) The authors are trying to convince us that babies are not growing and developing normally by including the analysis of a doctor. Including a doctor’s perspective is an appeal to ethos because it causes the audience to be convinced that the information is logical and reliable. Doctors go through many years of school in order to treat people’s health, and people trust doctors. Including the a doctor’s perspective gives credibility to the information, therefore convincing the audience.

Use of Pathos

Likewise, Sengupta and Saad confirm the difficult conditions of life under ISIS rule through their use of pathos, “Mahmoud, a Raqqa resident who fled a year ago, said friends told him that food was so scarce that they saved it for their children and pretended to chew at meal times, to fool them.” (Sengupta and Saad) Including the scarcity of food causes the audience to be convinced that trapped Syrians need to get out of there as soon as possible. The sad tone, sad word-choice, and the emotional image of parents pretending to eat affects the audience’s emotional responose. Some may cry when reading this, I know I did. Readers will feel sympathy and sorrow for the refugees that have barely any food to eat, therefore; this appeal is categorized under pathos.

Overall Effect

Overall, the effects of the rhetorical appeals help convince the audience of how bad the conditions are for Syrians under the ruling of ISIS and how we must do something about these conditions. ISIS is ruining the futures of many innocent children who don’t know better. The rhetorical appeals help justify the authors’ claim of unbearable situations in Syria and how we must do something about the issue, and the least we can do is allow them to start new lives in our country where they can have a safe home, food, and normal childhood.


Saad, Somini Sengupta And Hwaida. “New Dangers Stalk Syrian Children Still Haunted by Horrors Under ISIS.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 July 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/world/middleeast/syria-raqqa-children-islamic-state-isis.html.

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