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Rhetorical Analysis of Documentaries - an Inconvenient Truth and the Diary of Anne Frank

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Kelvin C Washington

Dr. David Floyd

Rhetorical Analysis of Documentaries

October 28, 2013

Rhetorical Analysis of Documentaries

An Inconvenient Truth and the Diary of Anne Frank are arguably two of the most edifying and poignant I ever read and watched and read. These two diaries were exceptional for many reasons but one of those reasons was that they both included rhetorical methods. In this essay, I will be analyzing these rhetorical methods, which are ethos, logos, pathos, visual, language, and ideology, throughout the two documentaries.

An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming using a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate, he has given more than a thousand times. Al Gore is an American politician, activist and humanitarian, who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States, under former President Bill Clinton. Al Gore did the documentary to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide, which he successfully performed by using many rhetorical methods. One of many rhetorical methods Al Gore used was ethos. Ethos is the ethical appeal which means to convince the audience of the author's credibility or character. Al Gore used ethos throughout his documentary because he was a former Senator Vice President who many people would believe. For example, if Barack Obama said the world was coming to an end in 2014, many people would believe him because he is the President of the United States. Another rhetorical method Al Gore used throughout his documentary was logos. Logos is the appeal to logic which means to convince the audience by use of logic or reason. Al Gore used logos throughout his documentary by establishing heaps of evidence. For example, Al Gore used many diagrams and graphs in his documentary, such as the 100 Years of CO2 and Global Warming graph or the Sea-Ice Area graph. Also, Al Gore used pathos in his documentary. Pathos is the emotional appeal which means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions. Al Gore used pathos in his documentary by referring to his personal life as a politician on how he lost the election as President and by informing his audience how many people got killed by global warming. Another rhetorical method that Al Gore used was visuals. Al Gore showed many pictures and diagrams in his documentary on how global warming affected people and the world. For example, Al Gore showed the audience a factory with clouds of smoke arising from it into the air and explained how it facilitated to the spread of global warming. Also, Al Gore used the rhetorical method of language which was very effective in his presentation. Al Gore used language to make his presentation more amusing and entertaining. For example, Al Gore would often make jokes to his audience throughout his essay. As a final point, Al Gore also used ideology, which I think he successfully conveyed to his audience. I believe at the end of all his presentations, the audience knew that the main purpose of his presentation was to save the planet from global warming. However, many people question his ideology because there were rumors that he had vast amounts of carbon dioxide emerging from his home and because many people thought it was a sales pitch for the light bulbs he invested in. Nonetheless, I thought Al Gore's documentary was a success in which he convinced many people to help prevent the spread of global warming throughout the world.

Another documentary which I thought was illustrious was the Diary of Anne Frank. The diary of Anne Frank was a book of writings from the diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Anne Frank was one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the



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