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Rhetorical Analysis on Cumming and Muggah

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Fia Cumming’s (2000) “Higher fuel tax slows us down; NEWS EXTRA” published by Sun Herald; a Sunday counterpart of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), illustrates the conflict between truck drivers and the dishonesty of the Australian government on the issue of increased excise rates for fuel. Cumming achieves this via applications of rhetorical appeals, predominately logos with statistical data, tone and structure. Likewise, Robert Muggah’s (2019) SMH “Amazon fires: the world’s lungs are filling with smoke” also demonstrates the divided views between the rest of the world and Brazil’s leaders. However, accentuating more on both pathos and ethos appeals, and diction. Ultimately, aiming to construct a persuasive argument for readers to recognise the unreliability of the leadership system in Brazil when dealing with environmental issues that has impacted on living organisms today. Hence, this rhetorical analysis will assess the effectiveness of various techniques and styles used in delivering the message in both articles.

Despite pathos being the least prominent throughout Cumming’s (2000) article, her introduction still managed to successfully create an emotional setting for readers to carry their initial feeling of understanding across. Evidently through the use of emotive language in “those who earn their living on the roads”, which produces an image that evokes sympathy from readers for those whose occupations are truck drivers around Australia. She ends her paper by adding a rhetorical question “Burning question. Why can’t the Federal Government bring down fuel prices?”, where she seeks to stir up the reader’s heated emotion that has been built up over the length of the article, as a desire to persuade them to also protest against the government.

Like Cumming, Muggah’s use of personification in his 2019 article’s title “the world’s lungs are filling with smoke” aims to capture readers’ immediate attention. Through his use of this pathos appeal, it allows readers to also react emotionally and to recognise the importance of the Amazon Rainforest for their survival on earth. Followed by the first line of the article “The fate of the Amazon is intertwined with the fate of the world”, the repetition of ‘fate’ further contributes to the building of the reader’s troubled and bothered feelings, enhancing their desire to alleviate the problem. Thus, both articles have effectively created the right emotional environment for their message to be conveyed.

Furthermore, Cumming (2000) persuasively utilises ethos to strengthen her claim by mentioning authoritative figures. Considering she did not indicate who she is as an author for readers to acknowledge her position on the issue, by paraphrasing and quoting the Prime Minister, John Howard, at the beginning of her article, it adds credibility to her work while also compensates for the absent of trust. By addressing the opposition earlier on, it allows her to finish the paper with a stronger viewpoint and argument, exhibiting a powerful, confident voice. Specifically, through the line “The Prime Minister was also less than honest in claiming that the GST…”, which appeals to countless Australian citizens, especially truck drivers, as an attempt to direct them to continue pressuring the government.

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On the contrary, Muggah (2019) uses his status as being the founder of the Igarape Institute and SecDev Group in a bold font, which enhances the author’s credibility while also maintaining an authoritative voice, establishing a greater level of trust from readers compared to Cumming (2000). Moreover, by mentioning different foreign countries around the world that are against Brazil such as Germany, France and Norway, it asserts dominance and power over Brazil, allowing readers to also instinctively agree with the author’s point of view. Unlike Cumming (2000), Muggah addresses the opposing viewpoint throughout his article while also listing his arguments, this expresses more of modern news where the reader is able to understand from both sides equally. Yet, Muggah still managed to successfully deliver his point and persuade readers.

The majority of Cumming’s (2000) paper is supported with objective factual evidences, appeal to logos, particularly statistical data from “State-Federal GST arrangements”, where she used it as a main tool in reinforcing her point for the remaining two-third of the article. This structure provides an effective lasting impact on readers, which appeals to their intellects until the very end. Evident in “If it proceeds, it will not only give the Government an extra $360 million a year from motorists’ pockets, but…”, where she set a sensitive tone along with the evidence, basing it on logic which makes it harder for readers to ignore the fact that the government is being untruthful about tax rates. While stating these evidences, her sentences are short and concise, making it easier for readers to comprehend information.

Conversely, appeal to logos is the least prominent within Muggah’s (2019) article. The statistics of “40 per cent of the world’s tropical forests, 20 per cent of its fresh water supply, producing 20 per cent of air we breathe.”, is one of the main scientific evidences that was implemented in order to alert the reader of the issue that needs instant adjustments, also linked to the aspect of pathos. Regardless of the absent of factual evidences from sources, Muggah does discuss possible solutions to pressure the Brazil’s president, in condensed paragraphs towards the end of the article. Ultimately, this can either hinder the persuasive aspect of his argument or have the reversed effect, as readers may depend more on the fact that this was published from the SMH, a well-known news source today.

While constructing this rhetorical analysis of both Cumming (2000) and Muggah’s (2019) articles, it was interesting to see a great amount of similarities such as both starting off with pathos to evoke sympathy from readers. There were also differences regarding the chosen rhetorical appeals, the overall writing style, and tone. Through the data base from ProQuest, it made the process of looking for articles notably easier with the input of exact dates and a wide range of publications. Despite one article being on tax rates and the other on environmental issues, both was chosen for their conservative stance with the purpose of comparing their methods of convincing readers to pressure their governments.

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Rhetorical Analysis on Cumming and Muggah. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/rhetorical-analysis-on-cumming-and-muggah/
“Rhetorical Analysis on Cumming and Muggah.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/rhetorical-analysis-on-cumming-and-muggah/
Rhetorical Analysis on Cumming and Muggah. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/rhetorical-analysis-on-cumming-and-muggah/> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2024].
Rhetorical Analysis on Cumming and Muggah [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/rhetorical-analysis-on-cumming-and-muggah/
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