Rhetorical Analysis Of Bill Bysson's How You Became You

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Bill Bryson’s essay “How You Became You” gives a brief yet entertaining narrative of the unlikeliness of the creation of the human race in order to educate the common man on the miracle of life. The rhetorical strategies used within the essay successfully allow the purpose of this piece to become accessible to the general public. Bryson seamlessly interweaves elements of tone, diction, and rhetorical appeals to ultimately create a piece that successfully achieves his purpose and leaves a lasting impact on the audience, the general populace.
The tone of “How You Became You” plays an important role in the effectiveness of the essay. The tone is informal yet is not lacking authority. On the contrary, the tone actually gives more credibility to
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Diction varies between text as a children’s novel will have less advanced word choice than an academic paper. In Bill Bryson’s “How You Became You”, the diction plays a major role in advancing the purpose. The usage of words in this essay is very important as the author need to find a fine balance between alienating the audience through complex words and phrases and completely losing all credibility by sounding too lax and ignorant. Bryson skillfully maneuvers through both extremes and is able to entertain the audience while sounding knowledgable. Once again, we can look to the beginning of the essay for an example of Bryson’s diction. “To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once”. This passage clearly demonstrates the skillful choice of words. None of these words are particularly difficult yet at the same time they give off an air of knowledge. The words “intricate”, “intriguingly”, and “specialized” really help to show how the diction of a sentence really affects the manner in which the audience receives it. These words are understandable by most but allows the audience to feel the enthusiasm and respect Bryson has for this topic. Bryson’s specific choice of words, along with his…show more content…
Logos, literally meaning “to reason”, appeals to the reader’s sense of logic or reasoning, pathos appeals to an audience’s sense of emotion, and ethos appeals to a reader’s sense of ethics or credibility. In “How You Became You” by Bill Bryson, the author successfully incorporates all three of these appeals to form a sound argument. In regards to logos, Bryson doesn’t have much statistical evidence. However, despite the fact that he cites nothing, his chain of logic is simple enough for anyone to follow. For example, we can refer to the passage “The average species on Earth lasts for only about 4 million years, so if you wish to be around for billions of years, you must be as fickle as the atoms that made you. You must be prepared to change everything about yourself - shape, size, color, species affiliation, everything - and to do so repeatedly. That’s much easier said than done, because the process of change is random”. This passage is an excellent demonstration of logos as even though there is not evidence, the logic is enough to justify the claim. Anyone can follow allow the reasoning, therefore showing that the logos is effective. Bryson also appeals to pathos, or a reader’s sense of emotion, Generally, appealing to pathos involves something sad or disturbing to get a reaction. However, Bryson’s use of pathos is to excite and entertain the audience. “To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of
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