Rhetorical Analysis Of Lewinsky's Speech

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Evidence + Argument Lewinsky uses a diverse mix of ethos, logos and pathos to make her persuasive point that we cannot sit idly by when cyberbullying occurs right in front of us. Ethos, as discussed in the previous section, is a speaker’s credibility. Ethos is not something automatic, it must be established and actively cultivated by the presenter (Keith & Lundberg 39). Logos and pathos are evidence and emotional appeals, respectively, and form the core of the speech’s content (Beebe & Beebe 203). The personal narratives that Lewinsky weaves are able to effectively connect with both of those core concepts, especially as she defines exactly what the consequences were. She begins one story, saying, in 1998 “I lost almost everything – and I almost…show more content…
She tells the story of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old college student who was secretly filmed kissing another man. Overcome with shame, he committed suicide. While Clementi’s tragic story is a stunning narrative on its own, Lewinsky powerfully connects it with her own life. Her breath catches and she pauses. Emotional – choking up – she tells of how Clementi’s story resonated with her mother: She was “reliving a time when she made me shower with the bathroom door open, reliving a time when both my parents thought I would be humiliated to death – literally.” Jay Heinrichs’ book Thank You For Arguing analyzes the effectiveness of pathos-based arguments as emotional appeals. He writes that “... pathos depends on self-control. A persuader who apparently struggles to hold back her emotions will get better results than one who displays her emotions all over the floor of a bank” (Heinrichs 84). This is precisely what Lewinsky does to perfection. Only once during the speech is she moved to such emotion, and it’s when she’s discussing what her mother had to go through and while telling the story of a young man who took his life way too young. To me, this was easily the most powerful moment of the speech. Lewinsky explained that it allowed her to contextualize her experiences and look at the world differently. Similarly, this section of her talk allowed me and the entire audience to look at her in a raw, human form – just as her mother did to her and as she did to young Tyler
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