The Great Influenza Ap Language Analysis

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Nicholas Craft AP Language and Composition Mrs. Fertenbaugh August 24 2015 Certainty is Key In this except from John M. Barry’s book The Great Influenza, the author discusses the challenges of science and the significance of certainty. In the field of science, certainty is important and it is necessary in order to advance. Being uncertain about something when it comes to science can cause a scientist to potentially miss out on an important discovery or fail to accomplish something. John M. Barry illustrates the importance of certainty with syntax, diction, and allegories. The author’s syntax throughout the text shapes the tone of the passage and helps him get his argument across effectively. The way each paragraph is set up is that there…show more content…
The use of words with positive and negative connotation can establish how the text is to be perceived. On lines 2, 3, and 4, Barry writes that “Certainty gives one something upon which to lean. Uncertainty creates weakness.” Using ‘gives’, which has a positive connotation, perceives certainty to have a positive meaning. On the other hand, using the phrase “creates weakness” gives uncertainty a negative connotation as the author intended. This negative connotation does not say that the uncertainty should be taken as a weakness, instead it should be interpreted as something to be embraced so further progress can be made. On lines 14 and 15, Barry calls it the “sharp edge of a single laboratory finding,” which means that large amounts of work and research can be all voided by a single discovery. This should not discourage a scientist though, because science and what is considered fact changes all the time, so the key is to continue to discover new things, even if you’re unsure. Calling the finding a “sharp edge” gives it a negative connotation, because the ‘sharp blade’ cuts through the previous findings and…show more content…
Barry’s use of syntax to effectively state his argument, his use of diction to allow the reader to comprehend the meaning of a phrase, and the allegories to add further emphasis to his main points all are important rhetorical strategies. These strategies don’t just emphasize the important of certainty and how it can benefit the field of science, but they also describe how uncertainty can also impact discoveries and how it can prohibit discoveries from being

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