The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In the passage from John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza, Barry makes us of an extended metaphor of scientific research as an unexplored wilderness, a motif of uncertainty, a comprehensible diction and admiring tone, and bookended explanatory paragraphs to characterize scientific research as a courageous pursuit to bring order from chaos. Throughout the piece, Barry develops the metaphor in a fashion which closely parallels the steps of the scientific method, giving the reader a better understanding of the work of scientists. In an effort to promote scientific research to the general public, he focuses on its positive aspects and the character traits of scientists. In order to appeal to a wide audience, Barry uses an extended metaphor to compare the seemingly abstract and unreachable concept of scientific research to the mentally attainable image of pioneers settling a virgin wilderness. Beginning on line 23, by stating that “scientists exist on the frontier” whether it is “one step beyond the known” or “deep into a wilderness region,” Barry conveys that all scientists must confront the unknown, regardless of the extent of their adventurous spirit. Through the paragraphs, the…show more content…
Many people already see scientists as intelligent, but it is not as common to hear that scientists have “passion, patience, creativity, self-sufficiency, and courage.” Popular culture may promote scientists as automaton-like and lacking sentiment, or perhaps as the classic mad scientist, but Barry’s description of scientists shows that they are indeed real people whose work requires a great determination and confidence and extends beyond the realm of pure intellectualism. Using simple, but positive language allows Barry to create empathy in the reader for the scientist, but perhaps more importantly, to convey his message to a broad
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