The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In the passage from The Great Influenza, John M. Barry uses rhetorical strategies like: antithetical ideas, extended metaphors, and diction to characterize scientific research.

In the first paragraph, Barry uses a parallel sentence structure of an antithetical idea when discussing Certainty versus Uncertainty, he uses Certainty versus Uncertainty to intensify the words in the next paragraph. "Certainty creates strength. Certainty gives one something upon which to lean. Uncertainty makes one tentative if not fearful...even when in the right direction, may not overcome significant obstacles" (Barry). By comparing both words, he gives the definition and/or meaning of the words to show that in order to be a scientist you have to have intelligence,
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Barry says, "a shovel can dig up dirt, but cannot penetrate a rock. Would a pick be best, or would dynamite be better- or would dynamite be too indiscriminately destructive?" Barry talks about science as if it was the wilderness. In the wilderness, there are many surprises that can occur at any moment. There are holes that you could step right over, not knowing it may have been the answer or may have been needed. During science you have to expect some theories to go south, or to go wrong. When a theory does not work you have to question your work and began to think of another theory to make sure you do not miss the holes you missed the first time. Barry uses this metaphor to show readers that scientists often question themselves continuously.

Lastly, Barry uses word choice or diction to intensify his message. The passage has many significant words such as creativity, courage, confidence, passion, strength and ambition that could move the reader, or make the reader think and second guess their opinion. Using diction can help with ethos, logos, and pathos. By Barry using diction, he helps escalate and increase the readers emotion.

Barry believes that science can be altered at any moment, that is why he bases science off of uncertainty. Experiments are shaped based off of any one scientist's thoughts, therefor it will constantly change.
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