Professor Zapoluch English 201: Rhetorical Analysis Draft 1 Sunday September 15, 2013 Changing the Streets Have you ever traveled to a big city such as New York City, Chicago or L. A? As you’re walking down the street, completely captivated by the skyscrapers and chaos of the city, did you notice the man on the corner with sign saying “Homeless. Need money’? More importantly, did you notice the child sitting on the same bench for the three days you were in the city?
In the November 2007 edition of the USA Today Magazine, the famous singer/songwriter Jewel Kilcher wrote an article titled “Street Life is No Life for Children”. The article explains the increase in youth homelessness and as a former victim of youth homelessness, Kilcher gives her personal testimony of the hard times she faced on the streets at the young age of fifteen. She accurately explains that our current attitude today is for, “many people Jump to easy–but wrong–conclusions” (Kilcher par. 2) about children they see on the streets.
Kilcher’s main goal is to inform us about youth homelessness and how it is becoming more common in our society. Kilcher effectively uses imagery to describe scenarios of homeless children on the streets, authority to gain trust from the reader, and point of iew to establish credibility in her article. By using these three rhetorical devices she informs us that youth homelessness is more than Just the stereotypical idea of poverty, drugs, or a bad home life, but rather, a tragic time when a child feels safer and more at home on the streets than in their own home.
She also shares with us how we can make a difference for the future of our youth. Kilcher effectively begins her argument by appealing to pathos of the reader with the use of imagery or visualization through description. The author appeals to the emotional feelings of the audience by targeting the hardships that some children in his world go through. Kilcher helps paint an image for us by saying, “Left to fend for themselves, children as young as 11 years old confront such nightmarish scenarios as human trafficking and drug use, often with little understanding or sympathy from the general public. (Kilcher par. 1) This statement makes any audience member feel ashamed for not being more aware of the situation at hand. She describes that “when walking by a teenage girl sitting on a bench” people usually “assume that she is probably Just some punk kid who ditched school and is hanging around waiting for her friends” (Kilcher par. 2). This helps to present the point that Kilcher is trying to make: people are too busy caught up in stereotypes to think there could be more to the story, rather than Just a child skipping school.
Children are so innocent and helpless that when their potential lifestyle is portrayed in this light, readers cannot help but feel sympathy. Any reader would have empathy for an 11 year old child having to live on the street. When you think about the idea of a child on the street even more in depth, you realize the homeless child also would not have food for of a troubled child into perspective for the readers in the beginning of her article ith her vivid diction, such as “nightmarish” and “crisis”.
The reader recalls on the feeling of being a child and waking up from a nightmare, terrified, running to their parents room. The children in Kilcher’s examples are living their nightmares. To appeal to the readers, Kilcher uses these words to allow the reader to recall upon these emotional fears in hopes the reader will empathize more for the children living on the streets. She furthers the imagery with the idea of children being exposed to prostitution and drugs and how coming across these things for an adult can be scary, ut for a child it can be nightmarish.
Kilcher creates a scene in the readers mind and the scene immediately draws to the feeling of empathy for the children on the street. Kilcher’s use of imagery is effective because she wants to inform the reader about youth homelessness and make the reader want to take action against it. By creating scenarios for the reader to envision, Kilcher immediately appeals to the emotions of the reader and makes the reader want to help stop youth homelessness from occurring. But to do that, the reader must first learn more about the situation and his is when Kilcher’s effective methods make the reader want to read more about the issue.
Because the article is written in her point of view, Kilcher immediately has credibility because she can base her argument on a personal experience and thus helping support her authority in her argument. It also creates a bigger argument because her facts cannot be questioned because they are her own and have been seen through her own eyes. Reading an article from first person point of view, like this one, it is human nature to believe the story even without credible statistics. Kilcher uses first person point of view successfully because she does incorporates credible statistics with her personal story.
Her story helps inform the reader more about youth homelessness and appeals to the logos of the reader. People relate to statistics and can grasp a concept more holistically when given numbers. She immediately shares that more than 1,000,000 kids in the U. S. call the streets their home (Kilcher par. l). However, more than that, Kilcher gives her personal testimony about living on the streets and it allows the reader to be more apt to believing the dea of other children living on the street. It increases her credibility in her article. The statistics are placed strategically throughout the article.
In her moments of personal evidence she uses a statistic to help validate her personal claim. For example, after describing her personal encounter with youth homelessness, Kilcher validates that youth homelessness is a serious issue by giving that statistics that “Some researchers estimate that up to 1,600,000 youth experience homelessness each year. ” (Kilcher par. 7) The reader now knows that Kilchers’ story is not ‘one of a kind’ so to speak. Yes, her rise to fame from poverty is unique, however, her encounter with homelessness is not as unique as readers may imagine.
Kilcher uses these statistics as confirmation for the reader. Kilcher is a famous singer and having that type of spotlight in society provides authority in her writing. Her authority is the most pivotal aspect in her article. However, she holds positions of authority in more than one way in her story. She explains how she is the first U. S. Ambassador of Virgin Unite, which is an organization to help increase the charitable voice and efforts. With has experienced the hardships she is describing. In her article, Kilcher is under the assumption that many people are not aware of the issue of youth homelessness.
We know this because she states miouth homelessness is a complex issue that often is overlooked in the U. S” (Kilcher par. l). So, she effectively explains every aspect of youth homelessness by giving statistics, personal testimonies, and organizations to help the cause. Her purpose is to inform the reader about this issue and because she does not think many people are aware of what is taking place on the streets and in the lives of the youth, she has to explain its complexity. The only way to explain its complexity is by explaining the situation in all different aspects, which Kilcher effectively does.
To add more authority to her article, Kilcher closes her article by explaining the many organizations and groups that help with youth homelessness. She shares the organizations that are most prominent. Kilcher effectively shares these organizations because she shares that even if an organization is not in your local hometown, then you can become involved online. This is a way of creating a “no excuses” argument for the reader because with society today and our dependence on echnology, Kilcher knows that a computer is easily accessible.
This means that anyone should be able to help by simply finding a computer. Kilcher is now an advocate for youth homelessness and has taken action in many ways to help decrease the number of children on the streets and out of homes. By appealing to both the ethos and logos of the reader, Kilcher presents a more valid argument and her audience is more effectively informed about youth homelessness. Not only is she reaching out to the members of society that are financially stable enough to help ake a difference but to everyone who is willing to donate their time and efforts.
She states that “each person can make a difference” (Kilcher par. 12). She effectively informs us about youth homelessness throughout her article because she successfully describes scenarios for us to reflect on and presents herself as an authority making us feel obligated to help these children. In her final paragraph, Kilcher makes us feel like it is our responsibility as citizens to help the children and not overlook the ugly truth of youth homelessness. Works cited Kilcher, Jewel. “Street Life Is No Life for Children. ” USA Today Magazine NOV. 2007