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Rhetorical Analysis of Farm Girl by Jessica Hemaur - Essay Example

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Rhetorical Analysis of Farm Girl by Jessica Hemaur

Traditionally conceived as a way of letting the reader know the author’s qualifications in order to engender trust in the author’s conclusions, ethos is a means of presenting one’s qualifications through narrative. Writing to a general audience that likely has not shared her specific farm experience, Hemaur must connect through common emotional reactions. Hemaur makes use of this appeal through a number of examples. First, she describes in solid detail the daily life of the farm experience. She tells of how her brother Nick would sometimes take the lead in organizing the most physical of the chores assigned to the four children in the Hemaur family, due to his age and strength, thereby immediately establishing her role not as leader of the group but as an individual who knows her role. She also enumerates how she, along with her sisters, would sanitize the milk pails and consult the charts for milk production as they went about their chores of milking the cows on her family’s dairy farm (pp. 83-84). This use of detail lets the reader know that the family farm was a serious operation. Because their farm was both a business and lifestyle, the author suggests that the family had to do their work properly and in ways that were commercially viable. This lets the reader know that she knows what she is talking about, even as she was a child while performing the chores. In fact, she later tells how her father expanded the family business due to the success they had achieved (p. 86), suggesting

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that they were a properly accredited and commercially successful farm. Second, the author ties this experience to her personal life, by describing how the experience made her more mature than others around her and different in quality and kind from her fellow classmates. By having described her role in the family farm as both responsible for certain chores, such as taking care of the younger calves (p. 84), and a good subordinate who was both willing to work for the family and willing to take her rightful place, the author presents herself as humble even as she blows her own horn. Hemaur use pathos, a rhetorical strategy designed to appeal to emotional connections with the reader, through the use of concrete details. She admits that she initially hated getting out of her warm bed very early in the morning to go out into the bitter cold (p. 83). She tells how the rancid smell of the cows filled her basement as the children went downstairs to dress for work, but other smells, like the smell of a home-cooked breakfast, were warm and inviting to the family (p. 84). She describes the cutting cold of the wind and tells how the snow on the ground and the chill in the air made them move quickly through their chores. These uses of sensory-driven details and honest assessments of their impacts evoke in the reader a connection to the author. Her use of pathos early in the story leads to an understanding of how the author gains the kind of experience that allows her to boast later of her maturity. By having worked through the difficulties of farm life, the author suggests, she was deserving of the kinds of applause she gets later from teachers and employers. In fact, she admits that she wasn’
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Summary

In her essay, “Farm Girl,” Jessica Hemaur uses the traditional rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos to great effect in order to relay the trials and triumphs of growing up on a farm. By building her argument that farm life develops character and responsibility while simultaneously calling on a person to go beyond the normal lifestyle expectations of youth, the author presents an engaging account of how, sometimes despite herself, she came to appreciate the experiences she had while growing up on a farm…
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