Thick Description Image

  • It is a black and white photo.
  • There is a women with her hair pulled back, she is wearing a t-shirt, her head is angled backwards over a shoulder.
  • She is in a room with objects on the wall and shelves.
  • These objects are mugs and signs.
  • There is a silver cup dispenser with white cups.
  • There is a sign that says “Rate Schedule” and below it is a list of words with numbers next to them like “ANSWERS………$1.00.”
  • There are multiple mugs on a shelf above the women’s head . They have different images and wording displayed on them.
  • A sign posted on the wall has a depiction of a stripped animal with a written description below like ‘THIS IS NOT ()URGER KING.”
  • A sign hangs that states “Good Coffee” with a cartoon mug next to it.
  • Above the left of the women’s head is a sign that says “89 B.”
  • On the shelf that is above the women’s head is a pot that says “Ashes of Problem Customers.”

    Flickr. “Look at the “Rate Schedule” Sign, last line!”

Toulmin’s Argumentation Model: Letter Analysis

The first component that is easiest to determine in this letter is the argument’s claim which is revealed in the statement “your ER, is a culture toxic to the notion of “excellent care” (Arrington).

The next component is data. After our class discussion, I think I first need to determine what “data” is. If data is the accumulation of different people’s agreement, this letter would not contain “data.” But I also believe that because this letter still reveals the accumulation of multiple poor experiences with the hospital it should be classified as “evidence” instead. Therefore, there is no suggestion that there were multiple survey cards or feedback collected just by using the word “data.”  The evidence of the letter is the multiple returning trips back to the hospital.  Every time Mrs. A and her father returned to the hospital signaled that the hospital failed to do its job during their previous trip.

Because the evidence or “data” portion of the argument is not plainly illustrated, I don’t believe there is a warrant portion of this argument either. Instead the letter offers numerous backings and while they may be personal accounts, they still offer vital evidence for this specific argument. There are many backings that can include everything from the experience of conversing with a “curt” or “rude” front desk employee to the catty nurses discussing about patients inappropriately in public. Even more so, the general accounts of the  hospital’s failure in “looking after” someone’s health provides a strong backing to the claim. For instance, the simple procedure of checking bathroom habits after a surgery is one even I am aware of, and I am not a nurse or have I had surgery. It’s incredible that a hospital staff could forget, or even worse, neglect such a simple but vital procedure. These are all convincing backings to support the claim that North hospital does not have excellent service.

The rebuttal can be found towards the closing of the letter in order to address any anticipated return arguments. For example, lines like “I’m no expert of course and cannot offer recommendations for how to address the problems that led to my father’s specific misdiagnosis” and “the nature of medicine, particularly in the ER, is a matter of guesswork, very educated guesswork” offer the other side to the argument which conveys that the arguer can look at both sides rationally further strengthening her overall argument (Arrington). In addition, she immediately readdresses why the hospital’s poor behavior and service should still not be excused: “But I would like to suggest to you that the problems extend beyond one nurse or one doctor. Obviously this is true; my father’s multiple trips to the ER…in the care of different nurses and doctors there” (Arrington). This again, restrengthens her argument.

Finally, the letter uses the modal component of Toulin’s model with strong expressive language like, “obviously,”  and “absolutely” which reinforce the evidence’s connection to the argument’s claim.

While the letter may not incorporate each individual component of the Toulin’s model specifically, it uses a variation of them all and still successfully develops an argument with support.

Websites as Persuasive Acts

Canine Companions for Independence

The website I chose was the home site for the organization Canine Companions for Independence. This website is very persuasive because it uses a variety of tactics that evoke strong emotions from website visitors and in return can lead to more donations and volunteers.

The first noticeable tactic that the website uses is imagery.

One aspect of the imagery is the colors chosen. The organization’s theme colors are blue and yellow, both of which, are colors that people generally have positive feelings towards. Yellow is a happy, joyful color. It can be warming. Blue is mostly known as a calming color. Each color is complimentary to each other so it is attractive and might draw more attention just because of the logo’s and website’s appeal.

Another aspect is the website’s pictures. On the front page, the website displays multiple pictures. Each picture has a different effect. One picture shows a fundraising event with a range of people and dogs displaying the organization’s community. The picture right next to it is a picture of a puppy. Personally, I love puppies, just like many others, so a picture of a puppy is not only convincing but can make people happy. Finally, the last picture shows one of the service animals in action with his disabled partner showcasing the organization’s responsibility and good work.

Source: Canine Companions for Independence Homepage

Additionally, below each image is a relevant link that asks visitors to volunteer is different ways and to “Donate Now.”

One of the most persuasive elements of this website are the personal stories shared on the “Our stories” page. Reading about real stories of dog’s assisting and making a difference evokes an even stronger emotion to do something. From the stories of facility dogs helping abused children to the personal dogs that become hands and ears for others, the website truly covers what the company stands for.

Source: Canine Companions for Independence “Our Stories” Website Page

By focusing on heartwarming stories and endearing pictures, even logo colors, Canine Companions successfully persuades to their website visitors that their organization is important and life-changing.

Canine Companions for Independence Website Link


Persuasion Theory

Persuasion is something that happens every second. Even that statement is a form of persuasion to those who read it. On a daily basis, I’m subjected to persuasion from advertisements on billboards and television to even school textbooks. A simple argument in my large family involves persuasion. My understanding of persuasion as a whole is that it is a form of communication that serves to convince other people of either buying something or believing something. Persuasion can range from an ad that says “Must buy!” to peer pressure. Like our textbook highlights, persuasion can be considered a type of art. Everyone is susceptible to persuasion at times but no one falls for it every time. Each person has their own beliefs and, sometimes, even the most convincing persuasion cannot sway someone to change their mind. But, other times, the most moving persuasion can change somebody’s mind. And a “moving” persuasion does not necessarily mean persistent and excessive. It could simply mean having all the facts to back it up, or maybe being someone or some company that a person trusts.

The fact is, since persuasion is everywhere and everyone is susceptible to it, it plays an enormous role in the functioning of our society. With this large role comes a responsibility that plays into its relationship with ethics. For one, persuasion shouldn’t be a lie. An example of this is false advertising to receive more sales. Lying to sell a product and earn more profit is immoral. Not only that, but many times people are simply not interested in changing their beliefs. Even more so, some people may go as far as insulting others’ opinions in order to convince someone else of their own beliefs.

As a form of communication, persuasion can be beneficial and detrimental. When used ethically it can be beneficial for both the persuader and the persuaded, but when used unethically it can become a trap that forces another person into something that he or she would not normally want. In the end, it’s best to be aware of the persuasion and to focus on the benefits because it can be something really valuable. Not only does it allow someone to voice their own opinions, but it connects people together and spreads many valuable ideas or beliefs.

Pullman’s Introduction IW

After reading the “Introduction” to George Pullman’s Persuasion,  one section I found particularly interesting was the “Self Awareness” section. Pullman highlights the significance of the rhetorical processes in establishing personal beliefs. I found this to be the most interesting point because I have often found myself believing in things strongly, but not understanding how I got there. In return, when I have tried to argue or persuade these said beliefs to someone else, I can never seem to fully convey why I believe it and why he or she should too. This leads me to feel irrational and, like Pullman states, less “credible.” Similarly, when I can trace the rhetorical processes of my beliefs, I find I am a much stronger persuader and more confident in my beliefs. Additionally, in today’s times with the current onslaught of political messages and media in everyday life, self-awareness becomes even more vital. In a controversially charged society, the importance of self-awareness does not end at one’s own awareness of his or her beliefs but the awareness of persuasion all around. Not everyone who spreads their beliefs understands their rhetorical process. This is especially concerning with those in professional or higher positions who can persuade or argue their beliefs to others daily. That is something that is difficult about persuasion that Pullman also touches on. Persuasion influences everyone and everyone has their own beliefs. It’s something that is impossible to escape which makes awareness of one’s self and awareness of others all the more important.