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Analysis of Op-Ed article November 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 1:09 am


The article that I chose to write about is by Nicholas Kristof entitled “His Libraries, 12,000 So Far, Change Lives.” To give a brief summary, in this article Kristof discusess John Wood’s charity “Room to Read.” Wood had worked for years at Microsoft until one day he came across a school in Nepal which had no books. He quickly realized how desperately books were needed and how something so inexpensive and simple could truly change lives. His charity focuses on the importance of reading and education to success and growth.

One of the major rhetorical devices that Kristof employs is logos. Kristof uses specific statistics and facts in order to strengthen his argument. One such example states, “Room to Read is one of America’s fastest-growing charities and is now opening new libraries at an astonishing clip of six a day. In contrast, McDonald’s opens one new outlet every 1.08 days.” This statistic gives the strength of Wood’s charity some perspective. However, Kristof does not simply throw out a statistic, he provides a comparision in order to further emphasize the success of Room to Read. What is important to remember is that by giving a statistic or number some meaning, Kristof is making it more relatable and logical for the audience to understand.

Kristof also uses pathos in his argument. Pathos and logos work seamlessly together to demonstrate Kristof’s argument thoughtfully. One example of pathos is when Kristof states, “In a remote nook of the Mekong Delta, reachable only by boat, I met one of these girls, a 10th grader named Le Thi My Duyen. Her family, displaced by flooding, lives in a shabby tent on a dike. When Duyen was in seventh grade, she dropped out of school to help her family out. ‘I thought education was not so necessary for girls,’ Duyen recalled.” Kristof brings his argument into the lense of one specific girl who benefitted from this charity. By making his argument more relatable and by playing to the emotions of the audience, Kristof is successful. As the reader makes his way through the article his emotions are felt because of the inspirational work of Wood. However, it is not until Kristof gives us this picture of this young girl and how much adversity she faced, that this charity becomes immediate or emotional.



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