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Nicholas G. Carr has written an abundance of articles about technology. Some of his work includes: Does It Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage, and The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google. One of Carr’s achievements, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” smoothly persuades the reader to believe that the Internet is taking over the human mind. The article’s title brings a tough question to mind for readers. By using a familiar movie scene and arguments embedded with relatable analogies, imagery and metaphors; Carr casually and acceptably leads his audience to a reasonable answer. At the very beginning, Carr uses pathos to make us feel like we are more connected to his argument, and not just at a casual level. He also uses the unsettling scene of the computer to make us concerned and/or uncomfortable. This is so the readers will realize that what he is saying is important and that it needs to be changed. The scene is also a form of foreshadowing into the seriousness of what he is going to talk about.Carr’s careful use of pathos simplify the audience’s sympathy for his drifting concentration, fidgety habits, and struggle while brightening up their persuasion with images like tripping over hyperlinks and jet skiing over a sea of words. Ethos is appealed to not only in the narrator’s self-consciousness, but the comparison in condition he has to related bloggers and personal scholastic contacts.
A simple yes to the article title, finishes with a call for a more absolute picture of how the Internet use affects thought. For this, Carr relies on the logos of scientific research. Carr also uses evidence from a various scientific studies to prove the change in reading patterns among people. Instead of poring through pages and pages of text to see if anything of use is present, users research sites power browse and skim through titles and selects to look for information that seems as if it might be important. Carr makes use of this indication to show that although people have the opportunity to read through long texts to research properly, they are more likely to skim through texts, which may be obvious of a short attention span. In Carr’s description of the Internet, he explains why it is affecting humans. He leaves the technology as a virus that absorbs our commands, injects information into us, and then scatters and spreads our concentration. However, before labeling the Internet as a human made pest that has gone wild, Carr makes one last appeal to ethos by stating possible benefits of this rapidly capable means of statement as well as his own faults of being a worrywart.
Carr also uses personification frequently when talking about the Internet. He simply calls it “the Net” and describes the things it can do, like “reprogramming us” and influencing our minds. This makes the Internet seem like a bigger threat to his readers. Carr uses imagery and metaphors at the end of the second paragraph on page 962 by comparing our mind to either a scuba diver or a jet skier. This makes his argument more applicable and easier to understand for his readers. He frequently quotes professional writers or professors and prominent universities to show that he really know what he’s talking about.Carr also uses a quote from Maryanne Wolf to show that the way people now read and think have changed. Wolf states that the importance placed on productivity may be weakening the greater value of considering and making connections while reading. Through such use of support, Carr again attempts to prove his argument to the audience, this way in a manner that outfits logos.
Carr uses the anecdotes of Bruce Friedman and Scott Karp to appeal the reader’s emotions through the use of pathos. Karp admits to having stopped reading books, and although that does not seem strange at the least considering how few people read books frequently on a daily or weekly basis nowadays, it is unusual in that Karp had been a Literature major while in college. Karp suggests that his lack of desire to read may have occurred because the way he thinks has changed, which is significant to Carr’s argument. Carr uses this anecdote to evoke disbelief and skepticism in the reader. Although there is an abundant use of both pathos and logos in the article, there is barely any ethos presented in the article at all. The slightest bit of ethos presented to the readers is when Carr represents his own experience to the audience.
Carr also often tends to present material in his article that seems as if his claims are backed by his own results. He further hurts the ethos in his essay by relying so heavily on his own experience as the circumstances as the average experience by every day people.Of the three rhetorical devices, ethos is the most crucial to an argument. If the author of an article does not provide decent amount of ethos in his article, readers will not be able to distinguish if the article is of value or whether the ideas presented have any substance. Although Carr provides numerous examples of pathos and logos in his article, without a strong support of ethos, the argument of the article seemingly has little actual worth.
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