Rhetorical Analysis of Hidden Intellectualism by Gerald Graff

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1014 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1014|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

In Hidden Intellectualism, from They Say I Say, Gerald Graff makes some very impressive arguments on why we shouldn't overlook people who are 'street smart' as they may have even more intellectual potential than people who are 'book smart'. This is a topic that is not really spoken on due to many people not being informed on the different opinions on this. He uses many rhetorical devices such as tone, organization, diction, and the three modes of persuasion ethos, logos, and pathos to help him get his point across as clear and concise as he can be. By doing this he can also engage the readers to not only view things from his point of view, but to also encourage them to hopefully share and maybe even bring change to what he believes in. 

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Immediately, as I begin to read his writing, I can see that in the first paragraph he begins to quickly establish his position on the argument which will help the reader become more engaged with the conversation. This is a form of organization that helps validate his argument and also help the readers to know what they are going into. This is a very common thing used in articles or opinion-based essays. Many readers do not like to wait until the second or third paragraph to see where this article stands on the view of what they are talking about which is why it encourages them to continue reading out of enjoyment. This can also be used to help smoothly introduce new topics or discussions that he may later want to talk about. After he states his position, he begins to use the three modes of persuasion, ethos, logos, and pathos. 

He begins to talk about stuff from his own personal experience. By doing this he is boosting his own credibility and demonstrating that he clearly knows what he's talking about. He uses ethos which is a tool that can help make many people believe even more in his writing. He later on begins to speak about how students should pursue work on what they are passionate about if they aren't as engaged as they should be with general subjects of study in school. This tool he uses is logos. This can help encourage readers to believe in his writing by stating logical facts that help readers believe in Graff's argument. He then uses pathos to help strengthen his argument by using subjects that the reader would personally identify with. An example of this is when he talked about how he feared a beating from a 'leather jacketed youth'. Many people can relate to this if they have ever been bullied or picked on by other kids at school. These three modes of persuasion could help engage people in his writing and become further invested. It can also make the reader believe that he clearly knows what hes talking about. 

A very important tool he uses is tone. This tool is a very popular one used by many people when writing. It can help incur a reader to read by making them feel more accepted or connected to the reader which helps them believe what they say more. He uses a sarcastic tone in some parts to Connect with the reader more. An example of this is when he was talking about how the George Orwell writing on postcards is more substantial than the cognitions of many professors on Shakespeare or globalization. He is clearly using a sarcastic tone to not only connect with the reader, but to also make a joke about the way schooling systems are built. Another tone he uses is an Intimate and formal tone when he begins to talk about how students should be encouraged to study on subjects that interest them rather than the ones that interest us. Its intimate because it could be something that the reader has personally gone through, and its formal because of the use of words he used and the way he used them. 

Graff uses specific diction to help further strengthen his writing. By using specific words and placing them accordingly, he can make the reader believe he is very intellectual even though he may not be. Many readers will immediately believe a writer if what they say sounds smart. Even if the writer may not know much about what they are talking about, by using certain words or phrases and placing them specifically in his writing, it’ll make them seem like they know much more about the topic than you do. an example of this is on page 437 paragraph 3 when he begins to talk about his adolescence and many famous musicians and people in general. By using words such as ambivalent, it can make many average readers believe he knows what he’s talking about. 

Another tool that Graff talks about is the purpose of his text. By doing this it tends to encourage the reader to continue reading because they are not being tricked on what they are reading. His purpose of his text is to question the validity of the education systems in general. He claims that students could still develop intellectually without having to read standardize texts such as Plato or Shakespeare to help stimulate their brain. Though this is not proven, it does establish the purpose of his argument and what he believes in. Many people do not believe that stating the purpose of your text is important, as it becomes found throughout the writing, but I believe that it is a very important step you have to take if you want reader to fully engage in your content. 

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Graff uses many different types of Rhetorical devices including tone, organization, diction, and the three modes of persuasion ethos, logos, and pathos. Using all of these rhetorical devices could almost guarantee that many readers would believe him and support him in his cause. By doing this he helps encourage the readers to believe in his writing and continue to read his other writings and hopefully change their minds into a more insightful view of what this world could be. 

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Rhetorical Analysis Of Hidden Intellectualism By Gerald Graff. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“Rhetorical Analysis Of Hidden Intellectualism By Gerald Graff.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Rhetorical Analysis Of Hidden Intellectualism By Gerald Graff. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
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