The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 750 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 750|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Rhetorical Appeals
  2. Tone and Style
  3. Argumentative Strategies
  4. Conclusion

Infectious diseases have had a significant impact on human societies, shaping the course of events and influencing the development of public health policies. The Great Influenza, also known as the Spanish flu, was a devastating global pandemic that occurred in 1918 and 1919, infecting an estimated one-third of the world's population and causing millions of deaths. In his book "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History," author John M. Barry provides a comprehensive account of the pandemic, delving into the scientific, social, and political aspects of the crisis. This essay aims to conduct a rhetorical analysis of Barry's book, examining the author's use of language, tone, and argumentative strategies to convey his message and persuade the audience.

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Rhetorical Appeals

Barry employs a combination of rhetorical appeals, including ethos, pathos, and logos, to effectively communicate his ideas and engage the readers. Throughout the book, Barry establishes his credibility as a writer and researcher by providing extensive historical and scientific evidence to support his arguments. He draws on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including medical records, personal accounts, and scholarly articles, to present a thorough and well-documented analysis of the pandemic. By grounding his claims in empirical data and expert opinions, Barry enhances the credibility of his narrative and positions himself as a trustworthy authority on the subject.

In addition to ethos, Barry appeals to the readers' emotions, particularly their sense of fear and empathy, to convey the severity and human impact of the influenza pandemic. He vividly describes the harrowing experiences of individuals and communities affected by the disease, evoking a deep emotional response from the audience. By personalizing the stories of those who suffered and perished during the pandemic, Barry effectively communicates the human toll of the crisis and elicits a strong emotional connection with the readers.

Furthermore, Barry incorporates logical reasoning and evidence-based arguments to support his central thesis regarding the societal and scientific responses to the influenza pandemic. He presents a detailed analysis of the public health measures, medical interventions, and governmental policies implemented during the crisis, drawing on scientific principles and historical precedents to underscore the significance of these measures. Through the use of logical appeals, Barry constructs a compelling and persuasive argument for the importance of effective disease control and preparedness in mitigating the impact of future pandemics.

Tone and Style

Barry's tone throughout the book is characterized by a balanced combination of gravitas and urgency, reflecting the gravity of the pandemic while also conveying a sense of proactive determination. His language is precise and evocative, effectively conveying the scientific and medical complexities of the influenza virus while maintaining accessibility for a general audience. Barry's writing style is marked by a narrative approach, weaving together historical accounts, scientific explanations, and personal anecdotes to create a rich and engaging portrayal of the pandemic. His use of descriptive language and detailed storytelling serves to immerse the readers in the experience of the crisis, fostering a deeper understanding of its impact and implications.

Argumentative Strategies

Barry employs several argumentative strategies to advance his central thesis and persuade the audience of the significance of the influenza pandemic. He utilizes the technique of juxtaposition, contrasting the scientific advancements of the early 20th century with the devastating consequences of the pandemic, to underscore the urgent need for effective disease control measures. By highlighting the stark disparity between medical progress and public health preparedness, Barry effectively emphasizes the critical importance of proactive intervention in addressing global health crises.

Additionally, Barry employs the strategy of analogy, drawing parallels between the Spanish flu and contemporary infectious diseases to underscore the enduring relevance of the pandemic's lessons. He emphasizes the interconnectedness of global health and the potential for future pandemics to pose similar challenges, thereby compelling the audience to consider the ongoing significance of the influenza pandemic in shaping public health policies and responses.

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In "The Great Influenza," John M. Barry delivers a compelling and persuasive rhetorical analysis of the 1918 pandemic, employing a combination of ethos, pathos, and logos to engage the readers and convey the significance of the crisis. Through his meticulous research, evocative storytelling, and effective argumentative strategies, Barry effectively communicates the human impact of the pandemic while advocating for greater preparedness and vigilance in addressing global health challenges. His book serves as a powerful testament to the enduring relevance of the influenza pandemic and the lessons it holds for current and future generations.

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Cite this Essay

The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
“The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jun. 2024].
The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jun 19]. Available from:
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