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The Role of Rhetorical Questions in The Documentary 'Salt'

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Knowledge transmission between writers and audience depends on the effective communication and the use of appropriate strategies related to language. The documentary is made by Ben Proudfoot, who is an award-winning filmmaker. He is an entrepreneur and a former magician. His background identifies his interest in exploring the fish and chips business “Salt”. It can be ascertained by the fact that the documentary involves the aspects related to entrepreneurship, a recipe to inspire like a magician and representation of ideas as a director. The report aims to identify the lifecycle of the fish and chip business started by Salt and points that facilitated the empty outlets and low brand recognition. The director made effective use of rhetorical devices to present the case.

The documentary provides a notion of the transition of a successful and well-known business to a less recognized and financially weak business. The director reviewed the passion of Haddon Salt in building the fish and chips empire. His documentary identified how the focus on the integrity of vision and not, the financial aspect led to the replacement of the business by KFC. The vision of Salt was to develop a culture of crackly fish and chips with the right method and proportion of ingredients that contributed to a huge success in the initial stages.

However, the entry of KFC altered the market as they used to the strategies used by Salt very well, but kept into consideration the goal of profits. Hence, they expanded the market by offering customers with fried chicken and related products. The transition facilitated to decline in the Salt business. The directors used rhetorical choices to make a strong argument and to get a specific reaction from the audience. The audience of the documentary are the individuals, who have a keen interest in the old-fashioned and traditional taste of fish and chips offered by Salt.

The director used rhetorical choices as a linguistic device. It was done to implement a specific form of sentence structure, music or trend of meanings with an aim to develop a certain response from the target audience. One of the rhetorical choice used by the director is the allusion. Allusion refers to the position to a particular event, place or the individual. The example of this is a position by someone for not getting changed quickly as he is not a Superman.

In this example, Superman is a well-known character that helped to make an argument without explaining the reason in detail. In the same way, the director of the documentary used allusion by referring to his first visit to the main Disneyland Park in Anaheim. The director corroborated that he felt the same level of excitement while entered into the Salt fast-food chain in the mall. Visiting the original Disneyland Park to see the grand vision of the maker was as sensational as stepping into the fast-food chain to have fish and chips.

The result of the choice used by the author has a positive effect on the target audience. Firstly, the impact of the choice is to have a feeling of witnessing the very first theme park, which led to the foundation of a new marketing technique. The author communicated to the audience that originality is linked to cultural identity. The choice made by the director helped him to identify the joy of having lunch from the 70s best fast-food chain, which started the trend of fried fish and chips. The feeling could not have been presented by the directors as indicated by the use of allusion. The implementation of allusion created an awe element in presenting the true joy and the feeling of the director in relation to visiting the fast-food chain.

The director uses rhetorical questions in the documentary with an aim to make an argument. The questions were developed without any expectation of having an answer. Another purpose to pose the questions was to motivate the target audience to take the questions as the message or the perspective. It is because of the fact that an effectively crafted question can persuade the audience. The audience believes in the position taken by the speaker. This was exactly done by the director of the documentary.

The rhetorical question choice used by the director can be ascertained by the following questions asked by him. He asked the questions, such as “What point is more important to be successful, the integrity of vision or the success based on financial stability?” Is the scale important and bigger always better?” What is the main difference between Colonel Sanders and Haddon Salt?” Moreover, he asked the questions like “are founders should be the ones who need to venerate” and “from where he can get good fish and chips in these days?” These questions can be understood in a way that the directors tried to inform the audience about the steps that should be taken by Salt for success. The business needs to choose strategies that could offer financial advantage and help the business to sustain in the market, the way KFC did. They improved the product line with time. Further, Salt must work on the expansion of the business, but the quality to be successful in the fast-food business. Also, it is imperative for the business to bring new ideas to be integrated with the founder’s original concept.

The director asked a number of questions at the end of the documentary as part of the argument he wanted to represent. His argument was that the integrity of vision was significant as it led to ultimate success and financial stability. The fast-food chain of Salt was empty and the fish and chips he ordered were not good. In the documentary, Mr. Salt stated that success depends only when the right method would be used. It means at the current time, the method is not right in making fish and chips and roots are not followed. Moreover, unlike, KFC, marketing needs and innovation are not part of Salt’s business now. Further, the director’s argument is that bigger is not always better. It is not imperative that scale should be larger, but the critical point is the taste and the right way.

The utilization of the rhetorical question by the director is effective because the questions efficiently identified his point of views. In the case of a rhetorical question, the condition of answering is not implied. In the same way, the director did not ask for the answer. However, the questions enabled him to highlight the information, the audience does know. The usage of rhetorical question is more tempting, rather than risky because director implemented it correctly to make an audience pause for the concept. In other words, the questions have driven the perspective of the director home with gusto. But, one limitation is that the director overused the rhetorical question. This slightly weakens the effectiveness of the choice as they will not be effective when the director would truly need to use the choice in making his point. Therefore, rhetorical questions should only be used to make clear the crucial points only.

The paper was about the king of fish and chips, Salt who lost the value it had. The documentary by Proudfoot offers an insight into the situation with the implementation of rhetorical choices to make arguments. It can be concluded from the above discussion that rhetorical choices enable the writers to communicate their ideas to an audience using key devices in an effective manner. Rhetorical choices have opportunities and risk on an individual basis. Hence, they should be implemented by the writers according to the perspectives and the overall advantage in communicating with the audience efficiently.

Accordingly, the illusion was practiced by the director to show his feeling of mesmerizing. He used Disneyland Park example to indicate his unimaginative feeling that communicated with the audience well. But, on the other hand, he overused the rhetorical questions that decreased their effectiveness. Thus, rhetorical choices should be made carefully as unfit choices could make the argument vague instead of clarifying. The topic in future should be explored using other effective choices that align with the perspectives made by the writer. It can be aligned with the metaphors to explain the situation, such as buying fish and chips from Salt is just like buying lemons. Lemon is not a worthy thing to buy, so the director could indicate that buying two pieces of fish and chips with an expectation of taste and joy was similar to buying lemons. It will identify the no value of money in buying fish and chips from salt nowadays. In addition, instead of using the rhetorical question, the drastic situation of the fast-food chain can be linked to the fact that the outlet needs to focus on present needs. As a manager of the Salt, it is critical to awaken the senses. It means similar to KFC, Salt must focus on the present and future needs of the consumers.   

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The Role of Rhetorical Questions in the Documentary ‘Salt’. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from
“The Role of Rhetorical Questions in the Documentary ‘Salt’.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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