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Rhetorical Analysis

1002 words - 5 pages

In "The Ways We Lie," by Stephanie Ericsson, the author depicts the
many ways people lie and the consequences for doing so. Ericsson defines a lie as “a false
statement or action especially made with the intent to deceive.” She then continues to
characterize lying into ten different categories. These range from the harmless “White Lie” to the
dangerous lie “Delusion” in which we lie to ourselves. Ericsson argues, “We lie. We all do. We
exaggerate, we minimize, we avoid confrontation, we spare people’s feelings, we conveniently
forget, we keep secrets, we justify lying to the big-guy institutions.” The author believes that
lying is an essential component of life, ...view middle of the document...

” Needless to
say, I was humbled.”(164) As well as personal anecdotes, there are examples of historical events.

An example of this is the use of Pearl Harbour to demonstrate the consequences of
“Groupthink”. Throughout the essay the author uses a blend of personal experiences as well as
accurate historical events such as Pearl Harbour and Clarence Thomas. This combination makes
it easier to differentiate between the types of lying as well as establish credibility.
The use of figurative language can be used to lighten tone and make it
comical or turn it more serious. Many of the personal anecdotes used in this essay contain the use
of figurative language. While discussing facades the author states, “When I go put on a suit to
see my client I feel as though I am putting on another face, obeying the expectations that serious
business people wear suits rather than sweatpants.”(161) The author, through metaphors, makes
situational lying more recognizable by relating it to everyday concepts. The use of metaphors is
prevalent throughout the essay to help further establish the author’s opinion. Such as the
concluding opinion, “No matter how pious we may try to be, we will still embellish, hedge, and
omit to lubricate the daily machinery of living.”(167) Figurative language also inadvertently
makes the essay less serious and more playful. “Our acceptance of lies become a cultural cancer
that eventually shrouds and reorders reality until moral garbage becomes as invisible to us as
water is to a fish.”(167) Overall, Ericsson uses figurative language for deeper relatability and
thus strengthening her argument on lying.
The most important rhetorical mode is the classification or structure of
the essay. By structuring the essay, the author establishes the many ways people can lie and
makes it easier to read. She used a block format to distinguish each lie. This makes each...

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