Rhetorical critism

Analysis and Finalizing

Jerome Vargas

City College of San Francisco

CMST-2

08 MAY2022

Instructor: Sage Russo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitzer’s rhetorical situation constitutes of rhetorical exigence, rhetorical audience and

constraints, which can be used in analyzing an artifact. Rhetorical exigence

is the problem to solve or something, which need to be done and can be changed or fixed to some

extend with others cooperation. For example, when Steve Cutts developed Happiness, (Cutts, S., 2018), it meant he had an audience, who needed this information. The information in the short

video clip answers the issue but it also needed to be provided in such a way that the targeted

audience is persuasive to believe that message as credible. In this analysis we will analyze Happiness by Cutts in regard to Bitzer’s rhetorical situation.

Happiness by Steve Cutts strongly criticizes the contemporary where Cutts opts to represent humans using rats. The animation begins with rats that run in a white background as a song can be heard and it follows the video. The song brings out how love is hard to tame. The irony of the song can be interpreted as the difficulty of finding love. People are in a race to find love and pleasure. Additionally through the use of depressing comedy, heartfelt appeals to pathos and unique appeals to logos, the maker of the short animated film “happiness” effectively convinces the viewer that happiness can be found purely through materialism.

In regard to Bitzer’s rhetorical situation, to persuade the audience, Cutts makes use of logic to bring out materialism that makes people behave. This is brought out when a black Friday sale is shown and everyone begins attacking one another over simple items in the store as the store owner does not do anything since he is making profit. This brings out how almost everyone drops their morals and respects and focus on nothing but the things they wish to purchase as well as income they can make. He plays the part of animation in a slow motion to make sure that people see the message behind it. This shows that people can be ravaging animals for simple materialistic aspects and even hurt others for it.

Another way that Cutts uses is through appealing the audience’s emotions through showing us how to deal with our sadness using material things. It demonstrates the mouse using alcohol and prescription drugs to find his happiness. This brings out how we endanger our health as well as body through the use of alcohol and drugs in order to find happiness through them. Though happiness is found through these means it is for a short term and hurts us more in comparison to how it helps us. This proves that it is not our fault since we are led to believe that it is the right way to find happiness.

Another appeal to logic that Cutts uses is that we give up most of our lives for money. In the animation the mouse chases the dollar and gets himself caught in a trap that forces him to work. This shows the audience that we spend our lives chasing the money and giving up our lives to our career just to make money for the materialistic needs though it is similar to a trap since without doing so we wouldn’t have the ability to attain the needs to survive like food as well as a home. It is a continuous materialist-based loop we are all stuck in.

Based on Bitzer’s rhetorical situation, Cutts makes use of powerful logos and pathos as well as short animation. Cutts manages to effectively persuade the audience that happiness cannot be found through materialism. The video is effective in preventing the audience from finding happiness with only money. Additionally, even in the last few minutes, Cutts shows again the word Happiness and a rat begin to eat the wire of the name which is shown with the lights, a light electrocutes take place thus tuning the name off. It can be read as a thin line subject to today’s happiness since it can be easily seen in the entire video.

 

 

 

 

References

CUTTS, Steve. (2018). Happiness. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk&gt

Running head: Final Draft

5

Final Draft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Draft

Jerome Vargas

City College of San Francisco

15 MAY 2022

 

Introduction

Happiness by Steve Cutts strongly criticizes the contemporary society where Cutts opts to represent humans using rats. The animation begins with rats that run in a white background as a song can be heard and it follows the video. Through the use of depressing comedy, heartfelt appeals to pathos and unique appeals to logos, the artist manages to effectively convince the viewer that happiness can be found purely through materialism. However, Bitzer’s rhetorical situation is a rhetorical theoretical lens that can be used to analyze this artifact. It constitutes of rhetorical exigence, rhetorical audience and constraints (Chidume, S. N., &Agbo, I. I. (2022), which can be used to convey a persuasive information to the audience.

Rhetorical Theoretical lens

Rhetorical situation determines the rhetorical devices to use, the complexity of discourse as well as the type of diction, which is appropriate. Therefore, when an individual wants to know what the rhetorical situation of certain artifact, they need to understand the nature of those context in which the artist develops rhetorical discourse, since rhetorical discourse presence indicates that rhetorical situation is presence ((Kitterman, J., 2020). Before, composing any artifact, the author should first understand their rhetorical situation.

Bitzer’s rhetorical situations involves audience, exigence and constraints (Cooper, T. B. (2019). The audience that are capable of being influenced are multiple, from optimists, cynicists, industrialists and environmentalists. According to Bitzer, rhetoric is usually persuasive, therefore persuadable audience are significant. ‘Happiness’ have multiple persuadable audience such as optimists, that Cutts is targeting. Exigence according to Bitzer, are the needs, which need to be addressed, they can be fixed (rhetorical) or not be changed or fixed (non-rhetorical. Cutts message is about the perception of happiness therefore exigence is people perception of ‘happiness’. Constrains consist of the events, objects relations and the persons that are part of any situation since they have the power to constrain actions and decision required in modifying exigence. Constrains include the images, rhetorical appeals such as pathos, beliefs, motives, documents, facts and traditions. In Happiness, the music where beats and rhythm of the song have the impact on the viewer’s emotions (Gries, L. 2019) and the rat and other images used are examples of constrain

Artifact analysis

The purpose of artifacts is to inform therefore, an information, context or ideas can be transmitted to the audience in various ways using artifacts such as videos or articles. Communication artifacts are developed as human thoughts expression and give way for information perception using various strategies. As such, Happiness uses persuasive devices and rhetorical situations to convey a percussive information to the audience.

Used persuasive devices to persuade the audience include rhetoric appeal such as logos to bring out materialism that makes people behave. This is brought out when a black Friday sale is shown and everyone begins attacking one another over simple items in the store as the store owner does not do anything since he is making profit(CUTTS, S. (2018). Pathos used include the music sounds and rats images that are appealing to the viewer’s emotions. Based on Bitzer’s rhetorical situation, Cutts makes use of powerful logos and pathos as well as short animation. As such, he manages to effectively persuade the audience that happiness cannot be found through materialism. Studying artifacts is important because they are significant aspects of nonverbal communication as the right or best artifact choice reflect about a particular thing. In addition, understanding artifact, one is able to learn how they give perception of social status, help in reducing cognitive dissonance and how they effective communication. Lastly, it is an important site of study because it gives an insight on how composers or writers persuade their audience.

Conclusion

Artifacts are significant communication tools, which use persuasive devices and rhetorical situation to convey their message to the audience. Happiness is a persuasive artifact, which can be analyzed using Bitzer’s rhetorical situation and it includes appeals to logic and other rhetorical appeals that help persuade the audience on ‘happiness’ cannot be found purely through materialism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Chidume, S. N., &Agbo, I. I. (2022). Discourse-Rhetorical Strategies of Pauline Epistles: Rhetorical Situation Theory Approach to the Book of First Thessalonians. SAGE

Cooper, T. B. (2019). The impromptu rhetorical situation. Communication Teacher, 33(4), 262-265.

CUTTS, S. (2018). Happiness. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk&gt

Gries, L. (2019). Advances in visual rhetorical analysis. The SAGE Handbook of Visual

Kitterman, J., Grant, T. D., & Adams, Z. (2020). Rhetorical Situations. Writing@ Saint Leo.

“Happiness” by Steve Cutts is an example of an artifact, which have decided to analyze. Happiness is a short video clip, which tells the story of rodent’s unrelenting search for happiness and fulfilment (Cutts, S., (2017). The video can be described as a strong criticism to the contemporary society or world, where the composer uses rats to represent humans. The video begins with many rats running in a white background with “Habanera” music on the background. This song is a French song, which talks about hard to tame, making freedom of birds’ analogy and the challenges of controlling love. However, the biggest irony is that this particular song and clip can be interpreted as the human difficulty to find love and how they are always on a hurry or race to find pleasure and love. The clip highlights the impact of the mass culture that is changing the social practices as well as the outcome or consequences of it in daily life. Well, the purpose of artifacts is to inform therefore, an information, context or ideas can be transmitted to the audience in various ways using artifacts such as videos or articles. Communication artifacts are developed as human thoughts expression and give way for information perception using various strategies. As such, this artifact uses persuasive devices and rhetorical situations to convey a percussive information to the audience.

To begin with, the film uses visual components and non-verbal communication. Rhetorical appeal used in “Happiness” is pathos. Steve used music sounds that are appealing to the viewer’s emotions. Generally, music is completely as well as totally raw emotions. Therefore, the beats and rhythm of the song have the impact on the viewer’s emotions (Gries, L. (2019). For example, the song ‘Habanera’ by Bizet ((Cutts, S., (2017), which is from the beginning of the song, displays unsettling and capricious mood, which in relations to the rat images, it evokes emotions.

Bitzer’s rhetorical situations, audience, exigence and constraints (Cooper, T. B. (2019), are also identified in this short video. The audience that are capable of being influenced are multiple, from optimists, cynicists, industrialists and environmentalists. According to Bitzer, rhetoric is usually persuasive, therefore persuadable audience are significant. ‘Happiness’ have multiple persuadable audience, that Cutts is targeting. Exigence according to Bitzer, are the needs, which need to be addressed, either they can be fixed (rhetorical) or not be changed or fixed non-rhetorical. Cutts message is about the perception of happiness. According to the film, happiness id the moment that an individual desires are reached and satisfied but as portrayed by the rats, humans always want more and are looking for compulsive crumbs of fulfillment and happiness. As such, exigence in this video is ‘happiness’ perception. The perception of happiness has specified the audience, in which Cutts wanted to address. Constraints identified in these film include pathos appeal, the rat images used.

Studying artifact importance in communications and strategies used in artifact to inform is essential because, artifacts such as paints convey non-verbal information about a certain this, situation and place. Therefore, artifacts are significant aspects of nonverbal communication as the right or best artifact choice reflect about a particular thing. In addition, understanding artifact, one is able to learn how they give perception of social status, help in reducing cognitive dissonance and how they all effective communication among humans. Lastly, it is also an important site of study because an insight on how composers or writers persuade their audience.

Well, a critic would ask questions such as what do one see, in terms of artifact description, how the artist did it, by referring to various elements and finally, the reason why the artist created the artifact and its meaning. After research, there are no any rhetorical analysis that exist on “Happiness.”

Reference

Cooper, T. B. (2019). The impromptu rhetorical situation. Communication Teacher33(4), 262-265.

Cutts, S., (2017). “Happiness”. YouTube. https://youtu.be/e9dZQelULDk

Gries, L. (2019). Advances in visual rhetorical analysis. The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods, 381.

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