Rhetorical Analysis of New Literacy
“New Literacy” by Clive Thompson talks about how computers have changed our lives in today’s age. I this article Thompson talks of how the new world of technology has revolutionized so much including helping people write essays, how use of the internet is quite similar to ancient Greece and the good teachings that come with the use of technology. Clive points out the various views that may arise when debates on technology come up such as how technology has incapacitated the children’s ability to write yet other people will argue how technology has revolutionized both writing and literacy. In passing his points, Thompson uses emotional appeal to his audience, appeal to reason as well as an ethical appeal.
In the article, Thomson evokes emotions towards the readers. He wants to resonate with them at level where they will be able to understand the message that he is passing across. Thompson states that, “be ready to hear teachers getting upset once again about how kids are unable to write and this is blamed on technology” (Thompson, par, 1 ). In this context, the author evokes an element of both pity and concern over the use of technology. He is keen to point it that as some professors may want to blame technology on the children’s inability to write, this may not be true as technology has had a huge influence on increased literacy. His diction in the entire the text can be felt by the use of words such as “killing”, “stunning”, “brevity” and “enormously. Her purpose in utilizing these carefully chosen words is to resonate with the audience on the matter that technology does the opposite of what everyone states
Thomson also uses ethos by giving credibility to his article. He includes statistics including how 38% of students who took part in writing in Stanford did it outside of classroom. Thompson is trying to point out that writing should not only be based on academics but even the twitter updates and a person’s ability to write something about themselves counts. He also points out how students reading 15000-word video game tutorial have been able to write essays that are much longer and provoking. In using these statistics, Thompson is able to give his work credibility. By building the credibility of his work, a reader may be able to understand where he is coming from and agree with his point of view.
Thompson uses logos in his writing to appeal to the logic of his audience. He gets the audience to think of the effect technology has had pointing out how important it has been improving the literacy and writing skills of the new generation. People of this generation are writing longer and more complex essay than people from the previous generation “young people today write far more than any other generation before them” (Thompson par. 4); and this could be due to the technologies. He compares how technology has improved writing with how the Greek used writing in conveying arguments and opinions. The logic that Thompson is trying to put forward is that technology has introduced a new concept of writing where students are able to effectively communicate in writing.
Thompson is able to bring out his argument on how technology has given a rise to “literacy revolution”. He successfully utilizes logos, pathos and ethos to put his points across and to be able to resonate with his audience making a compelling argument. It is for a fact that educators need to realize the impact of technology in developing writing skills so that they can employ it instead of demonizing it.
Thompson, Clive. Smarter than you think: How technology is changing our minds for the better. Penguin, 2013.