Rhetorical Analysis Essay


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Letter to My Son is an extract belonging to the book Between the World and Me. This extract states the life experience of a father who shares his whole life story with his son in the medium of letter. In this, the writer represents all of their experiences in a narrative manner (Foss, 2017). The extract mainly emphasizes the major issue in America which is discrimination among blacks and whites.  It includes some incidents which were faced by the writer during his childhood.

According to the present scenario, the setting was of a remote studio situated on the Far West Side of Manhattan and the discussion was on the topic which the writer wrote earlier that week. In this meeting, various topics were discussed which enlightened the thought of authors that appealed to him to give a second thought about the subject of his body whether they were really discriminated against or they lost hope during that situation. Therefore, it states the mentality of people because what they see they tend to believe the same. Thus, during that period if some kind of sympathy was shown then the scenario could have been different and humanity would have been there.

The passage written by Coates was basically a description of incidents related to the injustice faced by African Americans such as blocked airways, dislodged brains, rip muscles, broken teeth etc., the United States has always linked with activities like abusing bodies, especially with black ones. Whether it is related to slavery or brutality done by policemen. Therefore, the nature and behaviour of people are affected because of such incidents. According to Coates's point of view, he seems to believe that because black people have more violent tendencies which is not true they didn’t get appropriate jobs in a white environment. Here, media and other sources that are connected with people play a great role as media can act as a positive or negative as they can create a barricade between what people is saying and what they actually want to say (Winton, 2013). Therefore, the use of words also plays a crucial role for example writer has explained all the incidents in a negative connotation according to his point of view which can be somewhat true in some instances but “hope” was the biggest factor which would have lifted blacks or given them some motivation in order to come-up with situations. A quote can be taken so as to justify these statements “picture of a 12-year-old black boy tearfully hugging a white police officer. Then she asked me about ‘hope’.”

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It has been described that police(Whites) of America were directly killing blacks for their mistakes. They don't give any chance even to explain their actual situations. For instance, Eric Garner was killed because of selling cigarettes, the criminal didn't have any chance to leave their work. Through this incident, the writer actually wants to warn his son to not indulge in any illegal activity in America. As being a black it is his own responsibility to protect his own body. The whole incident was presented in a narrative manner describing the incident that happened with black people.

It further describes that black bodies were treated as wasteful objects from the viewpoint of the police. Their job responsibility was brutal for blacks in America as it became the dream culture of Whites to criticise every black whether they are wrong or not (Bullough Jr,  VBiber and Conrad,  2014). According to the writer, as per his life experience, all police were not evil but unfortunately, their mentality has been developed in the wrong manner which states if anything happens wrong with them or in the country faulty person is always black. They do not even miss a single chance to punish and arrest blacks for misshapen and in some situations they even kill blacks in the name of criminal as they are not accountable for shooting blacks. The writer represents the whole scenario in a blaming manner as his personal observance of white police was not good. Mainly it states negative thoughts of the writer towards its country and its white police who have formulated their thought that illegal activities are only performed by blacks and if any same thing is done by whites then they are ignored and instead of any other black is being arrested in order to show they are working effectively.

The discrimination between blacks and whites has not declined. In the name of colours, people living in America have actually forgotten about the basic ethics and values of humanity (Bhatia, 2014). Through the expression of the letter, the state of mind of the writer represents its confusion about the whole scenario of black and white and whether things will change or not. The discrimination scenario has also developed fear among the people about their colour complexion as their lives are in danger. It's quite negative for people as they are being tortured, murdered, beaten, and punished only because of some darker pigments which are present in their bodies. This colour discrimination has negatively influenced overall humanity which has decreased the feeling of care and love of one person towards another one.

Along with this, the extract also shares the care of the father toward his son who is still too young to understand the actuality of America and its discrimination which is based on the colour complexion of people. It describes also to the son in what way whites abuse black bodies in their native country so that he will remain alert in future in order to secure his life. In a hidden manner writer also prepares his son for the future which will guide him in future to protest against wrong things but only by using logical concepts that will secure his life (Tite, 2012). Another intention of the letter to was to advise the son to become a gentleman in future which be helpful in making his surroundings and known people free from the thought of bias in terms of colour complexion. In all, according to the passage blacks were facing difficulties in living their lives as they had to deal with various circumstances to earn they had to struggle a lot.


  • Foss, S. K., 2017. Rhetorical criticism: Exploration and practice. Waveland Press.
  • Winton, S., 2013. Rhetorical analysis in critical policy research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 26(2). pp.158-177.
  • Bullough Jr, R. V., 2014. Toward reconstructing the narrative of teacher education: A rhetorical analysis of preparing teachers. Journal of Teacher Education. 65(3). pp.185-194.
  • Biber, D. and Conrad, S., 2014. Variation in English: Multi-dimensional studies. Routledge.
  • Bhatia, V. K., 2014. Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings. Routledge.
  • Tite, P. L., 2012. The apocryphal epistle to the Laodiceans: an epistolary and rhetorical analysis. Brill.

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