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Elie Barbar

Professor Ludwig

English 101 H

20 September 2017

Rhetorical Analysis of Prosperity

In the text Prosperity, the author is arguing for the importance of preserving the

resources of the most thriving country in the world, the United States. The text was written in

1910, which is a time when the population of the United States was a lot less than it is now, and

the consumption of natural resources such as coal was growing everyday. Since the text is

nonfiction and centers around a controversial issue, the author uses many persuasive techniques

and facts throughout the text to convey his message effectively and leave the intended audience,

which includes big corporations, to take steps to further resolve the problem. First, the author

states that, we continue to treat our coal as though there could never be an end to it...but five per

cent. of the potential power residing in the coal actually mined is saved and used (174). The

author starts by provoking a feeling in the audience of self-responsibility, then he backs up his

claim by including facts. In addition, throughout the text, he uses the word inexhaustible (175)

various times to emphasize the point that the nation is using the resources irresponsibly. After the

author covers the issue for coal, he moves on with soil to state that, three thousand square miles

of soil had been destroyed as the result of forest denudation...the soil so lost becomes itself a

source of damage and expense, and must be removed from the channels of our navigable streams

at an enormous annual cost (175). This time, the author is tying two factors together, which are

the correlation between soil destruction and forest denudation; later on in the paragraph, a sense
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of unhappiness and anger is almost planted inside the audience when they realize the annual cost

to fix human made issues.

Moving on, after the author discusses the potential dangers of consuming coil and soil

recklessly, the author discusses the rapid consumption of timber. The consumption of timer is

extremely high that the author claims that, the present annual consumption is approximately 100

billion feet, while the annual growth is but a third of the consumption, or from 30 to 40 billion

feet...it is certain that the rate of consumption of timber will increase enormously (177). The

usage of statistic in this case demonstrate the authors will to use various types of evidence to

convey his message. At this point, the audience feels as if the future of the country is in their

hands, and it almost becomes their duty to find every possible way to fix the damage their

actions have caused. After this feeling is generated, the author takes the opportunity to further

expand the feeling by asking, what will happen when the forests fail? In the first place, the

business of lumbering will disappear (178), and he then continues to list all the everyday factors

that would be affected such as cost of transportation, water, lighting, manufacturing, the

cultivation of the soil, and many more that would would destroy our lives. The author sums up

his point by stating, In a word, when the forests fail, the daily life of the average citizen will

inevitably feel the punch on every side (179). Not only would leading corporation feel guilty at

this point, the average citizen also feels a sense of anger for not having control over the issues.

The author uses various persuasive rhetorical analysis techniques and other tactics to project his

thoughts onto his audience: evoking feelings, statistics, facts, and many more. The author is able

to build a trustworthy relationship with his audience, and therefore the audience feels included

and would eventually agree to participate to resolve the issues.