When reading an article or publication by an author many readers will not realize the messages hidden deep within the text. An author’s purpose is what emotions and thoughts the author wants to convey to the reader by use of distinct words and technics. In the article, “The F Word”, by Firoozeh Dumas, the author uses many technics to persuade the reader to take on her beliefs and feel sympathy for the blatant racism she faced as a child. The author’s purpose is the most powerful tool an author has, and is a constant factor in their diction, rhetorical devices, as well as sentence structure.
Words are essential to getting a message across. Some may see words as just something with a vague meaning, but in reality they have far more of a purpose. Through words we are able to experience new experiences, see things through a new perceptive, and positively influence the lives of the reader. In the beautifully constructed article written by Firoozeh Dumas, “The F Word”, the author is able to show the reader how racism affected her. Ethical appeals are things that appeal to a reader due to the credibility of the author, and are used to show the author is highly respected. For example, when the author said, “Even though I had graduated with honors from UC-Berkley, I couldn’t get a single interview” (Dumas 3).
The author used this in a very strategic way that not many people would catch on to. Prior to the use of this ethical appeal we had no idea the status or education of the author, but after learning she graduated from a prestigious college with honors we now realized she was well educated and bright. She used this to show us that due to her foreign, Iranian name, she was unable to get a job interview. However, after she changed her name to the more socially acceptable name, Julie, she had potential employers calling her for many interviews. Firoozeh used this appeal to show us that even though she was well educated and respected she could not get a job interview due to stereotypes and racism. It was used very well, and linked the ideas the other was trying to convey to us in a well-mannered fashion. Another example of the author attempting to build her credibility as an author was when she mentioned that she was the mother of three children. A mother’s image is often one of compassion, honesty, and fairness. So whenever the author
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dropped the bomb that she was a mother it was to establish a connection with the reader to show she was responsible and hardworking, like most mothers are. Ethical appeals are one of the most important things for an author when trying to establish a connection with them.
Logical appeals were present in the passage, but they were not as obvious as the others. For instance, whenever the author informed us that after she changed her name to Julie from Firoozeh she started to get called back from potential job opportunities we were able to guess it was due to Americans not wanting to hire someone with a foreign background. This was a logical appeal because through our logic we were able to realize that, even though she did not confirm it, she was not getting called because of her name, and that it was in fact another form of racism.
The use of pathos in modern day writing is used to connect with the reader on a deeper, more emotional level. Authors use this appeal to pull at readers’ heart strings, and manipulate them into feeling the way the author intents. In, The F Word, the author informed us that growing up the members of her family were ridiculed and disrespected due to their foreign sounding names. In the text she recalls that, “My cousin’s name, Farbod, means “Greatness.” When he moved to America, all the kids called him “Farthead”” (Dumas 1).
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She used these sentences to show the readers that due to the close mindedness of Americans in her youth, she felt the beautiful meaning behind her name was being defaced. Any respectful member of our society realizes that racism and prejudice is wrong. The author used examples of racism she faced as a child to make us feel remorse for the cruel acts of our fellow Americans, and to play into our emotions. In the sixth grade the author changed her name to Julie to be accepted by her peers and society. However, due to this the author witnessed an unseen side to her peers. She goes on to say, “This meant that I was often privy to their real feelings about those “damn I-raynians.” It was like having those X-ray glasses that let you see people naked, except that what I was seeing was far uglier than people’s underwear” (Dumas 3).
The author noted this experience for many reasons, but most of all to appeal to the reader’s emotions. Firoozeh wanted the reader’s to feel pity towards her for the way these children made her
feel, and for the sorrow she faced every day. Whenever authors connect with a reader emotionally it makes it easier to convey the feelings/beliefs that author feels about a topic. Whenever Firoozeh shares her experience about hearing the true feelings her peers had about her country and people, it made us feel that racism is wrong. The author was able to convey to us that it is not right for someone to feel such sorrow for something as absurd as being from a certain country, and that we as Americans should eliminate all prejudice. Firoozeh wanted readers to feel regret about what we unintentionally cause people to change due to our unaccepting nature, and that was very blatant throughout the writing.
Through the use of pathos, ethos, and logos the author’s purpose was able to be supported completely in the text. Firoozeh’s purpose in writing The “F” Word was to show the reader the wrongness in how she was treated growing up, and that no one should have to experience inner battle she faced due to her name. The author wanted the readers to feel guilt, and because of her different appeals she was able to do exactly that. Authors are constantly trying to convince the reader into taking on the beliefs within the paper, and a good author will know the strategies and structure in doing so. Because of Firoozeh’s writing style and rhetorical devices she used in her publication she was able to contribute and support her purpose.
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