Rhetorical Analysis: Why Heroes Are Important

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Are heroes important? This is the question that Scott LaBarge, a philosophy professor at Santa Clara University, tackles in his article “Heroism: Why Heroes are Important.” He encourages teachers, parents, and students to realize that heroes are tremendously significant in society by using references to factual and historical details, personal association, and various examples of different types of heroes. LaBarge effectively uses the rhetorical appeals of ethos, logos, and kairos to convince his audience that heroes are important. Having published this article through the college he teaches at, the most likely readers of this publication would be instructors and students. However, LaBarge also intended for some parents to read this article,…show more content…
He opens up the publication by discussing how having Henry David Thoreau as a hero has changed his life, and LaBarge proclaims that if for some reason the disaster of failing to earn tenure were to strike him, then he would find solace in following his hero's example (1). Continuing on into the article, it discusses the origin of the term “hero,” which comes from ancient Greece, and compares those heroes to the ones we have now – those who “are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy” (LaBarge 1). LaBarge also claims that everyone has a “vested interest in each person having heroes” (1). On the next page, he discusses how many people idolize the wrong heroes, and he explains why this is an important problem and how we could possibly fix it. LaBarge also goes into great detail on how many people who are considered heroes have faults by writing, “Washington and Jefferson held slaves, Martin Luther King is accused of philandering and plagiarizing, just about everybody had sex with someone they shouldn’t, and so on” (2). Then, LaBarge suggests that we should separate the things that make our heroes great from the things that damage their heroic perfection and forgive those shortcomings because nobody is perfect, and they are all humans like us, meaing that what was possible for them to accomplish is also possible for us to accomplish as…show more content…
LaBarge uses phrases like “we need to refocus our attention on the issue now” (1) and “start by going home tonight” (2). Using time-based words such as “now” and “tonight” shows that LaBarge is appealing for his audience to act as quickly as possible. He is saying that now is the time action needs to be taken – not a month or year from now, but right here, right now. Due to this use of kairos, his audience will feel his urgency through his sentences and want to act fast. To summarize, LaBarge's use of ethos lets the reader see that he is absolutely credible. His strong use of logos will leave them fulfilled with all the information and details they need, while his use of kairos will establish a need for his audience to act in the now. Taking all of this into account, LaBarge adequately uses these rhetorical modes to convince his target audience that heroes are, in fact,

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