In an article titled ‘Wounds will never heal’ published in The Sunday Mail, 18 March, p. 42, author Max argues that Australia should not have signed an agreement for regional co-operation and a closer relationship between the Australian and Japanese militaries (Venables 2007, p. 42). As we move forward, we will be critically examining the article using through three kinds of proofs – Ethos, Pathos and Logos; defined in Aristotle’s rhetoric theory which will be explained in more details in the following paragraphs.
Ethos is a set of values held either by an individual or by a community, reflected in their language, social attitudes and behavior. There are two independent concepts within Ethos, Personality and Stance. Personality defines the character, virtue and corporate identity of a person, revealed in his speech or through writing. From that, we are also able to determine the credibility of that person which as the same time increased the confidence in the audience. The second concept is Stance, which defines a persuader’s viewpoint in the topic discussed.
It is also dynamic as it matches according to the audience’s response (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p. 28). Pathos is the actualization of emotion by the persuader, who needed to arouse in an audience’s emotion of appropriate intensity, clarity and sharpness of focus. One of the components in actualization is graphic vividness. It is a matter of representation and perception. Another concept used in the process is emotive abstraction, which involves strong positive and negative connotations such as liberty; justice and dishonor are frequently used.
These words reflect common experience, values and aspirations which is an alternative way to influence the majority of the audience to agree on the stance (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p. 56). Logos is the process of identifying the issues at the heart of the debate, the range of diverse arguments in the discourse which has to be logical; the structure of thought these argument compose; and the sequencing, coherence and logical value of these arguments. Logos also structures emotion as well as reasoning which will be presented through the models of arguments, evidences, reasoning strategies and reasoning fallacies. Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p. 18) Let us now look at the ethos of the article. Author Max was a soldier held captive by the Japanese as a Prisoner of War (POW) during the fall of Singapore. In the present and modern era, he still could not trust Japan as each time he closes his eyes, he could see, hear and smell of a different Japan (Venables 2007, p. 42). There was no considerably reliance at all. From that statement we are able to derive a conclusion on his stance that was closed and firm, with no room for negotiation.
A display of negative rhetoric is seen here which hides values, in this case values that will benefit the economy and strengthen military ties with Japan. At the same time, he tried to persuade from a single viewpoint whereby Japan is crafty, cunning and should never be believed. While reading the article, we could sense the anger from within Max which leads us to the next term – Pathos. The title of the article would have informed and prepared readers about the negativity that will be presented. It signifies an emotional scar, hurt and resentment of Max.
Max was disgusted that Japan wants to establish trade links after everything they have done to him and fellow POWs who fought the war. This statement would have made Australians or any country for that matter, think thrice about establishing a relationship with any Japanese or Japan. There was also anger and deep hatred when he recalled about his youth being lost as he was held captive and made to work without knowing when the war will end. His dignity was trampled when the Japanese mistreated him and his health has deteriorated to the point whereby he nearly died at the age of 21 while working for the Japanese (Venables 2007, p. 2). These were mentioned in order to gain the sympathy from the readers through the cruelty and heartless characteristics of the Japanese. At the same time, a psychological barrier made of anger was formed towards the Japanese so that Australian would stand on his side and disapprove of the agreement. He had used graphic vividness by mentioning the kind of jobs – lime carting, wharf work and shipping of cars that were strenuous and physical challenging. It gave an impression of hardship faced by the starved prisoners and thus gaining pity from the readers.
Max had described the fears of being a prisoner and the terror of the Japanese by recalling the Japanese soldier that threatened to kill him if Singapore was invaded (Venables 2007, p. 42). This statement would have strike fear in Australians if one day Japan were to turn their backs against them. He had also mentioned the love he had for the country, which will evoke the patriotism within Australians thus increasing the chances of more citizens opposing the agreement and had shown disappointment with Prime Minister, John Howard as he had just signed an agreement.
Following that we will be looking at logos. Max had used the testimonial model of argument that refers to the testimony of witnesses or evidence to support the argument (Cockcroft & Cockcroft 2005, p. 97). In this case, it consisted of the mistreatment that he suffered as a prisoner during the World War II. He had also made used of deduction by starting with an observation that most people accept as true and then show how certain conclusion follow from that observation (Reinking 1999, p. 160).
From the past to the present, history books had portrayed Japan with negativity due to the war. With that perspective, he is able to persuade the older generations including those who are patriotic towards Australia to take his side. There were also fallacies found in the article. Max had omitted the fact published earlier in the Courier Mail 2007, 15 March, p. 36 regarding the positive economy development of Australia in terms of job creations, wealth for the country and advantages of a joint military. Instead he had stressed the negativity of the war that had happen decades ago.
The fallacy identified is card stacking which means presenting part of the available evidence and deliberately omitting essential information that would alter the picture considerably (Reinking 1999, p. 168). Another fallacy found in his article was the appeal to the crowd which plays on the irrational fears and prejudices of the audience (Reinking 1999, p. 169). The article was written based on fear, torture and pain inflicted by the Japanese, hoping that readers would oppose the agreement and not compromising the country’s law and order for it.
Having considered the evidence presented throughout the body, one can only conclude that the argument presented was strong, but only perhaps in the 1950s and 1960s. The new generations of Japanese have no interest to practice the evil things that their forefathers have done. The Japanese now are more interested in creating wealth, etc. Their Government is concentrating on developing the country’s economy and rebuilding their reputations to get the world onto their side. Considering Japan to be one of the big economic powers of Asia, Australians have much to gain.
References Cockcroft, R & Cockcroft, S 2005, Persuading people – an introduction to rhetoric, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire. ‘Pact with Japan must be welcomed’, Courier Mail, 15 March 2007, p. 36. Reinking, J A, Hart, A W & von der Osten, R. 1999, Strategies for successful writing: A rhetoric, research guide, reader, and handbook, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp 156-181. Venables, M 2007, ‘For some, wounds will never heal’, The Sunday Mail, 18 March, p. 42.