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Rhetorical Analysis of Bill Shein’s “Reason Gone Mad”

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Bill Shein wrote “Reason Gone Mad” for the American people—America’s “regular Jills and Joes”—especially those concerned with the democracy of the United States. The author initially displays a general knowledge of current events, which establishes for the reader that he “knows what he is talking about.” He then jumps directly to a rhetorical question through which he shows his attitude towards politics, which is first revealed to the reader when he writes “the U.S. Senate will spend time this summer debating some thoroughly preposterous amendments to the Constitution”

The author does not demonstrate that he has in-depth knowledge of what is happening in the political world, but instead uses witty humor to deliver his point. He attacks the politicians by using satirical humor to bring his argument across, implicitly likening the behavior of U.S. Senators to the absurd senator that he imagines he would be. The author does not make use of any explicit, systematic reasoning, but instead pokes fun at U.S. senators through mocking “imitation” of their behavior.

The author uses “normal,” informal language, and uses a personal tone, thus implying that he has personal interest in the matter. He affects some intimacy with the reader (“Yes, friends…”) and writes from the first person (“I pose this question…”), which serves to break down any potential alienating factors that the reader may harbor.

The aspect of this article that most appeals to the reader is that he shows that he is concerned about the well being of the American people, especially with regard to democracy. The author’s main point is that politicians are far from perfect and can do some stupid things, which means that the public should keep a watchful and critical eye on them. The author’s purpose in writing the paper was to promote a shrewd and critical attitude towards the politicians of the United States, while also entertaining the reader.

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