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Seabiscuit Rhetorical Analysis

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1. Pathos

Hillenbrand plays to the reader’s emotion in Seabiscuit when Red Pollard rides a known wild horse for another owner and is sent crashing into the side of stable. At this point of the novel, the reader had connected with Red as he has gone through over adversities in his life such as his troubled childhood, repeated failures as a jockey, and once they were informed that he was half blind. Because Hillenbrand built up Red for the reader in this way, it caught the reader off guard as they were not expecting Red to lose his ability to ride for the rest of his life. As everyone has received some form of horrific news, the reader emphasizes with Red because he will not be able to ride Seabiscuit when he was required.

2. Ethos

Hillenbrand portrays the trust between Charles Howard and Tom Smith when Seabiscuit is not ready to run in a race. Howard trusts that Smith knows best and will not allow his horse to run despite the negative image that would be placed upon everyone involved. He instead took the criticism that fell upon him and his horse because he trusted his trainer. Hillenbrand is pulling at our ethics because Charles did not fold under pressure and kept to the word of those who knew more than him.

3. Logos

Hillenbrand uses facts to prove that Seabiscuit was the greatest horse to ever. She mentions that “he had the stamina to run in track record time at one and five-eighths miles…Seabiscuit set two track records under 133 pounds”(380-381). This shows, that even with an enormous amount of weight, Seabiscuit was able to accomplish remarkable feats while carrying an average of twenty pounds more than his competition. The reader will take bits of information from the book so that they will be able to recall some of the greatest accomplishments of Seabiscuit in latter conversations.

4. Argument

Hillenbrand makes the claim that Seabiscuit is an American legend because of his accomplishments as a horse. She justifies her claim by showing his high and low points while showing the circumstances that followed each race. She uses race times and the difference of weight on Seabiscuit to show the mathematical side of his legacy while also showing his fighting spirit.

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