While reading Vantage, the use of various rhetoric devices was evident and the rhetoric used really added to painting a picture in the readers’ minds and getting the purpose of the essay across. In the piece the author, Natasha Trethewey, looks to reflect on the moon landing and the overwhelming feeling of unity that people reflect on when referring to this day in contrast to every other day during this time when the civil rights movement was being fought for, dividing much of the country.
Firstly, Tretheway utilizes a great deal of ethos throughout the piece by using first-hand memories and anecdotes relating to her personally, giving her credibility towards her point regarding the sense of division during this time. She discusses hearing racial slurs being said about her parents, an interracial couple. She shares an anecdote regarding her father getting into a fight when people were celebrating Dr. King’s death. All of these give her credibility as the writer of this story.
Secondly, Thretheway utilizes imagery in describing and referring to photographs from the day of the moon landings. In this piece, the author specifically refers to famous photographs from that day however, not every reader may be familiar with these photos. Therefore it is important to describe these images in order to express her point. She describes binoculars, cameras, telescopes. She also utilizes symbolism as a rhetorical device with her mention of all of these tools to help people see but then characterizing them as tools to distort people’s views. This symbolizes people’s distorted view of the moon landing day.
Lastly, the audience is extremely important to note. This piece was written about the 1960s but was published in 2019 so it’s important to take into account that much of her audience may not have been alive during this time or may not remember this time. Therefore it is important that she used a great deal of description and historical context considering not all of her audience had this same experience.