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Rhetorical Analysis of Suicide Prevention Psa

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cp3nny
Words 785
Pages 4
Cody Halliday
Jennifer Pecora Kettley
English I 2015SU 9W0 & 9W1
06 June 2015 The Empty Seat psa is effective in getting its message across to not let someone commit suicide and to recognize the signs before it’s too late. The ad uses primarily the pathos and ethos appeals to reach its audience, with the majority of the logos appeal in the end. It uses several visual and audio tools to set a grim and drear tone through the ad and then uplift it towards the end. The ad effectively uses several things as tools to appeal and influence the emotions of its audience. Right from the start the ad is playing a slow song and it slowly zooms out to show an empty seat where a student is missing. This grabs the audience’s attention, then in the next scene the audience sees another classroom. In this classroom the students are painting and another empty seat is shown. This makes the audience feel now that something is wrong. More and more classrooms and school activities are shown with students missing. This repetition is being used to set the feeling into the audience that something is wrong, and in the scenes the other students are carrying on with their activities and classes as if nothing is wrong makes the scenes feel even more wrong. In the scene with the birthday cake and the candles, the dark room and the image of the once again empty chair almost everything is being used to touch the audience. The room being dark sets a grim tone. The birthday party itself is familiar and a very personal time that every audience member should relate to in a positive way, giving the audience the expectation of a child waiting in the chair to blow out the candles. This makes it even more heartbreaking when the audience finds the chair empty. In the scene with the family putting flowers on the grave and all the students come to the grave, it gives the audience the conclusion that the empty seats are from suicide victims. This is where the audience is really brought to the issue. Then the screen fades to black and shows "Don't let there be another empty seat" making the audience possibly feel some sadness and guilt and think of someone they might have lost to suicide. Finally the video uses the students coming back to the empty seats as relief for the audience and gives them hope that they might be able to prevent these teens from becoming an empty seat. The ad also effectively appeals to the character of the audience or the ethos appeal. It does so by showing various types of activities that high school students and adults alike can relate to. It shows students painting art, playing football, playing chess, playing in both a school band and a rock band. Showing these activities helps the audience develop a connection with the video and relate it with their own lives and activities. The ad also puts responsibility in the audiences hands by telling them not to let there be another empty seat and to recognize the signs of someone wanting to commit suicide. This sense of responsibility now makes the audience feel tied to the video. Towards the end of the video is where we really see the ad effectively appeal to the reasoning of the audience. A large part of the ad is showing empty seats, and then filled seats with the student who possibly wouldn’t be there if their suicidal thoughts or actions were to continue, this shows a contrast and lets the audience see the difference between the student being present and not. The ad then again appeals to the reasoning of the audience by literally telling them “you can help”. Then telling the audience that they can recognize the signs of suicide and tell someone. Then ad then makes the audience think by telling them that it is better to lose a friendship, than lose a friend. This simple sentence is telling the audience that even if the person you think might be suicidal will hate you, it is still the right decision to get them help if you think they need it. Overall the Empty Seat psa was very effective in getting its message to its audience to recognize the signs of suicide and take action before it’s too late. It appealed to the audience’s emotions, but while also appealing to logic. Throughout it also appeals to the character of the audience in a way that helps connect them with the video.

Works Cited
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. “Empty Seat Psa” YouTube. YouTube, LLC, Sep 8, 2011. 04 June 2015

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