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Shumaker 1

Vincent Shumaker

Professor Rebecca Agosta

UWRT-1101-006

11 March 2017

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

I chose to analyze a movie presented on National Geographic called Bill Nyes Global

Meltdown. The movie discusses the effects of climate change on the environment, what is being

done, and what can be done about it. Moving through the five stages of grief denial, anger,

bargaining, depression, and acceptance the movie progresses while addressing issues of climate

change. This technique makes the message relatable to the audience.

In this movie, the rhetor is Bill Nye. He is discussing the effects of climate change on the

environment and what can be done to lower them, this is the exigence. The audience he is

addressing is every person living on Earth, but because it is in English and only addresses the

problems on the North American continent it is focused on the citizens and political leaders of

the U.S. and Canada. Climate change is a problem that has many constraints. One is the denial of

its existence by many people, including many political figures. Another is the cost associated

with the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. I believe that both constraints are

linked. A political leader will deny climate change because their job is centered around the cost

of maintaining civilization, and by denying it they avoid what they see as an unnecessary cost.

This movie is multimodal in its communication. The linguistic mode is when Bill is

speaking and narrating. The visual mode is represented in the graphics used in transitioning from
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one stage of grief to the next. Also in the charts, graphs, and maps presented while Bill is

discussing the facts backing climate change. The setup of these images is the spatial mode. The

aural mode is how the tone of the music changes with each stage of grief to emphasize the

emotions correlated with each. The gestural mode arguably Bill Nyes favorite mode of

communication is the expression of Bill while he is talking with Dr. Schwarzenegger, and

during his discussion with the political figure. These modes combined make the movie very

effective in the delivery of the problem of climate change.

Here is the link to the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Xv_npmS6E

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