6 of February 2018
An Analysis of How the States Got Their Shape by Mark Stein
America is a cultural and political concoction with a rich and violent history. First, ponder these questions of how we became a cultural and political concoction divided by regions and states. Why do states have borders that define regions and cultures? Secondly, why are states shaped like they are? And thirdly, what is the important of having borders? Now that I have you pondering why states are located where they are, why they divided geographical borders and the importance states have on identity; Mark Stein, an accomplished writer exclaims “asking why a state has the borders it does unlocks a history of human struggle” (36). Mark Stein crafted “How States Got Their Shapes” to answer why are state borders important. To do so, Stein utilizes ethos to establish credibility to make the piece convincing, a plethora of logos to illustrate the importance of history in creating boundaries and finally numerous rhetorical strategies to make a successfully convincing argument.
Initially, Stein crafts ethos to make his essay a convincing argument. To understand why Stein’s use of ethos is important, one needs to comprehend what ethos is. Ethos is an ethical appeal to the readers to establish credibility from the author and can be developed through diction, expertise and more. Stein introduces himself as a writer and a playwright and his book, “How States Got Their Shape”, became a prominent history channel series. Without even reading the excerpt from his book, the reader already knows Stein is a credible source which puts the reader at ease. This makes Stein’s excerpt valid to readers; therefore, making his argument easier to resound with readers. Furthermore; and very importantly, Stein transitions into his beginning where he uses basic clear rhetorical questions to increase his credibility and make this excerpt easy for readers to understand. For example, Stein begins with a simple statement “my seventh-grade geography teacher would hold up cutouts” and then continues into “why are the straight lines the define Wyoming located where they are and are not” (Stein 36). These simple statements and questions with simplistic humorous diction makes the excerpt light-hearted and entertaining to read. In doing so, not only does the reader start to engage and question why state’s borders are important which is what Stein desires, but also the reader feels confident in Stein and already believes in his informative argument without having to read a lot. This lets Stein then develop his ideas and argument throughout the rest of the excerpt, ultimately making a successful argument.
Subsequently, Stein then utilizes logos to make his informative argument successful to show the importance of history on creating boundaries. In “How States Got Their Shapes” by Mark Stein, he applies numerous statistics and facts into his informative argument. The...