The Great Influenza Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Words: 591
Pages: 3

Nearly every human alive has become all too familiar with the heightened emotions brought about by pandemics due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak. The stress experienced by the average citizen throughout this pandemic was nothing compared to the pressure placed on scientists to discover a solution. Times of struggle, such as the world-wide shutdown of 2020, dramatically heighten the already existing difficulties of scientific research. In his work The Great Influenza, John M. Barry writes about a similar time of struggle: the 1918 flu epidemic. Throughout his work, Barry implements various rhetorical devices to characterize the uncertainty and risk involved in scientific research. Barry opens this passage with the simple statement that “[c]ertainty …show more content…
Barry lists the many attributes scientists must possess: “passion, patience, creativity, self-sufficiency, and courage.” By providing this lengthy list, Barry demonstrates the difficulty of scientific research. He proves that scientific research is not designed for just anyone. He alludes to a famous scientist, Claude Bernard, and references Bernard’s idea that “[s]cience teaches us to doubt.” In doing so, Barry circles back to the uncertainty involved in scientific research and cites a well known scientist to increase his credibility. He describes the work of scientists as so fragile that it can “break apart upon the sharp edge of a single laboratory finding,” conveying to the reader just how tenuous scientific work can be. In emphasizing the fragility of science, Barry reinforces the risky nature of research. He implements another allusion to the well known scientist Albert Einstein and his method of doubting all of his theories until tested. This use of a well-known figure improves Barry’s credibility in his characterization of scientific research as