The Rhetorical Situation

Text Title + Author: Bad to the Last Drop by Tom Standage.

Summarize the argument: Main argument + the supporting claims: Bottled water has recently become extremely popular as people think it is more clean and healthy than tap water, though there are hardly any evidence that it really is so. Bottled water can actually contain an equal or bigger amount of contamination as tap water is continually monitored. Clean water is abundant in developed countries but it is not the case with developing countries where people suffer from bad sanitation and clean water shortage. These problems could be solved for a quarter of global spending of money on bottled water.

Intended Audience: People who drink bottled water and also generally those who are interested in issues connected with water.

Context (Audience situation): Many people in the developed countries prefer bottled water to tap water, making the bottled water globally a $46 billion industry.

Intended Purpose: To motivate the target audience to spend less money on bottled water and give more money to water charities

Emotional Appeals 

Identify:

The author describes his experience with tasting different brands of water and included tap water as a sample too, what they found was that no one except for one person could distinguish tap water from bottled water, which is quite surprising.

Analyze:

It is usually thought that bottled water is quite different from tap water, it is thought to be cleaner and more healthy, the taste will be different too, the experiment has shown that it is not so.

Evaluate:

The surprising result that tap water and bottled water do not differ much as proved by ordinary people in an ordinary experiment anyone could conduct, will appeal to the target audience and make them more likely to accept the author’s ideas.

 

Identify:

The author describes the water-connected problems people face in developing countries which might make the reader sad.

Analyze:

Though people in developed countries are used to living convenient lives, people face many problems and illnesses in developing countries, many of which are connected to poor clean water supply, this is a known fact which makes hardly anyone happy, but rather makes people sad.

Evaluate:

The author describes the known hardships of living in developing countries which will make the reader sad and also make them feel symphony for those people. The known sad fact which has been proved will grant credibility to the author’s ideas.

Logical Appeals

Identify:

The author gives the results of the studies on tap water as compared to bottled water, showing that the latter is not more clean or healthy than the former one.

Analyze:

The author provides data attained from the experiments conducted by researchers from Cleveland and the University of Geneva, which show the little difference between tap and bottled water.

Evaluate:

Seeing that the author’s claim has been proved by researches will make the author’s ideas more reliable and credible.

 

Identify:

The author shows that if a quarter of money put into the bottled water industry will be given to water projects in developing countries, the problems connected with poor clean water supply and poor sanitation could be solved.

Analyze:

The writer provides data from the Water Management Institute, which show the cost of improving sanitation and supplying developing countries with clean water. This cost is much smaller than the estimated sum of money spent annually on bottled water.

Evaluate:

Water related issues in the developing countries are one of the most important, target readers surely realize this importance. The author provides an idea for the needed sources of money to solve these problems, this might make the readers more likely to support his ideas.

Character Appeals

Identify:

The author claims the popularity of bottled water illogical and even distasteful. He is here critical and skeptical as to how people in developed countries treat clean water as something taken for granted.

Analyze:

The author is being skeptical of how a typical person in a developed country treats the abundance of clean water, while people in developing countries struggle against the lack of clean water.

Evaluate:

The author’s criticizing the usual views puts him into contrast with the public opinion, but as his claims are proved by arguments this might make the reader more likely to accept his ideas.

 

Identify:

In the last passage the author claims that if the reader does not trust him their can set up their own water tasting experiment and see that he is right claiming that tap water is not much different form bottled water, by this he shows he is not different form any ordinary reader.

Analyze:

Here the author presents himself as a simple person and quite likeable, showing that to construct his argument he used the means which are practically available to those willing to do the same.

Evaluate:

Showing that the author is no different from his readers makes him likeable and grants him credibility, which will make the reader more likely to support his ideas.

Textual Analysis Essay

The author centers his article around the topic of bottled water as compared to tap water. His claim is that tap water is not much different from tap water and spending money on it is illogical. The sums spent annually on bottled water can be used for a more worthy purpose of providing the clean water supply in developing countries and improving sanitation there. 

Firstly, the author describes an easy practical experiment to support his claim. This experiment can be repeated by anyone willing to do so. The author and his friends set up water tasting to evaluate different brands of bottled water, a sample of tapped water was also included. The experiment showed that there is hardly any difference between bottled and tap water. This little experiment is appealing to the reader due to its simplicity and grants a certain degree of credibility to the author’s ideas. But it referred only to the taste qualities of bottled and tap water and at this point not many readers will be convinced that tap and bottled water are alike. To further strengthen his argument the author provided the result of researches conducted to explore the difference in chemical qualities of tap and bottled water. The research of bottled water and tap water samples from Cleveland has shown that bottled water does not ensure its purity as in almost a quarter of bottled samples the levels of bacteria were higher than in tap water. The research by the University of Geneva has also shown that bottled water is not better than tap water when regarding their nutrition characteristics. The author provides the results of the research by the University of Texas which has shown that even if a person does not drink tap water they still encounter the chemicals present in it by inhaling them when using a dishwasher or taking a shower. Bottled water is also harmful for the environment as it is produced in plastic bottles and stored in refrigerators. These facts are proved by researchers and are very likely to make the readers doubt whether bottled water is really that healthy as it is thought to be.

The author also presents the financial point of view regarding bottled water. Consumption of bottled water is growing rapidly around the world. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans spent $9.8 billion dollars on bottled water in 2005. Globally, it is now a $46 billion industry. When compared, bottled water is more expensive than gasoline with its high price. If compared to tap water it is 250 or more times more expensive. These figures are most likely new and surprising to the readers and well support the author’s argument.

Having shown the lack of qualitative difference between tap water and bottled water the author claims the popularity of bottled water illogical. He claims that Americans are spoilt by the abundance of clean water, but in the developing countries 40 percent of the world’s population struggle against poor clean water supply and bad sanitation. According to the World Health Organization a large percentage of illness in the world are water-related. These facts are quite known and depressing and will provoke sympathy in the readers. This is an important issue which needs to be dealt with and further the author suggests a solution. Taking into account the amount of money spent on bottled water globally per year and the estimated costs of providing clean water and proper sanitation for the inhabitants of developing countries, it is made seen that for a quarter of money spent on bottled water these issues can be resolved. This is a very appealing claim as it introduces an easy answer to a complex and important problem, showing that any person can make a difference by not spending money on bottled water by giving it to water charities.

The author makes a likeable claim by addressing an important current issue, supporting his claim by various convincing arguments and presenting a new way to look at such an ordinary object as a bottle of drinking water.

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