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Kevin Tran
UWRT 1101-005
Professor Bladl
Rhetorical elements and Comics
Rhetoric is the study of effective speaking and writing. Rhetoric exist in all forms and is
commonly used among people to create a sense of persuasion. Rhetoric is expressed through
speech and writing, which includes movies, comics, and even memes. John Beardens comics
are a great source to analyze since he uses many elements within his comic to create rhetoric.
John Bearden generally posts his comics on social media platforms, such as Facebook, and are
also incorporated into many other websites and forums as well. The genres of his comics vary
because he incorporates many different styles within his comics, but in his comic When the Cold
Weather Strikes he uses a very controversial topic as a baseline to his humor. The analyzation of
this comic could help form an idea of what types of ideas and elements form rhetoric.
The comic that is in question is a very interesting one because in this comic he pokes fun
at depression, which could be controversial to some. In the two-panel comic, there is a male
character with winter clothes on. The setting takes place in a cold, windy environment. The
characters eyes and cheeks have been colored red to indicate that it is freezing outside. In the
second panel, he says Great, now Im numb on the outside too. In the second panel, the
characters hands are also frozen solid as well, which indicates that he is physically and
emotionally frozen. The addition of the comment that the character says shows that he is
depressed on the inside since he indicates that he was originally numb on the inside before the


cold weather even started. This comic is a great example to analyze because the comic has a lot
of elements that contribute to the meaning of this comic. This comic contains Pathos, Ethos, and
The comic contains Logos, because logically, you would feel cold on the outside if it was
freezing outside, but if you were to feel sad or depressed, It could be said that you feel cold on
the inside as well. When people read this comic, they understand it because the comic is logical.
The incorporation of the setting and text lets the audience understand that the person in the comic
is cold. The incorporation of what the character says plays a big role in the rhetoric as well. Since
the character said that he was numb on the outside too, it must mean that he was numb even
before the cold weather hit, which most likely means that he is depressed. The imagery that is
presented has both a logical and emotional standpoint embedded within it. The author mixes
these two elements to help create a more enjoyable comic. The author uses the cold setting to
symbolize what it feels like to be depressed and uses the setting as a figurative feeling for
The authors audience is anyone who uses social media, or any type of news forums or
sites that let you interact with others. The authors purpose is to create humor on a controversial
topic to try to create a better light on the topic of depression. His intentions were to make a
comic that was relatable to a group of people, but to also cheer them up so they do not always
feel sad. Although this comic may seem that it is guided towards people who are depressed, his
comic could also be for people who dont experience depression as well. He tries to shed light on
how depression feels like, and he tries to joke about it so the subject of depression so the topic
does not always have a dark connotation.


The ethos of this comic comes from the author because he has built a reputation for
himself. He writes comics on Facebook, but they are constantly shared throughout different
websites. I found his post on a website named Reddit, which is a news and discussion website. I
have also found his post on Imgur, which is an online image sharing website. The author is not
the biggest comic writer, but he is still credible since he is well known around certain social
media websites. His comics have made it to many popular websites, and he has gained a lot of
fame and positivity when they are featured.
This comic contains pathos as well. The comic touches on a very controversial topic, but
also invokes humor upon it, which could cause problems. The mocking of depression plays an
important role in the development of ethos in this comic. The purpose of the comic was to create
a sense of relatability with its readers by trying to make the topic humorous. Readers who feel
depress might read this and relate to the feeling, but may also laugh because they might think it
is fun. Through this use of relatability, the author of the comic appeals to the readers emotions.
When the reader reads the comic, they feel emotion, which makes them feel relatable with the
comic. When a reader relates with a text, they tend to feel positive towards it because they can
see themselves within the text, which makes the reader enjoy the text. The author of this comic
used pathos to try to appeal to the emotions of the reader, he wants them to relate to the topic so
that he may create humor within the topic. When the reader relates with the topic, the meaning
behind the humor the author makes does not get lost when the humor is presented.
In conclusion, the comic had many aspects within it. The use of pathos, ethos, and
logos makes the comic relatable, which makes people like the comic. Either though the comic
touches on a very questionable topic, it can pull it off because the way the comic writer used the
elements made it so the reader does not see the topic in an offensive way. Another factor would


probably that a lot of people today may feel depressed, thus having a feeling of relatability when
reading the comic. Overall the main reason why this comic invokes relatability is through its use
of pathos, logos, and ethos.


Works Cited
When the cold weather strikes. Digital Image. John Bearden Imgur. N.p., 29 Oct. 2016. Web. 29
Oct. 2016.