Rhetorical Analysis


This paper contains a rhetorical analysis of two online articles;https:thecollegeinvestor.com/23259/should-college-be-free/ and https://nortonnorris.com/free-college-bad-idea/ that both discuss the issue ‘whether college education should be made free.’ The paper will present a review of the similarities and differences between the two articles that have different views of the same topic.

Background Information

The first article is authored by The College Investor and was last updated on November 30, 2018, by Robert Farrington. Vince Norton has authored the other on March 16, 2018.

The subject topic is on making college education free in the United States of America. Robert Farrington, in his argument, takes a neutral place on the issue. He argues on whether or not college education should be made free, providing ideas to support both cases. Vince Norton, on the other hand, is more contrary to the issue of making college education free. All his arguments are against making college education free.

The two works can be considered similar in that they have similar target audiences. Both authors aim at presenting their work to the government, students and the general public. Vince Norton, for example, wants to show the government how disadvantageous free colleges would be. Robert Farmington, on the other hand, presents the governments with two arguments of the same issue thus providing them with a choice of which is the better.

The articles are different in that, the College Investor’s report by Robert Farrington looks at the colleges in the whole of America (he does not specify any particular state). Vince Norton is more specific to targeting New York. This is after Ney York’s governor promised to introduce free college education like in Oregon and Tennessee.

The authors of the two works are very skillful at using rhetorical moves. They are quite persuasive in the presentation of their arguments and also very useful in the language that they use. Examples of rhetorical moves they use include; humor, irony, an understatement. Vince Norton, for instance, uses irony when he says, “…crippling student debt,” to explain how free education will lead to massive debt. This exaggerates the debt and helps the audience to see the criticalness of the argument. The two authors also include statistics in their work. They both state the numbers of the number of loans that students borrow and the fees paid in several colleges in America. This is done to ensure that the target readers get factual information.

As for the Tone, both the authors use a serious tone. This is influenced by the nature of the topic being addressed. More specifically, Vince Norton uses a political tone. This is because the situation in New York is a political manifesto of the local government. The two authors ensured their tones remained formal so that they could reach the targeted audience, including the government. This tone also plays a very critical role in ensuring their information remains credible to address a public situation/issue. Attitude: As mentioned earlier, Vince Norton maintains a negative reaction to support where he stands on the topic. This enforces how bad free college would be. On the contrary, Robert’s attitude varies from positive (as he supports free college) and cynical as he argues against the topic.

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. Both the authors have an excellent appeal to ethos. They both present their articles in a very credible way. That is, their information can be used to tackle real situations. The argument in both articles is both valid and applicable, and they have ensured credibility through the use of facts and statistics. Their cases are also subjects to logos. This means that the arguments have valid inference and have the truth. This is proved by the fact that they have provided facts to support their arguments. Pathos, though slightly present, is not a very significant feature in both of the work. This is because they are not emotional works. The only motion that can slightly be identified in the works is a concern. The authors are concerned about how making free education may affect the different parties at play (students and country).


In conclusion, the topic of a free college education is very complicated and cannot be understood by just reading these two articles. It can be more critically understood through further research, and a case study needs to be conducted primarily in nations with an advanced literacy level around the globe.  This paper has been critical in identifying the way the two articles are different and similar, making it more comfortable for the audience to decide if making colleges free is good or bad.


Works Cited


Farrington, Robert. “Should College Be Free,” The College Investor. 30 November 2018, https://thecollegeinvestor.com/23259/should-college-de-free/

Norton, Vince. “Free College is a Bad Idea.” 16 March 2018, https://nortonnorris.com/free-college-bed-idea/