Letters to the editor often give the average person a soapbox to express their opinion. But in order have their letters published and to persuade the most amount of people, authors of these letters often include a number of the features known as the 10 essential components to improve their writing. Joseph Henderson’s use of the 10 Essential Components in his letter to the editor titled “An Hourly Worker’s Questions for the President” helps make a persuasive case for the reader. In his letter Henderson used many of the original ten components including “A Call to Action”, “The Rhetorical Flourish”, “Your Credentials”, “The Citation”, and “An Objection”.
The first of the 10 Essential Components that Henderson uses is “The Citation”. Henderson’s use of this component helps persuade the reader by letting them know who the author is responding to and what their point of view might be. In addition, this citation likely helped this letter get published, as the citation is a crucial part of the letter to the editor format. In summation Henderson’s use of “The Citation” improves his letter to the editor and helps make a more persuasive case.
Another component Henderson uses that enhances his letter is “Your Credentials”. He uses this component when he exclaims “I am a 65-year-old hourly employee at a hotel in Durham, N.C.” (Henderson). His use of this component lets the reader know that he is personally affected by what he is writing about and is invested in his argument. Additionally, this component shows the reader that He has a firsthand understanding of what he is writing about. Furthermore, Henderson being personally affected by the topic he is writing about could help him gain sympathy from the reader. If he did not use this component in his writing it could have damaged its persuasive case by making it less likely that the reader would trust his authority on the subject and have sympathy to his plight. All in all, the use of credentials by Henderson enhanced his letter’s persuasiveness by drawing sympathy from the reader and letting the reader know that he has a personal stake in the issue he is writing about.
The next component Henderson uses is “Rhetorical Flourish”. This component helps invoke an emotional response from the reader that may persuade them to the author’s side. Henderson uses this component when he exclaims “And then, too, many parents will learn they can’t be home to make their children’s dinner and have to scramble for child care. And then, many of us will learn our desperately needed 40 hours have been trimmed and the coming paycheck slashed” (Henderson). This example appeals to the reader’s sense of family and emotions which can help persuade the reader to the author’s side. To conclude Henderson uses the “Rhetorical Flourish” to effectively appeal to the readers morality which can shift them to his side.
A further component Henderson used in his letter was “An Objection”. This component involves refuting a claim made by the author you are responding to. Henderson uses this component when he asserts “But that rosy portrait of job creation and increased wages is not borne out by the realities many of us live with. Certainly not in my hometown and certainly not among the millions of workers waiting for next week’s schedule to post” (Henderson). This component is used to show the reader that the opposing side’s claims are false. If Henderson did not use this component it would be unlikely that readers would be persuaded by him because he would not be proving anything wrong. To sum it up Henderson’s use of this component makes a persuasive case for the reader by refuting the person the author is responding to.
The last of the 10 essential components that Henderson uses is “A Call to Action”. This component is used at the end of the letter when Henderson asserted “And surely we as a people can do better than this.” (Henderson). In this statement he is calling for people to take action against unfair labor practices and demand better for themselves. This component serves the purpose of getting people to take action in favor of the author’s viewpoint. If it were not included perhaps the reader would have been persuaded but would have not done anything to help the cause. In conclusion this component helps make a persuasive case for the reader by encouraging them to act in support of the author’s argument.
In closing Henderson’s ample use of the 10 Essential Components greatly increases his letter’s persuasiveness. If Henderson did not include any of these components it is unlikely that his letter would have persuaded anyone at all. Although Henderson’s letter does not contain all ten of the components it still managed to be persuasive. In the end Henderson effectively used The 10 Essential Components to make a very persuasive case for the reader.