In the story Unexpected Love, a geeky protagonist, Dexter, and his three jock brothers pursue the same girl on prom night, Marissa Sanders, trying to impress her and win her over. Throughout the story, multiple rhetorical devices such as encomium, antithesis, and euphonies are used to develop the characters, specifically Marissa, and to allow the reader to better relate to how the characters are feeling.
Encomium is an expression of praise, and in this case was an expression of love by Dexter and his brothers to Marissa. Firstly, Marissa Sanders was already extensively detailed as a figure of beauty by the narrator “The most beautiful, perhaps it’s not an exaggeration to say- the most attractive girl in the entire school” 3, Group. “Unexpected Love.” (ENG 101: Choose Your Own Adventure, 13 Apr. 2018, scholarblogs.emory.edu/chooseyourownadventure/storium-project/unexpected-love/.) Her image was also contributed to by what the other characters thought of her, and by them fighting over her. Since every other character, Dexter and his three brothers, all love her, each one expresses their encomium for her.
The expression of encomium for Marissa helps show depth to their character traits. His brothers refer to her by saying “My god she’s SO HOT today!”, whereas Dexter thinks of her as “Absolutely stunning. A complete goddess.” The jocks went on to say things to her like “Hey babe, I bet you’re in need of someone tonight. Nobody is going to be a good enough as me.” Whereas Dexter offered her his coat and danced with her. The difference in how Dexter expresses his love for Marissa versus how his brothers express their love for Marissa gives the reader a sense of how intellectual and genuine each of Dexter and his brothers are. Their praise for her varies, showing the reader that Dexter is quite more sophisticated and genuine than his brothers.
By presenting each way the different characters present encomium for Marissa, the reader can also see how complex Marissa is. Just as the characters that are giving the encomium are developed by it, the way Marissa handles recieveing it allows her to be developed as a character. The contrast in ways of encomium Marissa is presented with give Marissa choices, and by making cartain choices she shows the reader what type of character she is.
Another rhetorical device used in Unexpected Love is the use of antithesis between the characters interacting with her, and how Marissa reacts to their differences. The juxtaposition between the how protagonist, Dexter, and his nasty brothers act towards Marissa shows how she reacts to different scenarios. By having the ultra-popular jocks fighting for her, and her refusing all of them created a sense of nobility for her, as she was more concerned with how she would be treated by them instead of their reputation as football stars. This idea is coupled with the other side of the antithesis, which is how the nerdy, unpopular Dexter treats her. “A-a-re you cold? H-h-here-! Take my jacket!” (3, Group. “Unexpected Love.” ENG 101: Choose Your Own Adventure, 13 Apr. 2018, scholarblogs.emory.edu/chooseyourownadventure/storium-project/unexpected-love/.)
Although Dexter doesn’t have the presentation, or the pathos that his brothers carry with them, Marissa is able to pick up on his chivalrous traits, or rather the good ethos that he has. By having these two events happen to Marissa on the same night, and presenting the way she reacts to each one to the reader, Marissa gained complexity as a character for the better, showing the readers that she values thoughtfulness over machismo.
Lastly, euphonesis is used throughout the story to add depth and emotion to the story, because at the end of the day it is in fact a love story. Phrases like “…*what*…?” are used to show surprise by the jock brothers when turned down by Marissa, and phrases like “He…eey…” (3, Group. “Unexpected Love.” ENG 101: Choose Your Own Adventure, 13 Apr. 2018, scholarblogs.emory.edu/chooseyourownadventure/storium-project/unexpected-love/) by Dexter to show his awkwardness and timidness around her. Since there was a word limit when the authors wrote it, it likely created a challenge to create vivid emotions and reactions in a scene without going over the word limit. Often times authors who don’t have a word limit create in depth scenes with back stories as to what lead to the current scene, or what other things each of the characters in the scene may be thinking of. But in this case, the scenes had to be simplified, which made for the use of euphonesis a good option. These euphonesis by the characters allowed for the readers to get a good idea of how a character is feeling at that given moment after interacting with Marissa. This allowed the reader to see how Marissa caused another character to feel surprised, or even nervous at a given moment.