Late night on Monday, I received a phone call from my mother that a good friend of mine had been hospitalized for attempting suicide. The initial shock I felt is hard to describe, but after a day or two I decided I wanted to do something about it. Since I have been thinking so much about it, I decided to make my style guide a little different than the norm. I decided to write about mental health as a rhetorical figure. The purpose of this style guide to to help aspiring writers incorporate current issues that they are passionate about into their writing to make a positive impact on their readers, regardless of what kind of piece they are writing.
In order to incorporate an issue into a piece of your writing, it is important to first determine what you want the readers to learn about the issue. Mental health was a underlying theme in a book I read over Winter Break called “Mosquitoland,” and I noticed the way the present the character with mental health issues really educates the reader a lot about mental health. Knowing this, I am going to do a rhetorical analysis of each of the protagonists in “Harmonia”, “Unexpected Love” and “The Violin” in order to guide writers on how to better utilize the characters to advocate for awareness about certain issues. In this case, the issue is mental health.
In Harmonia, Diana is described as a woman who at first is very lonely and depressed because of the loss of her father and the financial hardships she faces. At one point, she even had thoughts of “just giving up farming and selling the land to Mr. Roccafella” (thePHEONIX et al.). If the writers could have developed the character a lot more in terms of her mental health and described more about the issue she was going though, it could perhaps serve as an entertaining source to gain more information about depression and purpose. Abraham Maslow found out from his research that the gap between what one actually is an what one is capable of is one of the reasons. I think this story did a good job showing this aspect as they provide Diana with the idea to bring the concert to her farm and show the readers that they are capable of anything if they have a positive mind and take action towards their goals instead of drowning in their sadness and loneliness. Writers should keep in mind to the extent to which the show the problems the characters are facing as well as solutions to those problems. They should also be aware of how the solution will benefit the readers. In this case, Diana is clearly struggling with loneliness and depression, and while the writer cannot fully address the problem, and since they are not trained to deal with issues such as these, the least they can do is to show that there is a way out of whatever problem the reader is facing.
Another example of how writers can help raise awareness of an issue through a story is “The Violin.” In “The Violin” Jink faces a traumatic problem as her father is murdered with an object she hold very dear to her heart. The writer can take a different approach to inform the reader about how to deal with a traumatic experience. Unlike “Harmonia”, that offers a solution to the problem by combining both Diana’s passion and responsibility, “The Violin” could be used as a guide of what to avoid doing when facing a difficult situation. In the end of the story, Jink exclaims ““ I can’t believe you didn’t get the violin for me Arthur. Was that too much to ask? You could’ve stopped all this madness from happening. Why are you so stubborn sometimes?” (Soaser et al.) This exclamation lets to a argument between Jink and her boyfriend that eventually leads to a break up. This ending to the story pretty abrupt, but it does show the after effects of a traumatic experience. This story doesn’t offer a solution but it does raise some awareness about how a dramatic experience can impact a person. Through the use of the vivid imagery of the murder scene and the after effects on Jink, the writers show to the audience the effects trauma can have on a person. As a writer its important to be descriptive, but in order to have an impact on the reader, its is important to explain more about the impact of the traumatic experience on the character.
Finally, in “Unexpected Love” Dexter is portrayed as a unpopular nerd who is bullied by his brothers. The writers do an amazing job describing how Dexter is treated by his brothers and they do a good job of how Dexter handles the situation as well. I think bullying can also affect one mental health, so as a writer it is important to focus on the solution as well as the problem. Dexter doesn’t really care about what his brothers or anybody else thinks of him, so he brings a book to prom. The writers make effective use of how to handle bullying.
Overall, as a writer, it is important to fully understand the issue you are writing about and how to show the effects of the issue on the characters. It is also paramount to show to the readers that the issues can be overcome and how to overcome them. Writing is a powerful tool to make a change in society and help others thrive, so it is important to write with passion and a lot of description in order to get the message across to the reader. You need to write something that will stick with them long after they read the book, such as Diana’s ambitious and successful goal, the sadness in Jink’s heart after her fathers murder, and Dexter’s strength despite the bullying. These characters provide the readers with examples on how to handle issues and as the writer it is salient to write clearly with the purpose in mind.
“Unexpected Love.” Storium.
“The Violin.” Storium. Scene 3.
“Harmonia.” Storium. Scene 2.