Rhetorical Analysis of Hailey Hardcastle’s

Rhetorical Analysis of Hailey Hardcastle’s
📌Category: Speech
📌Words: 706
📌Pages: 3
📌Published: 23 April 2021

Hailey Hardcastle, developer of the “House Bill 2191”, and former president of the Oregon Association of Student Councils, in her speech “Why students should be offered mental health days” (2020) argues that schools should provide days for mental wellbeing and give students time to improve emotional health beyond stigma. Hailey Hardcastle’s speech on Mental Health Days encompasses a conflict that affects all humans. She digs deep into the importance surrounding mental health, by having useful perception on why mental health days are necessary.  Hardcastle successfully develops her argument through the use of personal involvement and statistics which allows her to create emotional points. Hailey Hardcastle successfully projects the importance of mental health days by using her chronological experience to emotionally and logically appeal the audience.- second thesis which one makes more sense?

Hardcastle begins her speech by effectively establishing an emotional connection with the audience. She creates this sentimental association by sharing a personal fact about herself “I have trauma-induced anxiety and clinical depression.” In doing so, she lays a foundation of trust and credibility to follow the rest of her speech. Many school district officials in several states claim that mental health days are not a “valid excuse” towards absences. However, by emphasizing at the start of her speech “I was allowed to take three mental health rest days every semester as long as I continued to do well in school. This was because I started my mental health journey when I was only six years old.” Hardcastle makes the point that having those mental days as an option allowed her to be a healthy and successful student. While Hardcastle starts her speech by creating a sense of pathos, she strategically shares individual experience to underline the aspect of ethos. 

In order to build up her speech, Hardcastle adds to her credibility and trust by providing statistics that describe the negative effects on students when they are not given mental health days. While logically appealing the audience, at the same time, the speaker is using facts to deliver a successful argument. Not only does Hardcastle speak upon a general statistic, she also mentions a fact based on her experience. She does this by first stating “Unfortunately, my hometown was touched by multiple suicides during my first year in high school. I saw those tragedies shake our entire community,” which sets a precedent to her second fact “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 24 in Oregon”. By basing both of the speakers data points on a very sensitive and sentimental topic, she is able to strongly entice her argument to the opposing views. Furthermore, Hardcastle adds information about the solutions she was involved in towards offering students mental health days. In stating “We made a committee called Students for a Healthy Oregon, and we set out to end the stigma against mental health.” and “We put forth House Bill 2191. Bill allows students to take mental health days off from school the same way you would a physical health day” Hardcastle sets herself up to prove how mental health days became prominent solutions. In the end, Hardcastle ties her argument together by mentioning that her solutions will keep track of student mental health absences which will initially “Catch students who are struggling before it's too late.” Hardcastles statistics not only aid the audience to view her argument with a stronger sense of trust, they create a chronological format in her speech that helps project her argument. -iffy??

Moreover, while the facts that Hardcastle projects involve a building of credibility they also serve as emotional appeals to the audience. This is clearly evident when the speaker says “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 24 in Oregon. The second leading cause.”  Hardcastle purposely repeats “The second leading cause” and even adds a pause to create emotional emphasis within the audience. In addition, as previously stated, suicide is a topic that makes most people feel a sorrowful emotion. However, the speaker deliberately brought up the topic to once and for all grasp the audience’s attention as she would go on to deliver solutions she is fighting for. 

Hardcastle convinces the audience that schools should offer mental health days to students through the successful use of rhetorical devices and the mindful arrangement of her speech. By engaging the rhetorical appeals to one other, Hardcastle uses her familiarity with mental wellbeing and provides solutions for students to enhance theirs. By leveraging her chronological knowledge to emotionally and objectively draw the viewer, Hailey Hardcastle successfully forecasts the importance of mental health days.


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