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Rhetorical Analysis of A Deal In Wheat

Cesar Chavez
The University of Texas at El Paso

Rhetorical Analysis of A Deal In Wheat

The A Deal In Wheat story is a short story written by Frank Norris; an American novelist,
during the Progressive Era, writing predominantly in the naturalist genre. The short story
focuses on a time of struggle; where the business of wheat operations disintegrated at a rapid
rate, and farmers as Sam Lewiston were left with nothing due to the harsh circumstances in
which the wheat operations deteriorated. Many farmers were left devastated and with nothing
left, but just as the farmers, great operators who traded the wheat also saw the dark side of the
struggle. In this story Frank Norris refers to Truslow and Hornungs; two powerful men in the
wheat business who thought they had everything under control and thought they were making
strategic moves that at the end would benefit their wheat business, yet at the end everyone was
left in ruins by the wheat operation. The authors strategic way of writing to inform and capture
the attention of the reader makes it clear for the reader to identify the use of ethos pathos and
The reader can identify the use of ethos in this story by learning about the author Frank Norris;
Frank Norris was a naturalist genre novelist, which means that what he wrote was based on
detailed realism in order to suggest social conditions. The author of this short story was a
novelist during the Progressive Era, an era in which the government granted monopolies many
exclusive privileges. The authors familiarity to the era was an advantage and a great support to
write A Deal In Wheat. Frank Norris was also a journalist and a leader of the Naturalism
movement, Frank strongly believed that a novel should serve a moral purpose. The novel with a
purpose, he explained, brings the tragedies and grieves of others to notice and prove that

injustice, crime, and inequality do exist. The author tried to convey the story in its most natural
way in a manner to inform and being very realistic.
The author also has a very unique way of using pathos in this story by writing about the wheat
operations in different points of views. At the beginning of the story the author recounts the
story of Sam Lewiston; a wheat farmer who losses everything after the drop in the price of
wheat, which was selling at sixty-two cents a bushel. After losing everything Sam and his wife
had to turn over their entire property to their creditors, and, leaving Kansas for good, had to
abandon farming, his wife moved to her sisters boarding house in Topeka while he founded a
steady job in Chicago. The author then moves on to the story of two powerful men in the wheat
business; Truslow and Hornungs, who fight for the complete control of the wheat business. In
order to get Truslow out of the business, Hornungs sells him wheat properties, with the plan of
leaving him in bankruptcy. Later it turned out that Truslow was selling the same wheat that
Hornungs was selling him, but selling it a higher price; causing the increase on the price of
wheat. The author knowledge on the matter of monopolies and capitalism is very strong which
made the story very solid in pathos.
The story has a unique use of logos throughout the story. The author use of speech and
metaphors stand out in the story. The author divides the short story in five parts in which he
describes the point of view in the wheat issue of Sam Lewiston, Truslow and Hornungs. The
way he divided the story makes it simpler for the reader to understand the situation that is being
presented and understand how is being a challenge to different people. Frank also uses quotes
which give voice to the people being portrayed in the story. By doing so the readers can

understand more in depth the feelings and the way each character express themselves according
to the situation they are confronting. The use of metaphors also stand out in the story, the author
uses several metaphors as when he portrays the thoughts of Hornungs towards Truslow,
Truslow once dead was dead, but the Bear was never more dangerous than when desperate.
The story focuses on the devastation of the wheat business, how a farmer struggles to survive in
a time of crisis, but at the end losses all of his possessions, giving him no other alternative but to
seek job in order to survive and support himself and his wife. Then he goes into detail as to how
the farmer struggle was affected by the inconsiderate decisions of two powerful men in the wheat
business. This storys complications and desperate decisions for survival in a monopoly generate
a very good use of rhetoric because it uses ethos, pathos, and logos very effectively.
Norris, F. (1903). A deal in wheat. United States. Doubleday, Page & Company. Retrieved from:
PBS. (2007) The American Novel. Retrieved from: