Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness

The Lack of Understanding about Forests

The author worries about how little people in America understand about forests. He is agitated by their lack of interest in forests and the natural world in general, despite their high intelligence. He made the decision to write about science and the environment in addition to participating in social activities like tree walks in an effort to avoid the scenario. His enthusiasm for raising awareness of the wild, and particularly trees, is shown in one of his pieces, "Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness," where he makes extensive use of rhetorical devices.

The Metaphorical Title

Popkin uses a metaphorical title as a rhetorical device to start his piece. The quote "Cure Yourself" attributes to seeking a remedy to a problem that one has. "Tree Blindness" is used metaphorically to imply lack of knowledge or ignorance about trees. The title creates curiosity amongst the audience as they seek to understand the exact meaning of tree blindness.

Ethos and Credibility

The writer initiates his first paragraph by applying the ethos. The opening sentence tells of his vast experience in environmental matters. He has been a leader of the tree walks in Washington D.C. for some years and has interacted with many participants. The interactions have broadened his understanding about their versatility on information about trees. In 2012, the author pursued a course on ecology in Wisconsin where he expanded his knowledge on trees from 2 native species "oak and maple" to 14 species (Popkin). Popkin is also a science and environmental writer. His experience and career qualifications give his addressees an appeal to his credibility.

Sarcasm to Offend and Intrigue

Sarcasm features in the opening paragraph of the article. The author points out the level of sophistication his students have adopted concerning their high level of academic achievements, excellent jobs, ability to effectively speak in multiple languages, and how effortlessly they can command their cellphones and computers yet their knowledge about the trees in their immediate surrounding is highly limited. It is apparently sarcastic for people to be knowledgeable on matters that are considered complex to grasp yet they have no information about fundamental issues. This device is a rhetorical strategy that the writer employs to politely offend his audience and coerce into developing an interest in understanding the natural environment around them specifically about trees.

An Emotional Appeal Through Pathos

The aspect of efficiency in the modern, sophisticated world and nearly no comprehension of the essential nature around the author's addressees develops an emotional appeal hence the application of pathos. People can command gadgets using complicated programming languages, yet they are incapable of naming one tree in their home compounds. Popkin makes his listeners feel dismal about themselves to make them support his argument and course of action. He in facts attaches a reward to those who heed his call. One who takes time to watch and listen to the bumblebees are they buzz around the flowering redbud trees is promised of enthusiasm, that is, they will not be bored by what they are doing. They will feel emotionally redressed.

The Timeliness of the Article

The article came at the time when most people live in cities including himself. Almost everyone is used to feeding on "domesticated Plants" to the extent that "eating parts of wild trees is considered primitive, appears strange, and possibly dangerous" (Popkin). Overdependence on tamed items is considered to contribute to losses worth billions of dollars of high-quality food that is obtainable for free. The author thus applies kairos as a result of the timeliness of his article. It comes at a time when he feels strongly that he will not let the "built environment" tame him as it has done to others. He persuades his readers to agree with an ideology that learning about trees during this era that is infested with tamed plants will make one a true native of America and not a stranger.

A Logical Appeal Through Pathos

The article widely applies pathos. The author wants to make logical sense to lure his readers into submission. For example, Popkin has interacted with many highly educated people during tree walks who have little knowledge about trees, but they are willing to change. The author logically approves his thesis by making it sound palatable since people are eager to expand their understanding about trees irrespective of how profoundly learned and sophisticated they are. Residents of Washington D.C. have adopted more than 300 species of exotic trees, and the author is intrigued by how they are not able to identify them despite their identification being comparable to "a few rules of thumb" (Popkin). He makes it appear extremely easy to identify the trees by taking note of their physical appearance.

Stylistic Devices

A stylistic strategy is used in the article. A simile is used where the author describes how the leaflets of the ash tree are arranged. They are arranged neatly in rows like soldiers. This aspect makes the audience eager to witness this beautiful occurrence of nature. Personification is applied when Popkin states that trees put up a great sex show in wildlife. Trees do not have sex. By great sex, the author is trying to exemplify the beauty of the diversity of the reproductive mechanisms employed by trees to keep their species on progress. He wants the readers to feel the urge of getting out to of their tamed environments, and go out into the wild to experience the attractive occurrence.

Works Cited

Popkin, Gabriel. “Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness.” The New York Times, 26 Aug. 2017,

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