Professor Ed Luter
2 November 2016
A Rhetorical Analysis of “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” by Liza Long
In “I am Adam Lanza 's Mother,” the author, Liza Long’s purpose is to shift the nation’s attention away from other topics to mental health in the wake of a national tragedy because there are many potentially dangerous people suffering from undiagnosed mental illnesses in our society. She does this by sharing her experiences of raising a mentally ill child to the reader and by using rhetorical techniques such as appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos.
Long gains the reader’s attention in the beginning with an appeal to ethos by sharing several violent experiences she has had raising her 13-year-old son. She initially …show more content…
When she says “I love my son. But he terrifies me.” it shows the reader that she has a big problem that may affect her, her son, or other people as since he still has the unpredictable episodes that terrify her. She has even given up her freelance job that she loved for a position at a college so she can get benefits like health insurance that can pay for her son’s care. Long mentions this to the reader so we can see some of the sacrifices that she has made in an attempt to help her son. She has tried taking her son to get help, but has not had a diagnosis or any other progress made. It is like she is stuck in bureaucratic runaround type of situation where she is attempting to get her son help but nobody involved knows or cares enough to do anything. Her exasperation reaches its peak when she simply writes “I need help” on the treatment expectations form. She feels conflicted as she loves her son, but is also terrified of him. She feels like her son is capable of hurting himself, her family, or other people and that it just hasn’t happened yet. Long identifies with the mothers of people whose children have committed violent national tragedies like Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, James Holmes, and Seung-Hui Cho. She feels like they all experienced similar issues during the process of raising their children, such as a lack of help, few …show more content…
She doesn’t want to send her son to jail as she feels like he will have great difficulty adjusting to the chaotic environment and other negative stimuli. This shows the reader that she is stuck between a so-called rock and a hard place. The dilemma is painful to her and the reader as jail is bad for her son and could hurt him, but could be good for her, her family, and other people since he will be unable to hurt anyone there. Is it okay for her to keep her mentally ill and dangerous son at home? I don 't think that it is, but as a mother deciding to send her own child to jail would likely be too painful for her to go through with it. She even describes her son like a normal child by mentioning his love for Harry Potter and stuffed animals to rationalize her feelings to the reader although we all know that there are problems that need to be dealt with. She doesn’t want to send her son to Jail, but has few other options due to the lack of state run treatment centers. She says that prisons are becoming treatment centers for those who have mental illnesses. She backs up her statement by mentioning that in 2011, the LA County Jail and the Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers for the mentally ill. She uses