Rhetorical Analysis of Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin’”
Rick Bragg’s essay “All Over But the Shoutin’” illustrates all the things that make a memoir relatable. The writer expresses his personal and intimate reflections, making the reader empathize with his story. In this essay Bragg focuses on showing you what it was like for him, as a teenage boy, facing his absent, alcoholic, dying father. In “All Over But the Shoutin’” the author uses short but distinct dialogue, expressive imagery, and a resentful tone to portray the importance and significance of this moment of his life.
With the use of descriptive imagery Bragg conveys how uncomfortable he was during the meeting with his father who had been gone most of his life, leaving his mother struggling to raise him and his brothers by herself. For instance, as he reflects on the house his father is living in he compares what his own house looked like growing up and how it differs. As the story goes on the imagery intensifies when after his father has a coughing fit that stains his beard and lips red with blood, Bragg doesn’t want to touch him, and is ashamed that he doesn’t want to shake his father’s hand. He describes his dad as “this man was as dead as a man could be, and this was what remained, like when a snake sheds its skin and leaves a dry and brittle husk of itself hanging in the Johnson grass” (154). Another use of imagery is when he describes his dad as a “ghost of a man, his hair and beard long and gray, his face pale and cut with deep groves” (153). When Bragg describes the coughing fit and the sound of his father’s voice, the reader can hear his dying father also.
Another rhetorical device used in this essay is short but effective dialogue. After introducing the readers to his father, Bragg uses dialogue to express how uncomfortable the situation is. After his father asks how the other members of the family are he says, “They ain’t never come to see me. How come?” (155). This short...