May 14, 2020
Analyze any one of the two short speeches below from the point of view of their appeals,
organization, and style. In your analysis, demonstrate your knowledge/ understanding of the
three means of persuasion– what makes, in Aristotle’s view, a speech effective/ persuasive.
George Graham Vest’s speech “Tribute to the Dog”
William Lyon Phelps’s speech “The Pleasure of Books”
Limit your answer to 400 words. Submit your paper by 8:00 PM, May 14, 2020.
Tribute to the Dog
George Graham Vest
Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become
his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those
who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name
may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from
him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-
considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success
is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never
deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands
by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground,
where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's
side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come
in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he
were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation
falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful
dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to
fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its
embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their
way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad,
but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.
George Graham Vest – c. 1855
The Pleasure of Books
William Lyon Phelps
The habit of reading is one of the greatest resources of mankind; and we enjoy reading books
that belong to us much more than if they are borrowed. A borrowed book is like a guest in the
house; it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality. You must see
that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof. You cannot leave it
carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, you cannot use it familiarly. And
then, some day, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it.
But your own books belong to you; you treat them with that affectionate intimacy that
annihilates formality. Books are for use, not for show; you should own no book that you are
afraid to mark up, or afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down. A good reason for
marking favorite passages in books is that this practice enables you to remember more easily the
significant sayings, to refer to them quickly, and then in later years, it is like visiting a forest
where you once blazed a trail. You have the pleasure of going over the old ground, and recalling
both the intellectual scenery and your own earlier self.
Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth; the instinct of private property,
which is fundamental in human beings, can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils.
One should have one's own bookshelves, which should not have doors, glass windows, or keys;
they should be free and accessible to the hand as well as to the eye. The best of mural
decorations is books; they are more varied in color and appearance than any wallpaper, they are
more attractive in design, and they have the prime advantage of being separate personalities, so
that if you sit alone in the room in the firelight, you are surrounded with intimate friends. The
knowledge that they are there in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing. You do not have
to read them all. Most of my indoor life is spent in a room containing six thousand books; and I
have a stock answer to the invariable question that comes from strangers. "Have you read all of
"Some of them twice." This reply is both true and unexpected.
There are of course no friends like living, breathing, corporeal men and women; my devotion to
reading has never made me a recluse. How could it? Books are of the people, by the people, for
the people. Literature is the immortal part of history; it is the best and most enduring part of
personality. But book-friends have this advantage over living friends; you can enjoy the most
truly aristocratic society in the world whenever you want it. The great dead are beyond our
physical reach, and the great living are usually almost as inaccessible; as for our personal friends
and acquaintances, we cannot always see them. Perchance they are asleep, or away on a journey.
But in a private library, you can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or
Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy. And there is no doubt that in
these books you see these men at their best. They wrote for you. They "laid themselves out," they
did their ultimate best to entertain you, to make a favorable impression. You are necessary to
them as an audience is to an actor; only instead of seeing them masked, you look into their
innermost heart of heart.
William Lyon Phelps – 1933