Essay 1: Rhetorical Analysis

Kenny Cho

Professor Mary Hays

Rhetoric 105

4 February 2016

In Depth Look in the Organizer and his Little Memo Book

Many people in the world like to be organized in some kind of way. It could be as simple as writing down your schedule for the day or organizing your personal desk or even making your bed. In this case, the author of the little memo book that I have observed, who I call “the Organizer”, kept track of the expenses. The memo book is the size of an iPhone with a brown cover titled, “Tumbler Memo Book.” The book was used around 1939 because the owner of this notebook wrote a letter detailing why he started to use such a method of organization after starting school in University of Illinois in 1939. In the letter, the Organizer explains that he started using the memo book in college because of the poor financial status experience during the Great Depression. The Organizer’s thesis of the memo book was to keep himself well organized financially so that the money was being used efficiently and wisely.

The little memo book that the Organizer uses can be used in several ways such as, to plan out the daily schedules, to write down the recipe for dinner, or simply to use it as a diary but the Organizer used it to keep himself financially healthy and organized. There are several supporting reasons on why I believe the Organizer used the notebook the way he did. First, the Organizer stated that he grew up during the depression, which ended the year, the owner of the memo book enrolled in the University of Illinois. Any traumatic experience such as Great Depression would make a person more sensitive to the topic of money and one would be more likely to value money significantly a lot more than someone who hasn’t gone through this kind of tragedy. I would say that this would probably be the biggest reason why the Organizer kept an entire memo book just to be financially organized. Secondly, he wrote in bank details, showing how much was in the bank monthly and how much was withdrawn each time. This keeps a person aware of how much they need to save and how much they can use. Lastly, the Organizer wrote down each and every single item he bought with the date on top. This is helpful because it lets one know what was bought recently, allowing them to figure out what is needed and what is already in possession. The audience the author was targeting with the memo book was none other than himself yet it’s interesting what it makes the readers think about when thinking about the reasons behind this memo book. As a reader, it made me question myself, “Am I spending my money too carelessly?” “Am I not saving enough money in my checking account?” Even though it’s just a personal artifact from about 80 years ago, it made me reflect on myself. Then I thought about what we use in the present to record our expenses. Mankind sure has evolved the technology very significantly because even though some may still use little notebooks to record their expenses and bank transactions, most people use electronics such as phones and laptops. For example, instead of going through the notebook to find what one had bought for a certain price a week ago, he can simply go onto the bank’s application on their phone and scroll down to check when and what kind of transaction took place. On the contrary, using phones to check what we bought and to check how much we have left in our bank account may be easier but there is a saying that if you write down something, you tend to remember better and be conscience about it more.

The warrant of having this notebook for his purpose is simple; to keep organized so that the Organizer can make logical decisions on the wants and needs within the current financial status. There is no direct qualifier that limits the thesis in the current state because the memo book is just filled with records, which are all facts, but if we had any idea of when he started to use the memo book or if he only used it for financial reasons, we may be able to detect a qualifier. Although it is not clearly stated, I do believe there is a rebuttal because it contains records of him buying even a candy bar. So if someone were to ask the Organizer if he thought even the smallest amount of money was worth the time to record in the memo book, I believe he would say it is. Because one of the warrant is to make decisions on his wants, there is a backing. There are traces of the Organizer buying candies and this is a way to relieve stress. I’m not sure if the University of Illinois campus had a gaming room in the basement of the Union back in the late 1930s or the early 1940s but there was also a transaction of a Union fee, which we would pay for bowling and other game activities in the present day. This shows me that the Organizer had fun even with the tight financial status because he was on track financially and was aware of how much was left and how much was to be used for entertainment. By doing this, it proves that he was using the memo book efficiently because part of the purpose was to keep record of the expenses so he can know whether to spend money on entertainment. If the owner of the memo book never purchased this and never adapted to the environment of writing down the expenses, the Organizer could have spent his money recklessly.

If the Organizer’s notebook was alive and it talked, I feel as if it would say something like, “I kept my owner organized and he learned how to value money better than before. Because of me, my owner was able to tell what to purchase and what to not purchase, being more efficient with his money.” Of course the notebook can’t talk, but I feel like this would be a strong logos appeal we would get if it were alive.

Different people in the world like to be organized in their own ways and this specific artifact just happened to have an owner who wanted to be organized financially. I believe that the use of memo book in this case was a very clever idea for the Organizer and it made me reflect on myself, allowing me to learn a couple things throughout my observation of this artifact.