Sophie Keane 2021

Guided Language Analysis

Introduction

In response to the way the media behaves when athletes withdraw from tournaments to look after their mental health, Vanessa Beedleman has proposed that the media should support Osaka to manage her mental health, not criticise her. Using a frustrated, yet empathetic tone, the article attacks journalists and other tennis players, specifically journalists who aim for emotional responses in press conferences. The title “Double-fault: Journos who criticise Naomi Osaka are letting down anyone who deals with depression” seeks to evoke a sense of anger, directed towards the media, within tennis players and fans.

Main Arguments

Osaka is one of the best players in the world and to continue competing at an international level she has to take care of her mental health

The press conferences she faces after every match exist for the sole purpose of sparking an emotional breakdown, and so journalists and newspapers can make money.

Players withdrawing from the tournament due to physical injuries do not provoke criticism like Osaka received for pulling out for mental health issues. Physical injuries should be treated the same as mental illnesses.

Analysis

Beedleman uses a simile when comparing female tennis players to “a piece of dancing meat”. This causes the reader to feel a sense of empathy towards female athletes and reinforces how horrible the press conferences are. This statement urges the reader to seek ways of supporting female athletes like Naomi Osaka.

Beedleman utilises a rhetorical question, stating “does the journalist who denounced Osaka as “lame” and a “princess” for missing that press conference for mental health reasons also begrudge Kvitova for going off to get an MRI?.” With this statement, Beedleman points out that a tennis player who pulled out due to a physical injury was not criticised like Osaka was, who had depression. This injustice evokes anger within the reader. The use of a rhetorical question positions the reader to agree, by assuming their answer will be the same, and the answer is implied.

Beedleman makes use of a pun when she writes “best serve the quality of her game”. She is referring to the fact that a “serve” is how a tennis point is started. This humorous detail engages the reader and stresses the point.  Beedleman’s use of humour with this pun briefly changes the tone to a more light-hearted and amusing tone.

A hyperbole is used by Beedleman when she says “the journalists dragging Osaka over hot coals”. This type of forceful, dramatic language used by Beedleman exaggerates the situation. The hyperbole evokes strong, hateful emotions, inspiring people to look out for those around them who might be experiencing mental illnesses.

Beedleman utilises emotive language when she writes about how forcing athletes to play through injuries “mutilates bodies” and “destroys careers”. This dramatic, emotional language sparks strong feelings of anger and resentment directed towards the media and provokes an emotional response from the reader. The use of emotive language encourages the reader to act emotionally, not rationally and to explore ways of supporting athletes.

Image Analysis

The use of this image highlights the lack of support people with mental illnesses have. The cartoon shows that people experiencing mental illnesses are misunderstood by others. The cartoonist’s attitude is very clear, and they use humour to depict that mental illnesses are often misunderstood. Using a dramatic illustration, the cartoonist humorously depicts a very serious issue in society. The combined illustration and concise, witty text draws attention to an overlooked point of view. The bright colours used draws attention to the image and demonstrates a strong opinion. The use of bright colours in the image also contrasts its dark content. The amusing cartoon savagely persuades the reader to seek ways to help people with mental illnesses by forcefully making a point. The image supports the article because the text is written in the same frustrated, almost sarcastic tone and overly exaggerative style.

Conclusion

The writer persuades the target audience by making use of numerous persuasive language techniques, including emotive language, hyperboles, similes, rhetorical questions and a pun. She suggests that Naomi Osaka and other athletes experiencing depression need more support and less criticism from the media. This is backed up by an image that humorously depicts the serious problem of mental illness. Beedleman put forward three strong arguments that persuade the reader to look for ways of supporting athletes, especially female athletes, and people who have experienced depression.