Rhetorical Analysis
The text that is being analyzed is a music video of ‘Time in a Tree’ by Raleigh Ritchie. In Raleigh’s interview about this song he made, he states that “‘Time in A Tree’ is about needing some peace. Some respite, some time away from your own mind. The ways that you can get in your own way on the way to those things. It’s about the fear of not being deserving of happiness, or that you’re not doing enough to get the kind of happiness you want. It’s about needing validation and confirmation that you’re loved and supported when you’re struggling. It’s about needing time in a tree, like a kid – off the ground and halfway in the sky.” The video starts off with some elevator music as Raleigh walks into an elevator while holding a small tree. It proceeds with a mother and her toddler song while he talks about how he remembers his childhood and how he would like to go back to that time again while he is climbing a tree. “Time in A Tree” serves as a metaphor for seeking out a sense of escapism; a little bit of peace from the noise around you and in your mind. This song is basically about finding peace in yourself and adult anxiety. The anxiety levels that many people go through in their lives. Basically, you are revisiting the traumas you experienced when you were younger and thinking about how they shaped you as a person you are today. This song is mostly about Pathos; it has a lot of emotional appeals. It talks about how his nostalgia when he was a kid and talking about his anxiety.
The sole purpose of this music video is to remind people that it is okay to sit back by yourself and relax to find your peace. Another Pathos in this song is the verse “What a state, I get wound up, from the ground up, And I don’t know why. Turn the sound up, drown the noise out,. Swallow (whoa), don’t cry”, it is about him using avoidance as a coping mechanism. Another ethos text would be, “Most days I struggle, and I get snappy. Fuck all that, I just wanna be happy”, is about being happy no matter what; you can be happy when you are doing things that make you happy. There is so much emotion in this song, especially because this song was written in a span of two days. His description of happiness is being able to accept yourself and accepting other people around you. Being able to accept yourself for who you are is such a big step in life, because then you do not have to worry about what others have to say about you and how they will always find a way to break you down.
The scenes in the actual music video shows some evidence on how and why he needs some peace. There is a scene in the elevator where he is being crowded by music producers and it shows him looking frustrated and eventually screaming at them to leave him alone for now. The next scene is him trying to stop, what looks like his younger self, from leaving and ending up hugging while he sings the verse “I’m needy, greedy, love me, feed me, let’s be a family. It’ll take a village to make a man of me. So why couldn’t you love me? It’s all I need”. In that scene it is really emotional because you literally see the younger version of Raleigh crying after being hugged by the present Raleigh, but young Raleigh still leaves the present-day Raleigh by himself in the elevator. Raleigh realizes that he needs to let people in, he needs to let people take care of him. Trying to do everything by yourself can mentally and physically drain you because you are only relying on yourself without accepting help from others. Another scene in “Time in A Tree” music video is his 10 year old self was trying to hug his teen self, and it shows that he does not want to be loved or bothered by himself.
“Somewhere I can be free, Keep the faith and just be, What you’ll be”, is referring to freedom. Learning to understand yourself better and realizing responsibilities are not about everything. The verse “When I try to leave, sometimes I’m standing in the way”, is basically talking about anxiety and the problem with it. He basically says it is like being surrounded by a brick wall, either in front of you, your left and right side, or even behind you. Focusing on one thing that makes you anxious is like having brick walls closing in on you while you try to run from the problem. It is like all the thoughts you are having because of the anxiety is slowly being thrown at you and you do not know how to deal with it. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is the most accurate description for anxiety. Dealing with anxiety is something that most people have suffered with, so his credibility to explaining it is quite accurate. Sometimes you just want to keep running from these problems because you do not know how to deal with it and how to fix it. He also references Billy Joe’s song “Vienna’, and how it is about how he can do all of this, but not all at once. Just take it one step at a time. You do not have to rush all these things, because if you do, you might become drained and lose motivation.
The verse “I’ve seen things that I never should have seen. Said too many things I didn’t mean. Hurt myself too many times to count, I need to let it out and just release”, is about him being angry as a kid, internally, and how he would conflict injuries on himself from punching inanimate objects. Raleigh explains how if he were able to go back in time, he would love to hug his younger self and tell him that everything will be alright. Being able to go back and tell your younger self that everything is going to be alright is something that most people would do. Thinking back, some people did not have such a great childhood, looking back it now, you are somewhat grateful for it because it shaped you into the person you are now.
Raleigh’s audience is anyone and everyone, mostly targeting the audience who are struggling with anxiety. In his interview with genius he tells us that he does not want to tell us what this song should mean to the audience, it is just a song that he wrote. This music video is mostly using Pathos because of how he sings about his struggles in his childhood and how he did not get the love that he wanted as a child. Dealing with anxiety is tough, but being able to take one step at a time is a big achievement.

Works Cited