English 102 Rhetorical Analysis
March 9th 2020
Sharks in the Water
Polite, charming, slick, and ambitious. A stockbroker running a Wall Street firm who was highly respected and regarded among others. Jordan Belfort was a blessed salesman at a very young age. The Wolf of Wall Street by Micheal Scorsese teach us through rhetorical appeals Pathos, Logos, and Ethos. The main character’s focus of this film which is greed. Stratton Oakmont an investment banking and stock exchange company became the largest firm in the country during the late 1980s and 1990s. From his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. He’s an alcoholic drug addict who states that the real reason he did so many drugs was because he suffered from severe back pain due to an injury. His drug addiction gets to a point where he operates better high. Jordan Belfort is naturally good at convincing, encouraging, and persuading people to either work for him or buy stocks from him. In hopes of the money they invested into a certain company or trade goes up and doubles possibly even sky rocket. Little does the investor know based on false, misleading or greatly exaggerated statements they will get scammed for their money and take a big lost, while the investors and Jordan Belfort back at the firm make a killing.
A great scene from the movie where Jordan Belfort uses the rhetorical appeals ethos, logos, and pathos. Is the “The Show Goes On” scene. Where Belfort is seen embracing his father walking into a trading floor of Stratton Oakmont. Originally Belfort was going to step down from Stratton Oakmont due to the on going stigmas and troubles he was going through. He starts off with stating “5 years ago when I started Stratton Oakmont with Donnie Azoff, I knew the day would eventually come where I had to be moving on. And it is truly with a heavy heart that I’m here to say, that the day is finally here”. As his employees, show signs of sadness and distress. Which is a great of example of Pathos and his ability to convince through emotions. Belfort then goes on saying “This is Ellis Island people, I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, whether your relatives came from the fucking Mayflower or an inner tube from Haiti. This right here is the land of opportunity. Stratton Oakmont is America!” Through the use of logos to convince his employees through logic or reason, they start cheering and clapping expressing eagerness and proudness. He then goes on to use one of his original employees Kim as an example of the accomplishments someone can achieve through working for Stratton Oakmont and Jordan Belfort. Through the use of Ethos to convince his employees through credibility of the character Kim. He then ties her story as an example to why he is a credible good person. “Kimmie was one of the first brokers here. One of Stratton’s original 20. Now most of you met Kimmie, the beautiful sophisticated women that she is today. The women that wears $3,000 Armani suits, drives a brand new Mercedez Benz. The women who spends her winters in the Bahamas and the summers in the Hamptons”. Belfort introduces her as someone with status and wealth. As everyone around the floor clearly has respect for her. Which can be rare for a women to a position of status or power in business. Belfort goes further into saying, “That is not the Kimmie I met. The Kimmie that I met didn’t have two nickels to rub together. She was a single mom on the balls of her ass with an 8 year old son. She was three months behind on her rent and when she came to me and asked me for a job. She asked for a $5,000 advance just so she can pay her sons tuition”. Kim then starts to tear up and Belfort continues saying. “ And what did I do Kimmie? Go on tell them.” Kim then expresses choking on her words “You wrote me a check for $25,000 dollars”. As the camera pans around the trading floor everyone faces and body language is filled with sadness and hopelessness. Which is a great example of how Belfort is good at making himself look good through the struggles of someone else.
Belfort also has divine loyalty from his employees. He expresses, “ I believed in you Kimmie, just like how I believe each and everyone you here today!” as his employees express their gratitude towards him by saying “I fucking love you” and cheering on. Jordan only then fortifies the bond between him and his employees by saying back “And I love all you, all of you from the bottom of my heart and I mean that!” his gratitude towards the people that work for him is a great way of using pathos to strike certain emotions within them to keep on rolling and to keep his ego so that his workers, his money earners can keep faith and not look down upon him. As the scene goes on and Belfort keeps feeding his employees a sense of eagerness thinking he is going to step down from the company. He then stops and makes up his mind stating, “Im not leaving, I’m not leaving…… I’m not f*##*!^ leaving. The show goes on, this is my home!” the emotion of this line drives everyone through the roof with a sense of pride and joy. Everyone including Belfort start to hum the company chant and start celebrating throwing paper work all over the floor and the movie keeps on rolling.
The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Micheal Scorsese does a great job in showing Jordan Belford getting lost due to his own greed. In the scene being analyzed, it is filled with the rhetorical appeals Pathos, Logos, and Ethos. And so is the whole movie all together along with many other rhetorical appeals besides the ones being shown. Eventually Jordan Belfort’s slickness caught up to him and he met his own demise with 36 months (3 years) in federal prison. So for those who seek glory in any form. Are you prepared for what’s possibly going to come?
The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese ; screenplay by Terence Winter ; produced by Martin Scorsese (2014). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaRHgUS_49Q&t=30s
“Gender and connections among Wall Street analysts” The Review of Financial Studies, Volume 30, Issue 9, September 2017, Pages 3305–3335, https://academic.oup.com/rfs/article-abstract/30/9/3305/3979371?redirectedFrom=fulltext