Being able to effectively communicate for a specific audience is critical for authors who are trying to make specific arguments. With this in mind, Carr and Kefalas have written to their audience about some of the things happening in rural America today. Namely, the authors are effective in using various methods and moves to establish the reality that people are leaving rural towns and the rural towns are in some ways responsible for that. The authors are well researched, and in their book The Heartland and the Rural Youth Exodus, these authors use the concept of “regional losers,” successful emotional comparisons between rural areas and cities, and logical appeals about the driving force of job loss in order to persuade potential investors from the outside that small, rural towns are still worth their attention.
The context in which these authors write is important to understand. They are attempting to provide factual opinions about the nature of decay in rural towns, but they are in many ways defenders of those towns. They come to understand the people, and as any good journalist would, they take an emotional stake in what is going on with the people there. However, they are writing during a time when the decay in these rural communities is extremely evident. One cannot look at these communities and see anything other than young people flooding out of them to go away to college, to try to make it in a city, or just to get away with friends. This, of course, can be concerning to people from the outside. Whether those people on the outside want to move into a rural place or they are thinking about trying to start a new business, they never want to see that a place looks like it is about to die. This is the context in which the authors write, and it is particularly important for understanding the nature of their ideas.
The authors successfully create an emotional appeal by writing about the way that some regions lose in the big scramble to get to cities. The authors make clear that as the world changes, economics and geography are increasingly linked. People come to see rural areas not as places that have no potential, but rather, as places that have lost in a game of musical chairs, where other parts of the country are benefitting in a major way. This is impactful from a persuasive perspective because it suggests that if the game can just be changed to some extent, then the outcome of that game can be changed, too. It is a hopeful take, even though it recognizes the challenges facing these communities as they try to hold things together.
In addition to that, the authors also use an emotional appeal when they discuss the comparisons between rural areas and the urban areas that business owners might be leaving behind. Urban areas are not perfect, even if people are moving there. They have their own form of decay, with gentrification, crime, and other elements making it more difficult for people to live there. In San Francisco, for instance, people live in their cars in the city because it is so expensive. This is the sort of the thing the authors focus on, bringing to mind the idea that all places have problems, so one should not think that just because the problems of the rural areas are different it means they are worse. This is effective because potential outside investors can probably envision having success with their business in a city. If they know cities have problems and there are successful investments made there, then it also means that successful investments could be made in those rural areas where problems continue to fester.
Finally, the authors are able to make a logical appeal about the nature of the problem that suggests to investors that they could be the ones who help to stem the tide. They argue that the major cause of rural decay is the fact that there are no jobs for young people. They have to move away because if they fail to do so, they simply will not have anywhere to work. This makes sense for the outside investor, and it tells him that perhaps his investment in the community might be the one that will give these young people something to do there. If the person can do so, then the young people might even decide to stay. The logical conclusion there is that if young people decide to stay, then the rural areas might grow again, meaning that the investments from the outside might be even more successful under that arrangement.
Ultimately the authors in this case are writing to an audience that needs to understand what is going on in rural America. The goal is to explain the problem in real terms, but to frame the problem in terms of solutions that could take place rather than just looking at rural areas as if they are hopeless places where people can never be saved. In doing so, the authors use a number of moves to be successful. They bring emotion into play to show that the rural areas have just lost in a big shuffling game between regions. They also bring in emotions by showing that every place has some sort of problem to list. Finally, they make a logical appeal that would resonate with investors, showing them that they can be the difference.