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Rhetorical Analysis


Image result for lauren ridloff

Lauren Ridloff is an American actress from Chicago, Illinois who has acting credits in different performances in theatre, film, and television. She has been nominated for multiple awards, most notably in 2018 when she was nominated for a Tony for her performance in Children of a Lesser God. She is a very talented and credible actress, who just happens to be deaf. The article “Lauren Ridloff’s Quiet Power: ‘My Life Has Changed in Every Way'” by Michael Paulson, describes Ridloff’s background and how she emerged into the spotlight. However, the way that Paulson explains Ridloff’s life is almost belittling and is very ignorant on the issues that the deaf community may or may not face. 

Paulson’s background as a writer is that he is a theatre reporter for The New York Times and was formerly covered religion at The Times and The Boston Globe. Looking at his background in journalism, it seems that he is pretty new to writing about theater. When writing about Ridloff’s acting career, he describes her as someone who is clueless about acting and doesn’t know what she is doing. “If you didn’t know her resume, you’d swear she’d been doing this her whole life. You’re dealing with an actress that doesn’t know what she’s doing and communicating with her in a language she doesn’t speak and trying to connect another actor to her-” (Lauren Ridloff, Paulson 2018). He almost assumes that she is struggling to communicate with other actors since she is deaf. However, Joshua Jackson, her co-star in Children of a Lesser God has learned sign language for his role. This means she is not completely lost in communication with her colleagues. In addition, she has been interested in the arts ever since she was a child, where she starred as Dorothy in a production of “The Wiz”. She also participated in activities such as dance and cheerleading and was later eventually crowned Miss Deaf America in 2000-2002. Based on her background, she clearly is not new to arts and theatre.


The audience of this article is people who have an interest in theater. A big portion of the audience is possibly part of the deaf community. The community can see a deaf person who is achieving their dreams as an actor and who is admired by the industry and her colleagues. It also shows that speaking is not necessarily the only way to communicate and express your feelings/emotions, especially in careers like acting. Another portion of the audience could also be biracial people. Ridloff was born to a Mexican-American father and an African-American mother. For the biracial community, they can see someone who doesn’t really fit into a box and a racial stereotype being successful and this may help other biracial people who may seem to not fit in. 

Overall, the message that Paulson seems to send is that don’t let a disability stop you from achieving your dreams. However, in some parts of the article, you can tell there is some ignorance being displayed about the deaf community and the struggles they may face; although it may not be his intentions. He needs to further educate himself on the dynamics of theater and the deaf community and how there is not one way of communicating with one another. 


Paulson, Michael. “Lauren Ridloff’s Quiet Power: ‘My Life Has Changed in Every Way’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 May 2018,

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