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“Happiness” by Steve Cutts is an example of an artifact, which have decided to analyze. Happiness is a short video clip, which tells the story of rodent’s unrelenting search for happiness and fulfilment (Cutts, S., (2017). The video can be described as a strong criticism to the contemporary society or world, where the composer uses rats to represent humans. The video begins with many rats running in a white background with “Habanera” music on the background. This song is a French song, which talks about hard to tame, making freedom of birds’ analogy and the challenges of controlling love. However, the biggest irony is that this particular song and clip can be interpreted as the human difficulty to find love and how they are always on a hurry or race to find pleasure and love. The clip highlights the impact of the mass culture that is changing the social practices as well as the outcome or consequences of it in daily life. Well, the purpose of artifacts is to inform therefore, an information, context or ideas can be transmitted to the audience in various ways using artifacts such as videos or articles. Communication artifacts are developed as human thoughts expression and give way for information perception using various strategies. As such, this artifact uses persuasive devices and rhetorical situations to convey a percussive information to the audience.

To begin with, the film uses visual components and non-verbal communication. Rhetorical appeal used in “Happiness” is pathos. Steve used music sounds that are appealing to the viewer’s emotions. Generally, music is completely as well as totally raw emotions. Therefore, the beats and rhythm of the song have the impact on the viewer’s emotions (Gries, L. (2019). For example, the song ‘Habanera’ by Bizet ((Cutts, S., (2017), which is from the beginning of the song, displays unsettling and capricious mood, which in relations to the rat images, it evokes emotions.

Bitzer’s rhetorical situations, audience, exigence and constraints (Cooper, T. B. (2019), are also identified in this short video. The audience that are capable of being influenced are multiple, from optimists, cynicists, industrialists and environmentalists. According to Bitzer, rhetoric is usually persuasive, therefore persuadable audience are significant. ‘Happiness’ have multiple persuadable audience, that Cutts is targeting. Exigence according to Bitzer, are the needs, which need to be addressed, either they can be fixed (rhetorical) or not be changed or fixed non-rhetorical. Cutts message is about the perception of happiness. According to the film, happiness id the moment that an individual desires are reached and satisfied but as portrayed by the rats, humans always want more and are looking for compulsive crumbs of fulfillment and happiness. As such, exigence in this video is ‘happiness’ perception. The perception of happiness has specified the audience, in which Cutts wanted to address. Constraints identified in these film include pathos appeal, the rat images used.

Studying artifact importance in communications and strategies used in artifact to inform is essential because, artifacts such as paints convey non-verbal information about a certain this, situation and place. Therefore, artifacts are significant aspects of nonverbal communication as the right or best artifact choice reflect about a particular thing. In addition, understanding artifact, one is able to learn how they give perception of social status, help in reducing cognitive dissonance and how they all effective communication among humans. Lastly, it is also an important site of study because an insight on how composers or writers persuade their audience.

Well, a critic would ask questions such as what do one see, in terms of artifact description, how the artist did it, by referring to various elements and finally, the reason why the artist created the artifact and its meaning. After research, there are no any rhetorical analysis that exist on “Happiness.”


Cooper, T. B. (2019). The impromptu rhetorical situation. Communication Teacher33(4), 262-265.

Cutts, S., (2017). “Happiness”. YouTube.

Gries, L. (2019). Advances in visual rhetorical analysis. The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods, 381.

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