Wednesday, October 3, 2007


On compassion

This essay is centered on emotion. It seems to me that the major strategies used all lead to one thing and that’s to getting the reader to feel some sort of emotion; let me tell you it worked pretty good for me

“This play doesn’t end - and the players can’t go home” (quote is referring to ancient Greek plays performed to inspire empathy). Through out the essay Barbara Lazear (the author of the essay) talks about two experiences with a homeless person (one of the encounters being her own). Lazear uses that statement to help the reader connect with her essay with every day life. In the encounter she described witnessing a bread shop owner giving away food she was confused and didn’t really understand why the owner would reward the homeless person for his arrival to her shop (uses flashback when talking about this experience). I know when I finished reading her questions of “why reward him….” I started to think about similar past experiences. It also brings emotion that the reader can actually feel.

Details played a major role in brining this essay to life. The imagery created with the use of details was incredible. Not only do the details create scenes in your mind but they also help isolate an emotion. For example in the first encounter described in the essay you could tell the woman was afraid of the stranger; although, it was never stated flat out like that, instead details and imagery was used. “the baby’s mother waits for the light to change and her hands close tighter on the stroller’s handle as she sees the man approaching.” The fear the woman radiated created suspense for the reader.

Another strategy used that I think was pretty effective in making the reader stop and ponder for a while was asking a question and then rapidly moving along, leaving the question unanswered. Leaving questions unanswered gives the reader the opportunity to look deeper into the matter and try to analyze it, which would provide the reader with more genuine emotion. “Could it be that the homeless, like those ancients, are reminding us of our common humanity?”

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lost in the Kitchen

Lost in the Kitchen

When I first saw the title of this essay I thought it was some sort of metaphor for something much bigger, but I was wrong. This essay was probably one of the easiest to read since the author used a lot of humor and imagery in his writing which provided me with a simpler understanding of what he was saying.

The biggest rhetorical devise used in this essay was his humorous and harsh tone. Not only did the author use humor to entertain and keep the reader hooked, but also as a way to connect the reader to everyday life and produce emotion and better understanding of his arguments. For example “men are as useful as an ill-trained Labrador retriever” (you might have noticed that that was also an analogy). Through out the essay the author was very harsh when he talked about men in helping in the kitchen, like in the example above he compares men to dogs and not only a few men but all men in general another quote that backs up my opinion on this matter is “men are still basically scum when it comes to the kitchen”. When he talks about men being useless he also includes himself in there as well. Another rhetorical device hat I think really helped in his writing were his long sentences. The long sentences made the whole essay flow a lot better and since it wasn’t one of those that you have to place close attention and retain information it really added to the effect of his writing.

With out the use of the strategies mentioned above his essay wouldn’t have had the same feeling and the readers would of had a harder time relating to his writing. And the fact that he didn’t exclude himself when he criticized and stereotyped men made his arguments a lot more convincing and revealed a lot about his character.

Salvation Essay Review

Salvation Essay Review

Is lying about something important really the best way to go? In his short essay by Langston Hughes, he really brought a new way of looking at certain events in my life and why I made those choices; however, he made this by having unique rhetorical devices in his writing.

First of all he uses vivid word choice in his writing. The type of word choice that you need to be able to understand his writing is words based on Bible talk. He has many relations to god hence the title “Salvation.” Also he seems to use simple-but strong-words that work for better understanding throughout the story.

Then the author uses a short sentence structure, which is good when you want to get straight to the point. Dialogue was presented well to show emotions from some of the characters. The small sentences also added the option to go back and reread if you didn’t understand it. In my opinion his descriptive sentences were his strongest points.

Also, he uses these descriptive sentences to create great imagery in our heads. For example he uses this to describe the environment of being in church and to describe how Jesus is supposed to come into your life. The comical part of the story had to do with how he described the people inside the church and their reactions.

Lastly, his voice contributes to how the reader takes in the story. In this specific essay he has many different tones. It’s comical because the story is like him remembering of the stupid mistakes he’s made because of pressure. Like I said before he wrote as a really “visualistic” writer. The tone could have also been revealing because he expresses out all of his feelings in the end.

In the end Langston Hughes puts a humorous twist to a traumatic experience that he decides to share with the rest of the world.

Amusing ourselves to death

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Culture in a box

Television in our culture today is like a car crash in slow motion – Most of us that know and can see what is happening(except those involved in the “car crash” which in today’s society is almost every one), but we are all seemingly powerless to stop it, or we just don’t care. In amusing ourselves to death Neil Postman is in a way foreshadowing (considering he wrote the book in 1985) and warning us about things to come. Television is taking over. And guess what! He was right. Today people get most it not all of their information from what is believed to be reliable sources, TV; however, even the most serious and informative programming is and has always been corrupted – almost nothing is taken seriously.

Neil Postman uses a lot or rhetorical devices but one of the most important ones is foreshadowing things to come by referencing the past. – Clearly history tends to repeat itself. To be a little vague, in the first half of the book Neil Postman talks about how verbal communication was first thought to be the best way to communicate, but then came typography which made it was easier to organize one’s thoughts. By referencing the past Neil is foreshadowing that soon television will take over; just how in the past epistemology was replaced by typography. To be honest as soon as I saw the book amusing ourselves to death I had already made up my mind about it and I hadn’t even read it. To me it looked like a one sided biased book written by some geeky guy that didn’t like television and I myself having grown up watching television felt it was my duty to defend it until the end. I was wrong. - Don’t judge a book by its cover. Everything he said he backed up with facts and statistics. No where in the book did I find him to be extremely biased, ok fine, maybe he was a little biased but not too much. He never said TV was a good thing or a bad thing he merely pointed out its effects on society and culture. When ever he uses a fact, statistic or quote he always lists the reference he got it from. The fact that he was unbiased in his argument made his writing a lot more effective. Another major rhetorical device I found through out the book was Hypophora. Hypophora is when you ask a question and then proceed to answer it. (pg 152-153) “Why these students studying the behavior of humpback whales? How critical is it that the “academic themes” of navigation and map-reading skills be learned?” then he proceeds to answer by saying “map-reading has never been considered an “academic theme”……”

After reading through the whole book I have come to a conclusion that I agree with what Neil is saying. What helped me decide on that was his use of rhetorical devices that really helped make his writing a lot more effective. This book has opened my eyes to how I view what’s on television not literally of course.

Amusing ourselves to death.

Television: Ticking Time Bomb?

When in time would we ever think of television becoming a negative aspect in our life? Since television is usually used as a getaway from the real world we haven’t actually had the chance to sit down and look beyond that simple black box. In Neil Postman’s, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, he describes to us how this regular object in every household has begun its slow burning match to a path of destruction.

He argues that speech is the best way of learning, not by imagery. In his book he seems to persuade the reader by simply supporting his ideas behind others quotes. The usage of quotes from past presidents, older researchers, and other cultures has shown me that the best way to actually understand “anything” is by typography. The most important idea behind this book is that the book itself is made to be a warning bell in our heads; to open our eyes to a world that has never been introduced to us before. Also, he compares our always changing lives to that of the Huxleyan and Orwellian-first culture becomes a prison then culture becomes a burlesque. As the author describes that the typographic mind has slowly been converging into the mind that only believes and understands visual emotions, it begins to form in my mind that this sort of statements are true; and, that growing up watching television has been the wrong way to take in the ways of life. This could be the best way to warn society from nowadays (although this book was written in 1985) to move further away from what could be harmful to us in the future. “We are a word centered culture and think as an image centered culture.” His arguments are that we started as writing and reading culture and that why can’t we just keep it that way?

The “television degrades our conception of news, political debate, religious thought”, and everything else that should be important to us. Television has only given our mind the way to act and look-and not really the best way to comprehend. Television portrays itself as an excellent source of entertainment and information, but do you really believe that television is actually a positive influence to society? This is the question Neil Postman will help shed some light on.