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Essay on Rhetorical Analysis Of Ellen Goodman

Although past traditions have installed norms and standards regarding who may be considered as true ‘family,’ Ellen Goodman effectively employs a variety of rhetorical strategies including figurative language, perspective, and Aristotelian appeals to highlight that in choosing to disregard these preestablished conditions and/or labels, individuals have the ability to progress with society in a manner that will encourage them to ultimately embrace the many intricacies of an extended family.

To begin, in order to justify her argument and allow readers to closely analyze the similarities and differences between past and present family dynamics, Ellen Goodman utilizes figurative language. In one example, Goodman uses the concept of biology to metaphorically contrast traditional with more contemporary views towards ‘family’, stating that, previously, and even to this day, “families often extend along lines that are determined by decrees, rather than genes.

The author goes on to explain, however, that “even if the nucleus is broken, there are still links forged in different directions. ” This is especially significant because it comes to highlight the inclined dependency on technicality, and how people are often more compelled to believe what can be literally defined, for example, something that is defined in a decree. The important aspect of this metaphor lies in the fact that this decree alone is not sufficient enough to represent meaningful relationships.

The metaphor is impactful because through this specific example, the author makes sure to note that it is even rooted in our very own anatomy that if certain bodily aspects may deteriorate, links, or other organs still remain in order to strengthen character and rebuild connections; the same goes for the many complex relationships in the modern era. Furthermore, the author’s use of figurative language is notable in that she uses it to advocate for the embracing of this modern evolution that is the reinvention of’family.

She indirectly brings to attention the role and impact of more recent generations, through her reference to the young girl as a “fine researcher,” expressing that she can “[list] the people who are sharing the same house… with the careful attention of a genealogist. ” Goodman’s choice of diction in this metaphor is meaningful because she details that in some cases, children are more intellectual and aware of their ‘research,’ their findings in curiosity, than adults.

Like adults, children and analytical, but they are also more honest and more willing to accept and regard any individual who they might have a close relationship with as a part of their expansive family. The author therefore calls to action the older generations to embrace these natural views and inclinations, because it is in doing so that people are able to truly break free from traditions in order truly transform language to fit with the ever-evolving world.

By instilling a set of established rules on children, their views are limited as they are more pressured to view and consider only what fits onto the ‘family tree,’ where instead, they could be embracing a ‘family bush,’ more inclusive of the various members that they hold close to heart. Thus, in reviewing these examples, among others, it is safe to conclude that the author makes apparent her argument as she delineates the importance of allowing language to parallel with how far society has advanced in a world where families have begun to expand and relationships have continued to intertwine.

In addition, throughout the essay, the author argues that what once defined ‘family’ can no longer be representative of the greater population. She argues that today, it is important to understand that purely recognizing who falls under personal ‘family trees’ can be detrimental because a family tree is not enough to acknowledge all family members. While Goodman does not fail to include empirical data and statistics to argue her point, the initial foundation of her argument rests upon the encounters of a ten year-old girl.

In supporting her argument with a young girl’s circumstances, the author is able to strengthen her argument through the development of perspective. In observing her own family circumstances, the young girl, notes that her family is particularly unconventional, consisting of many members. Aside from her immediate family, the girl lists her step-mother and stepbrothers, in addition to a series of other individuals who are half-related or who may not have any biological relations to her at all.

This is significant because audiences can recognize that as her family has expanded over the course of time, her many relationships have evolved positively, in spite of family circumstances, such as her parents’ divorce. Furthermore, this goes to support Goodman’s argument that “all sorts of relationships that survive marital ones [exist]. ” Although the girl closely examines and analyzes the complexity of her relationships, she comes to the conclusion that “We are all in the same family.

Because Goodman chooses to showcase her argument through the perspective of the young child, she effectively presents her opinions in an unbiased and accurate way. The author’s argument is additionally strengthened and credible in that she allows for this ten-yearold child to come up with her own conclusion, without interference based on the author’s experiences. It is also important to note the girl’s constant uncertainty of what she should call her relatives. The author notes that “she isn’t entirely sure” whether her “stepmother’s sister” could be regarded as her aunt, for example.

This just comes to highlight that often times, labels can limit individuals from truly embracing a greater sense of family, keeping their minds set on technicalities of literal family. While the girl does come to a reasonable conclusion,she initially hesitates during her analysis, and this demonstrates how past ideals can come to negatively shape the minds of future generations.

In essence, however, the author’s usage of perspective is especially effective because by xpressing her opinion through the eyes of another individual, and not relying solely on her own, she is able to secure the validity of her argument. Last but not least, it is without a doubt that Goodman’s strongest rhetorical strategy in shaping and defending her argument is ingrained in her effective use of Aristotelian Appeals. To begin, while the argument is shared primarily through the perspective of a young girl, she contrasts this with a more adult point of view, as seen through the various pieces of factual data.

For example, the author uses Ethos when she presents the idea of divorce, and how “75 percent of divorced women remarry and 83 percent of divorced men remarry. ” However, this information only goes to support her argument because it adds on to the idea that families in the modern world are highly complex, and the author uses this piece of information in order to ultimately acknowledge that while this may be true, this relationship, or (lack-thereof) alone is not the only link in a family.

While divorces may be viewed as a limiting or divisive factor, it does not discredit the relationships formed in the intermingling of families if one does not allow it to. While Ethos plays a large role in providing evidence and building integrity, the most powerful appeal of Goodman’s essay, however, comes from the Pathos. The author primarily establishes this appeal through her own, anecdotal experiences with the ten-year-old girl, (and even to some extent, the experiences with the young boy), and in addition, this girl’s experiences as well.

Through this girl’s journey of deciphering her many family ties, the author makes clear the ways in which pre-established standards are so deep-seated in the American culture, that they have even come to influence, or more-or-less, confuse younger generations. The girl, initially left “a bit fuzzy,” and the boy, “dissatisfied with his [limiting] oak” come to highlight the ways in which relationships have essentially become too far expanded and complex for people to define with their customary, yet rather outdated labels.

The girl’s ability to accept all of these intricacies, however, is purposeful as it goes to elicit a certain sense of relatability with audiences. Through this emotional appeal, Goodman comments on the ways in which more recent generations are gravitating towards better means of defining ‘family,’ hoping to encourage others to do the same. All of these examples highlight the impact of Aristotelian appeals as they provide aid to her credibility as a writer as well as provoke a thoughtful response from readers.

In conclusion, through Ellen Goodman’s usage of a many of rhetorical strategies comprising of, figurative language, perspective and Aristotelian Appeals, it is apparent that while previously established standards towards ‘family’ have greatly influenced perceptions of who can essentially be perceived as ‘family in the modern age, it is through straying away from these labels that individuals are able to escape the detriments associated with limitation and learn about the importance of accepting the many complex natures of true family.

Goodman’s essay sheds an abundant of light on how the idea of ‘family’ has evolved over the course of time and remains prominent because it emphasizes the overall benefits of allowing individual ideals to evolve with modern relationships in a world of constant social expansion. This piece remains perpetual because it shares that authentic and genuine family truly surpasses the realms of titles and labels, and instead, rests upon meaningful and emotional relationships.

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