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Ellen Goodman’s article ‘In praise of a Snail’s Pace’ appeared on the Washington Post on 13 August 2005. The author is a frequent contributor to the newspaper, which has earned her a reputation as a columnist.
In this article, Goodman (24) attempts to show how hyperactive technology in such areas as communication has captivated the modern people to leave behind the slowness that allows individuals to appreciate several aspects of life.
Using several examples backed by personal experience, Goodman describes how lack of attention has caused conflict in human lives. In addition, she uses her experience to show how technology has become a barrier. Goodman compares how life and society was some 50 or more years ago with the modern life.
She provides some examples to show how technology has created less meaningful impacts on human lives. To her, handwritten letters are effective in creating meaning in human lives when compared to modern methods of mailing.
In her opening paragraphs, the author uses the framing device as an anecdote setting, which helps her to outline and set the mood for the entire argument. Goodman believes that handwritten letters are authentic and sentimental compared to emails.
Communication than handwritten letter, the author attempts to show that the same technology tears people apart because individuals do not mean what they say when communicating through these technologies.
From her experience, Goodman says that lack of meaning and truthfulness in communication through technologies is common because people tend to do things fast without giving much thought to what they are doing. She argues that this is due to human inability to giver partial attention to a given task.
She believes that an individual can either give full attention to a task or stop taking it because giving it partial attention does not make meaning. To prove her argument, Goodman uses the example of a five-year-old child with too much sugar in his body yet he is taking more than one task, thanks to technology.
In this case, the child crashes and falls into a deep sleep due to exhaustion, which displays the negative impact of technology. This example presents the idea that the ability to slow things down and focus on a given task at a time is a human virtue that should be emulated.
In addition, Goodman expresses her disappointment in her letter, which results from her observation that modern people are caught up with little devices and computers such that they forget their personalities and emotions.
She is disappointed because most people in the modern society have allowed technology to take control of their lives, while snail mail and its meanings are quickly fading away. Due to lack of authenticity in communication, the world is quickly falling apart.
It is evident that Goodman’s argument is correct because it is based on observations in the modern world. For instance, it is true that “letters are more sentimental than electronic mails”. For instance, if someone takes enough time to write a letter on paper, it is possible to give it full attention and enough time, which is likely to insert meaning and truthfulness in the content.
On the other hand, writing an email is a quick task, but someone does it half-heartedly (Casey 12). Therefore, I tend to agree with Goodman on this issue. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that handwritten letters are fading, which means that people like Goodman need to appreciate change and technological revolution.
Casey, Matthew. “Has technology ruined handwriting?” CNN 28 July 2013: 12. Print
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Goodman, Ellen. “In praise of a snail’s pace”. The Washington Post 13 August 2005: 24. Print.