For a linguistics class, I had to write an essay that either supported the notion that wealth brings far greater problems than depriving people of beauty or arguing that access to beauty is far more important than some might believe. The essay was titled, “The negative effects of wealth in society”.
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I decided to take the first argument and provided an analysis that illustrated the critical role that wealth plays in bringing about most societal vices. In this essay, I seek to analyze the rhetorical devices used in the piece of writing described above. To this end, I shall focus on a number of aspects including the purpose for writing the essay, the audience, the genre, the appeals, organization of the text, omitted information, evidence included and the style of the essay.
Reasons for writing the essay
The primary reason as to why I wrote this essay stemmed from the fact that I had a clear understanding of how wealth has led to the physical and structural destruction of the society in which we live. I have had experiences in the past with moneyed people coming to an uninhabited piece of land surrounded by wonderful geological features such as fresh water springs.
Instead of leaving these marvels of nature the way they found them, these people clear the land and set up bottling plants for what is popularly known as ‘mineral water’. The downside of these kinds of investments is that with time the springs dry up and the emissions from such factories end up causing an unprecedented destruction to the atmosphere.
Aside from this, I have also witnessed how wealthy people use their money and power to exploit the less endowed individuals. A person would set up a company that brings in millions of dollars in profits but instead of sharing it appropriately with his/her members of staff, he/she offers them salaries that cannot even comfortable take them through a basic month. I also needed to write on how wealth or the search for wealth had the effect of breaking up family ties.
In this regard, I wanted to illustrate that in a bid to make as much wealth as possible individuals end up disregarding the importance of cultivating proper relationships with fellow family members, and this in turn has been the fundamental contributor to absenteeism as far as parental roles are concerned.
The genre of the essay above is contemporary. This is because the essay talks about an issue that affects society on a daily basis. The essay had not topical guidelines defining its direction and in a way had an immense freedom of range. As far as the content was concerned, it was designed to provide detailing for a specialized topic in linguistics which depended on basic exemplification from day-to-day living.
The form of this essay, by the virtue of alternating between argumentative and descriptive also played a great role in establishing its definition as contemporary. The essay at some point categorically provided a statement that illustrated the negative effects of wealth in today’s society and then I went ahead to list examples from modern-day life to back up the statement.
The essay also adopted the contemporary tag because it was elastic and could accommodate various lines of argument as well as different stylistic approaches. This was illustrated by the fact that an appreciation was made of the fact that wealth is important in society but clear lines of distinction have to be established to ensure that it does not negatively define how individuals relate with each other and with their environment.
In writing this essay my primary audiences were the academicians that were going to assess it. It is because of this that I made a conscious effort to make it adopt a scholastic flow. I also made sure that numerous and practical examples were provided spanning across the entire content in order to provide the essay with proper literary relevance. I also had a secondary audience in mind when drafting the essay and this comprised members of the general public. These are individuals whose daily lives are affected by the issues raised in the essay.
For the sake of individuals from this category who could end up getting access to the essay, I made sure that I adopted a simple language and straight-forward style. I steered clear of jargon that could have ended up making the essay challenging to read and ensured that all the examples listed could resonate with the average citizen.
This essay could easily make sense in the same way to an individual in high school as it would to a literature professor. Even though bias regarding the impact of the essay on the different audiences had to be avoided, I still found myself passionate about convincing the wealthy individuals that the role the play in society could either make it better to live in or could end up damaging it completely.
Appeals (logos, ethos and pathos)
In order to appeal to the various audiences described above, I had to come up with a method for making both logical and emotional sense. This is what is described in literature as appealing to logos, ethos and pathos. As far as the appeal to logic is concerned I used a language that made theoretical sense.
This basically means that the words chosen for the essay had to clearly and accurately illustrate the point I had in mind. I also provided proper exemplification to back up the claims raised aside from providing adequate explanations for any new ideas. In this way, I was able to evoke a cognitive response from the readers. In order to develop ethos, I first made sure that the language used was appropriate to the discussion and that it was well understood by the target audience(s).
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I went through my work from time to time to ensure that grammatical mistakes were corrected and that the essay was an easy read. I made sure that I was objective throughout the discussion and that I avoid getting my emotions dictate what I had to write. As such I ended up developing a well balanced essay that used the points raised to draw a conclusion.
As far as the appeal to emotion (pathos) is concerned, I used examples that made emotional sense to the reader such as the colonization of African countries by the world’s superpowers. These are vices that are distinctly associated with wealth and which are well known to individuals around the world. In some instances I had to use connotative explanations in order to ensure that the readers came up with their own conclusions regarding the point that had been raised.
For instance, when I wrote that “The acquisition of wealth results in the breaking of family and societal linkages”, I did not mean that families would split in the literal sense of the phrase ‘breaking up’. In stead I wanted the reader to come to the conclusion that wealth leads to the degradation of ideal societal relations.
Organization of the text
While drafting the essay, I had to ensure that the text was organized in such a way that each and every paragraph made sense on its own as well as in relation to the rest of the essay. The essay had a basic introduction which provided a summary of what the discussion would be about and this was summed up in the thesis. The subsequent paragraphs provided further explanation to the topic at hand and then the conclusion summarized the main points raised in the essay.
Each paragraph had an introductory sentence that brought to the fore the main idea that I was trying to raise and then the rest of the essay provided supporting evidence. For example, in the first paragraph after the introduction, I stated that “wealth leads to the creation of frustrated individuals in society.”
This was the main idea for discussion in this paragraph and in its support I cited an example of a wealthy man buying land from peasant farmers, setting up a franchise and then using the same individuals from whom he purchased the land as low-pay workers in his business.
Included and omitted information
Because in the introduction, I had stated that essay was going to support the argument that wealth had more negative effects in society aside from the destruction of beauty, some information had to be omitted while others included in order to come up with this conclusion.
I obtained all the information pertaining to the undesirable elements of wealth and then provided adequate examples to illustrate how these effects affected each and every member of society. I included information that implied that for society to function properly, some individuals had to have more wealth than others.
However, in order no to sound like I was supporting the argument that the injustices committed by the wealthy were the basics of proper social functioning, I provided an in-depth analysis of the vices that the discrepancies between the rich and the poor brought about in any given community. By the time I was writing the conclusion I had more points detailing the negative elements of wealth in society as compared to the benefits and this naturally made it easy to properly draw audience to my line of argument.
In any given piece of academic writing, evidence is a key factor in determining the credibility of the argument. Consequently, in my essay on the negative effects of wealth, I made sure that I had enough evidence to support the basic ideas that I was trying to raise. No point was raised without further explanation and proper exemplification and this served to make the essay relevant to both the academicians assessing it and the average citizen with access to it.
For instance, after pointing out that the desire for wealth is responsible for corruption in public service, I went ahead to explain that this is manifest in the way police officers gladly take bribes owing to the fact that they are almost always poorly paid.
The style of the essay was purely descriptive in because all the information provided was supposed to have the same impact to readers ten years in the future as it has made in the present. Points were raised to support the topic at hand and then properly described with basic examples from society. In this way the essay ended up making explanatory sense to respective audiences regarding the topic of discussion.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that for any written discussion, it is imperative that the writer appreciates the importance of rhetorical devices in the structuring of his work. This is because the way an individual arranges arguments in an essay clearly determines the impact to his/her audience and the relevance of the work as far as consultation by scholars is concerned.
In the linguistics essay whose structure and content have been analyzed in this essay, a number of elements had to be well defined in order to ensure that it clearly brought out the message that I, as the writer, sought to bring about from the word go. As has been illustrated in this analysis a number of rhetorical devices were appropriately utilized in consideration of key elements such as the audience and this have been properly integrated in the entire writing in order to come with an easily flowing literary piece.
However, if I were to re-do the essay, I would ensure that I provide more citations from experts in the field. This would mainly be a function of appeal to pathos, especially for my academic audience. From where I stand all the strategies adopted worked well for the discussion and this leads me to the conclusion that a conscious effort to the type of rhetorical devices is important in making the essay fulfill its original intended purpose.