Analysis: Rhetoric and Happiness

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Megan Childers
Jonathan Smith
EN 1103-03
7 October 2011
Unsuccessful Effectiveness: An Analysis on Ineffective Usage on Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
If our founding fathers had read the title of C.S Lewis’s essay, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness,’” they would have rolled over in their graves. Lewis leads a vaguely persuasive argument. He believes that because of society’s sinful morality, divorce is legally and socially accepted. Also, he believes happiness is determined by law; therefore, we have no moral right to happiness. Lewis’s essay on society’s corrupted acceptance on the reasons for divorce provides many admirably persuasive points; however, he leads an unconvincing argument through his dominantly feeble use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Lewis’s argument has mildly effective but mainly ineffective ethos. He has a credible image as a previous professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and he uses clear examples. For instance, he wrote a concise anecdote of Mr.A, Mrs.A and Mr.B, Mrs. B. He uses details such as “Mrs. B had adored her husband at the outset. But then he got smashed up in war” (Lewis 22) and Mrs. A had “....consumed herself by bearing his [Mr.B] children and nursing him through the long illness that overshadowed their earlier married life” (Lewis 22). Although he used clear details about the couples, the existence of the couple is questionable because of the lack of timeline and mysterious names. Another reason for his ineffective ethos is his lack of examination of all angles of the reasons for divorce. For example, Mr. A could have beat Mrs. A or Mr. B could have been molesting his daughter. There are many unspoken reasons for divorce besides sexual discontent. Thirdly, his conversation with Clare seems highly unlikely for several reasons. He never uses much detail about their conversation particularly the time, place, and direct dialogue which makes the reader ponder about the surreal conversation and if he created Clare to amplify the...
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