Communication Problems

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Taylor Tomlinson
English 110
3/19/12
Classical Model
Communication Complications Within a Marriage
“She’s the talker in our family!” This statement said by a man about his wife was very ironic to most of the people at the party that night, being that the man was doing most of the talking and offering ideas while his wife sat silently in the corner. This arousing anecdote in Deborah Tannen’s essay, “Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard For Men and Women to Talk to Each Other” portrays the truth of the relationships of married couples by revealing that American men tend to talk more than women in public; however, they barely communicate at home with their spouses. Through the use of ethos, logos, and pathos Tannen provides a strong argument directed specifically at married couples in discussing the communication problems between a husband and wife and how to resolve them without the marriage leading to divorce.

All three elements of the rhetorical triangle are conveyed throughout Tannen’s essay effectively, but ethos, the credibility, seems to be the most powerful and frequently used. In the third paragraph of the essay, she writes about how most women gave lack of communication as the reason for their divorces, but only a few men said that was a reason in Catherine Kohler Riessman’s new book “Divorce Talk.” This shows that men don’t think that communication is a very big factor in a relationship, but women do which causes many unwanted problems. Men and women have very different views on things, but they need to find common ground in order for the marriage to succeed. In the preceding paragraph, Deborah Tannen converses about her own research. She talks about how she has received many complaints from women about having to do all the chores around the house and trying to go above and beyond for their men with little in return. Men and women partners should share duties in every aspect; not one or the other should be putting forth more effort than the other. Tannen says that most wives want their husbands to be conversational partners, but few husbands share this expectation of their wives. I feel like this is true in not all marriages, but a lot of them. Generally, women are expected to do the chores around the house, while the men get home from work, go right to the couch, and watch television. Although this stereotypical statement isn’t the case for every marriage, it seems to be common in a lot of them these days. Stanford University’s Eleanor Maccoby reports that children’s development is influenced by the social structure of peer interactions making men and women very socially different. She shares that boys and girls tend to interact with children of their own gender and both genders have different social interactions. Women seem to base relationships on communication and intimacy; however, men would rather avoid a lot of talking and do things together. Maccoby’s studies seem to show a lot of accuracy, being that we see this in relationships today. Boys usually interact with boys and girls tend to socialize with other girls. One last study shown in the essay from Walter Ong’s book “Fighting for Life” examines how men and women handle situations. He points out that men use “warlike” behavior, which means they use fighting to deal with problems. On the other hand, women would rather use conversation to debate the problem. Throughout the essay, Tannen provides differences between men and women’s social values. She says that men tend to have short, simple conversations while women have more elaborate, long conversations. Also, men like to switch topics very rapidly and talk about many different subjects, while women like to talk about one thing at a time and keep going with it. This exposes to married couples that men and women have very different, unique social strategies. Throughout all of these studies, there seems to be a reoccurring message in that men and women just do things and go about...
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