Dwelling in Possibilities Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis
Is our youth doomed? Mark Edmundson begs this question in his essay, “Dwelling in Possibilities.” His essay explains how the lives of young people have changed drastically over the years. Edmundson, professor at the University of Virginia, says his students are constantly “going” and that they never stop; they never settle in fear of missing something great. In lieu of this, Edmundson says that they are, “victims of their own hunger for speed” (Edmundson2). He also adds that his students, and young people in general, use today’s technology to be “everywhere at once” (watching a movie, instant messaging, talking on the phone, and glancing at a textbook) and are therefore, “not anywhere in particular” (Edmundson 3). Edmundson’s uses a very unique style of rhetoric. He does not point fingers at anyone in particular for causing the problem, and he does not come across as harsh or aggressive. Instead, Edmundson asks the readers, particularly his fellow professors, to see a trend in society that often goes unnoticed. Although Endmundson purposes no solution to the problem, he uses personal observations, experiences, famous authors’ texts, and renowned poets’ works to successfully make readers understand his viewpoints.

Not proposing a solution is the only element of persuasion that Mark Edmundson’s essay lacks. He does an excellent job making the reader aware of the problem: college students “go, go, go” and never have time to stop and reflect on themselves and life. However, instead of informing his fellow professors on what they should do to change this problem, he leaves it up to them to figure it out themselves. Edmundson identifies contributors to the problem as: color television, computers and wireless internet, ADD medications, music, energy drinks, and action sports among others. With all of this mentioned, the closest the author gets to proposing a way to eliminate these factors is stating that he no longer allows laptop...
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