On Compassion Analysis Essay

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Compassion at Play
Are people born with a complete quandary when it comes to compassion or is it something that has always been there? Barbara Lazear Ascher, born in 1946, writes, “On Compassion.” Having lived in New York City, Ascher is able to take first hand examples from the city to show the affection people have towards each other. Ascher is able to illustrate that compassion is something that has to be taught because of the adversity at people’s heels by including tone, persuasive appeals, and the mode of comparing and contrast in her essay, “On Compassion.”

The tone of Ascher’s essay can best be described as thoughtful and reflective. Ascher is able to achieve this tone in her quote, “He wears a stained blanket pulled down to his gray, bushy eyebrows” (Ascher 47). Ascher embodies her quote with explicit diction. The words “stained” and “bushy” helps the audience better visualize this helpless man, and allows the audience to be emphatic for him. If Ascher was not reflective in her description of the needy people in her essay the audience would have failed to see what compelled these strangers to show compassion towards them in the first place. Ascher’s thoughtful and reflective tone can also be depicted in her simile, “Like a bridegroom waiting at the altar, his eyes pierce the white veil” (47). When Ascher compares the desperate man to a bridegroom, the audience, like a snap of a finger, is able to visualize a man in a plea for help. Ascher is thoughtful in describing this action. The simile helps enliven the readers view on the amount of compassion that is available to grant. One cannot just walk away from someone’s eyes “piercing” their soul in a cry for attention.

Compassion is learned when people see others in a hardship. Ascher appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos in her essay to portray the compassion that is being given. Ascher builds ethos in her essay by giving examples she witnessed herself. In her quote, “Twice I have witnessed this, and...
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