Path to Manhood

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Karim Lalani
10/16/12
UTA Engl 1301

Rhetorical Analysis-Gerzon

In “Manhood: The Elusive Goal”, Mark Gerzon argues that masculinity, or the "masculine code of conduct" is exemplified by smoking, drinking, and violence- acts that would be generally frowned upon in society. Mark Gerzon, attended Harvard University and was considered to be a best selling author by his senior year, due to his book "The Whole World is Watching: A Young Man Looks at Youth Dissent". Gerzon generally writes about topics dealing with men and masculinity in regard to modern day society. In "Manhood: The Elusive Goal", Gerzon reflects back on his own personal experience during his adolescent years, and how he wasn't considered to be masculine enough since he didn't conform or follow social protocol to becoming a man. He states that young boys are influenced by media and the rest of the world around them to be tough and hard, quick to use violence, and be wary of women. While pondering the questions, what is manhood and how does one achieve it, Gerzon concludes that since there are no defined rites of passage to manhood, a man must prove not what he is(a man), but instead what he is not, "anything that is feminine."(10). By using logical, credible and emotional appeal, as well as real life examples, such as sports and media, Gerzon successfully persuades his targeted readers- society in general, that there is no true defined rite of passage to manhood, and that the pressure put on young boys by society is harmful and ultimately leads to their downfall. Gerzon states that there is no clear pathway to manhood, by appealing to his audience's logic. He writes, “I no longer see my unwillingness to fight as an indictment of my character.”(2), which shows that one does not simply become a man by being involved in a fight. Gerzon further goes on to state that while he might've been embarrassed at the time of the incident, he later realizes he did himself a favor by not putting his body parts...
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