In their essays, both authors Sidney Callahan and Deborah Tannen discuss strategies for a possible improvement in society’s ways of arguing. In “Fight Fierce but Fair: Practice at Home,” (1994), Callahan claims “if you learn to fight well and fairly at home, you can contribute to the civic struggle necessary to keep a pluralistic society moving.” With a set of guidelines and rules composed through personal experience, Callahan successfully uses this technique to give readers an immediate call to action and a solid, convincing essay. In “The Triumph of the Yell,” (1994), Tannen claims that “more and more these days, journalists, politicians, and academics treat public discourse as an argument – not in the sense of making an argument, but in the sense of having one, of having a fight.” Tannen masterfully uses the anecdotes and introduces new ideas to readers to create a compelling argument.
Callahan begins her essay discussing her personal experiences in public debating with her family. Using this technique such as anecdotes instantly establishes her essay as informal and grabs the reader’s attention. Continuing on, Callahan again tries to keep readers’ interest in the topic by providing another anecdote discussing her relationship with her husband, “One of the most critical agreements that Dan and I share is our joint commitment to the Callahan guidelines for conducting civilized debate. If we could convince the larger world of these rules (painfully acquired from experience in public debates on abortion), we could make a great contribution to cleaning up our polluted public discourse.” This is a very useful technique Callahan uses in order to prove her methods for conducting civilized debate are successful since her relationship is fine with her husband, despite their disagreements. Following her anecdotes are the guidelines she provides for debate. She provides theses guidelines in a terse manner. Though she explains each rule in detail,...
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