William Safire: Abolish the Penny

Topics: Question, Rhetorical question, The Reader Pages: 4 (1308 words) Published: March 2, 2013
William Safire: Abolish the Penny
William Safire writes a fine argumentative piece on why America no longer has any need for a bothersome coin of copper that “costs more in employee-hours,” than it is actually worth. Safire uses compelling evidence and real life scenarios to convince his audience that we need to rid our lives of this, “outdated, almost worthless, bothersome and wasteful penny.” If the reader is able to read between the lines and use some analytical processes, they will come to find there is a hidden metaphor in Safire’s argument. He is not just furiously venting on an insignificant cent. William Safire’s positional essay is extremely influential at instilling passion in Americans and helping to open their eyes to his main claim. He accomplishes this through his strategically dialectic yet coarse humor, structure and rather odd way of getting his reader to join his crusade against this revolting “specious specie” of money.

Safire is a refined and established writer with credentials that make him worthy to write for one of the most famous newspapers in our country, which has a broad audience that reaches millions of readers. Not just any writer is given the privilege of writing for the New York Times which has one of the highest reading comprehension levels of any newspaper. Safire has even won the Pulitzer Prize; and has such aptitude that he has written speeches for President Nixon. Safire clearly states, “It’s time to re-establish my contrarian credentials,” and “Infuriate the vast majority.” These quotes let the audience know what he is accepted for as author will not be what he is writing about. The audience knows that William Safire has credentials and this creates credibility with the audience. We can only be left with the question of why and how he wants to deviate.

As I go through and count, one by one, the nine rhetorical questions, I realize that Safire never gives the reader a chance to think for themselves. He asks, “What is...
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