William F. Buckley, Jr.

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William F. Buckley, JR. “Why Don’t we complain” first appeared in Esquire in 1961. In this essay Buckley aims to convince his readers that America is too lazy to even mention their own predicaments. He then goes on to explain Americans passive acceptance of circumstances. In doing this he uses several anecdotes based on his past, using careful diction and to keep his audience engaged he sprinkles in rhetorical questions.

Buckley opens his essay with a personal anecdote describing the acceptance of “whatsoever” he realizes that outside it was below freezing temperature and in the train it was 85 degrees. Buckley explains how the train conductor went back and forth through the aisle and not a single person moaned. There were ample amounts of people sweated, but still not one person mentioned it. This technique immediately establishes the essay as informal and personal. It is a great way to capture the reader's attention. Also, this particular anecdote is used as background information for the first point Buckley makes in the following paragraph that Americans are willing to accept their problems without mentioning their contradictions. Buckley pinpoints what could have been done to fix the problem, he list a few examples one being they could have turned down the heat and let the outdoor air indoors. He uses the word “nonchalantly” comes from the root word nonchalant which means seeming to be coolly unconcerned or indifferent. He uses this use of diction, to show that not even one of the eighty American freemen asked the conductor to explain to them why they were consigned to suffer. Notice he uses the word “consigned” which means to give over to the care of another. His usage is to show that none of the passengers were bold enough to mention their dilemma with the temperature of the train. This is directly followed by the anecdote explaining the necessity for “Americans to speak up about their problems. He then ask a rhetorical question “ why could not I (or...
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