Women's Brains Rhetorical Analysis

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  • Topic: Rhetoric, Craniometry, The Mismeasure of Man
  • Pages : 1 (369 words )
  • Download(s) : 8581
  • Published : April 1, 2013
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In his essay, “Women’s Brains”, Stephen Jay Gould discusses the incorrect and often biased research of women’s intelligence based on data written by craniometrometer Paul Broca. While Gould does not come out and blatantly say it, I believe that he is using this essay to appeal to a more open minded individual who will take the data presented to them, and formulate their own opinions and ideas based off of what Gould has projected. I believe that Gould is actually a very liberal-minded person, and is uses this essay to subtly recognize the change and contrast between the female standings in the 1800s, and the female standings in present day.

Gould uses many rhetorical devices to get his point across. He appeals to the ethos of the reader by crediting multiple authors and scientists, which makes the data Gould presents believable, because the people he credits to the data are trusted to be intelligent. Another example of Gould appealing to logos is his constant crediting of himself by presenting a huge array of knowledge of aforementioned scientists, making him seem well-versed in female studies in the 1800s. He utilizes allusion in his statement “Elliot goes on to discount the idea of innate limitation, but while she wrote in 1872, the leaders of Europe…the inferiority of women.” Another example of allusion is “In the Prelude to Middlemarch, George Elliot lamented the unfulfilled lives of talented women.” By using allusions to things generally known to the public, he appeals to the logos of the reader, making them prone to trust the speaker and his opinions.

Gould also uses logical fallacies in his essay. “Gustave Le Bon, chief misogynist of Broca’s school, used these data to publish what must be the most vicious attack upon women in modern scientific literature.” Gould employs hasty generalization in this statement. It makes the reader hesitant about Le Bon right from the get-go. It shows that Gould’s perceived views are not as extreme as they could be, and...
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