“The Proper Place for Sports” Close Reading Questions
Directions: Answer the following completely and thoroughly on your own paper. 1. Roosevelt argues against sports if they “degenerate into the sole end of any one’s existence” (para. 2). What examples does he give to support his argument? Are they effective? Do they withstand the test of time? Can you apply his argument to participation in sports today? Explain. 2. What assumptions about his son underlie Roosevelt’s argument? 3. Characterize the letter’s tone. Do some parts seem more presidential than fatherly? Identify and explain. 4. How does the first paragraph of the letter balance appeals to logos and pathos? 5. Analyze the following two sentences, considering the effects of Roosevelt’s diction. In which ways does the language support or undermine his argument?
Understand me, I should think mighty little of you if you permitted chagrin to make you bitter on some point where it was evidently right for you to suffer the chagrin. (para. 1) I don’t want you to sacrifice standing well in your studies to any over-athleticism; and I need not tell you that character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in winning success in life. (para. 2)
6. Roosevelt begins the letter by saying he did not hurry in his response because he wanted to confer with Ted’s mother. He doesn’t mention her again until paragraph 4. What is the effect of this rhetorical decision? 7. How does Roosevelt achieve his measured response to what was obviously a sense of urgency in the letter to which he is responding? Look particularly at the ways he uses the word if
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