Analysis of the Power of Introverts
Rosalie E. Vento
Composition II: ENG 102
Author and former attorney, Susan Cain speaks on behalf of introverts, for the empowerment of introverts, as an introvert herself. Cain's speech given on the TED2012 stage, titled, An introverted call to action, addresses concerns and offers solutions to what she considers problems faced by introverts in western society. Cain’s main argument states that introverts are frequently deemed less valuable in workplace and classroom settings, in part, due to their inherent aversion to increased social stimulation; whereas, extroverts, who crave this stimulation are considered ideal employees. Cain asserts that society’s idea of extroverts being absolute because of their naturally outgoing nature and their predilection toward group-work, unfairly gives them the advantage over introverts in settings such as the workplace. Cain insists introverts ultimately have the same, if not more potential to achieve success, they just possess an affinity towards independent studies and are noticeably more shy by nature, which should not discredit their value to society or leadership capabilities. Cain recognizes the need for a balance of people from both ends of the spectrum to cultivate a creative and successful society, and is not campaigning against extroverts. She is simply imploring Americans to stop adhering to the habits primarily displayed by extroverts in today's workplaces. Stating that, by allowing introverts to comfortably work within their zone of stimulation without judgment, and likewise allowing extroverts to do the same, we create an environment where every individual can maximize their creative talents. (Cain,2012) Cain uses a multitude of rhetorical devices to effectively persuade her audience that introverts are an integral asset to society and they should be empowered not repressed.
Starting with the introduction of the speech and throughout its entirety, Cain creates an ethical appeal to convince the audience she is credible enough to speak on introversion and to explore her ability to appeal to the audience as a whole, not just to the introverts. The first of many examples where Cain effectively achieved this outcome is during the opening story, where she describes a summer away at camp, and explains she arrived as a shy girl who preferred to read books as opposed to participating in group activities, and left a confused girl, very aware of how people perceive her introverted style of being. With the confession of her struggles at camp and a suitcase as a visual aid to add a persuasive dimension to her speech, she immediately gains the trust of her introverted audience by classifying herself as one within that example. However, she further explains that since leaving camp that year, she unwittingly abandoned her introverted ways to model herself after an extrovert throughout most of her adult life, which eventually led to her successes as a Wall Street attorney. This caused her to appeal to people in the audience who were on the other end of the spectrum, who might have initially been skeptical of the direction her speech. This rhetorical tactic prevents Cain from alienating extroverts in the audience while simultaneously staying true to her position. She continues to impress the opposition with the use of ethos by admitting that some of the most cherished people in her life are extroverts, further adding to her fair mindedness on the subject and maintaining balance and trust from her audience. The interest and respect of her audience peaks once she integrates logical appeal to bolster her ethical appeal, by way of summarizing the work of Carl Jung, the psychologist who first popularized the terms extrovert and introvert. She explains that his scholarly research concludes that there is no such thing as a pure introvert or a pure extrovert. She credits him to...
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Black, C. (2011, February 14). Ratio of Introverts. Retrieved from http://introvertzone.com/ratio-of-introverts
Cain, S. (2012, February). Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Talk Video | TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts
Napa Group, LLC. (2013). Give and Take :: Home. Retrieved from http://www.giveandtake.com/
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