Analysis of two essays
Do you know the differences between honesty and integrity? “The Insufficiency of Honesty” which is from textbook, “Refining Reading Writing” (Dasgupta & Mei, 2008, p. 132), was written by Stephen L. Carter. Carter discussed the differences between honesty and integrity in this essay. Stephen L. Carter (born October 26, 1954) is an American law professor, legal- and social-policy writer, columnist, and best-selling novelist (Stephen L. Carter, 2013). This essay first appeared in the February 1996 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (Dasgupta & Mei, 2008, p. 132). Carter (1996) thinks that honesty is a prerequisite of integrity, while honesty by itself is insufficient for the realization of integrity. On the other hand, do you know what does a wife do? Judy Brady will tell you. “I Want a Wife” was written by Judy Brady and it appeared in MS Magazine in 1971. Brady (1971) explains that a husband needs a wife because a wife can meet his needs in daily life such as cleaning the house. Carter’s and Brady’s essays can be compared in terms of subject, ideas, style, purpose and structure.
Carter’s and Brady’s essays focus on different subjects. Carter’s essay discussed the virtue of honesty and integrity. At the beginning of the essay, Carter told readers about his experience in order to bring the subject out. According to the first paragraph of the essay, “A couple of years ago I began a university commencement address by telling the audience that I was going to talk about integrity. The crowd broke into applause” (Dasgupta & Mei, 2008, p. 132), clearly, the subject is honesty and integrity. However, in Brady’s essay, “I Want a Wife”, tends to talk about the relationship of women and men in the society. In other words, she focused on family harmony. Therefore, Brady’s essay focuses on women.
Through comparison of Carter’s and Brady’s essays, their writing styles are distinct. Carter tried to convince readers. He used many examples approving honesty is sufficiency. For example, in order to die in peace, a husband who is laying on the deathbed confessed to his wife that he had an affair years ago. Carter thought that the husband is honest but he did not concern about his wife’s feeling so he is lack of integrity. Carter used other examples simply implied his thesis: honesty is not sufficiency and he persuades audiences with examples. In contrast, “I Want a Wife” has the humorous effects surprising readers. As the essay famously concluded, “who wouldn’t want a wife?” Brady uses a rhetorical question to bring audiences back to the theme.
Moreover, Carter’s essay is different from Brady’s because both essays have different structures. Carter cut the essay into three parts with three bold subheadings which are “Telling Everything You Know”, “Error” and “Honesty and Competing Responsibilities”. However, In Brady’s essay, Brady did not use subheading in her essay but she uses the repetition of “I want a wife who will…” which is effectively emphasis the wife’s role in family and husband’s selfishness. Then, Brady outlines a list of what wives are expected to do after the repetition of the title.
Carter’s and Brady’s essays have different ideas. Carter claims that there is a link between honesty and integrity but honesty is insufficient from integrity:
The point is that honesty can be something one seems to have. Without integrity, what passes for honesty often is nothing of kind; it is fake honesty- or it is honest but irrelevant and perhaps even immoral. Another reason that honesty alone is no substitute for integrity is that if forthrightness is not preceded by discernment, it may result in the expression of an incorrect moral judgment. A further problem with too great an exaltation of honesty is that may allow us to escape responsibilities that morality bids us bear. Integrity does not permit such an easy escape.
He points out that there are three differences between honesty and integrity....
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