6 October 2014
Compare and Contrast: A Reading Analysis
Throughout dozens of decades the subject of the Earth’s environment has been in the hands of human beings; however, society is in the brink of finding out the true importance of living a sustainable life due to all the allocations of whether saving our natural resources is the next step for mankind. In fact, in the matter of the following years the subject of environmental science will fall upon the words of contemporary society in a rapid state. Earth is limited in natural resources and it is important for human beings to not fall in oblivion which may lead to a lifestyle the humans have not yet witnessed. Maude Barlow, a leading voice against U.S.—Canada Free Trade Agreement, speaks on behalf the issue of water consumption which doubles every twenty years; it is almost more than double the rate of the human population growth. Barlow reports that as the world moves toward increased globalization, the value of natural resources will be on the rise. This situation will give those who have control over resources, such as water, more economic and political power. In addition, Wendell Berry, an educator with the National Endowment for the Arts award, describes American culture as a foolish equation of “limitlessness” with “freedom. Berry then looks to Marlowe’s Faustus and Milton’s Satan for prescient examples of our currently self-obsessed and selfish society, and to art in general for ways to live in a more sustainable way. A well-known writer and environmentalist challenges America’s attitude toward energy resources as delusional. As the title of this selection suggests, this attitude will have the gravest consequences for the planet Although both authors indicate a serious concern on the allocation a disruption of Earth’s limited resources, the way they try to approach the audience are exceptionally different.
Initially, Berry’s and Barlow’s use of language is different from one another; however, they do have similarities. To begin, Barlow has a very analytical, academic tone appealing to logos. For example, throughout Barlow’s essay there is a significant amount of statistics and facts from a variety of sources. “The number of large dams worldwide has climbed from just over 5,000 in 1950 to 38,000 today” states Barlow. Not only this gives the author the academic tone needed to persuade an audience, but it provides effective proof for the audience. Moreover, Berry approaches the audience through the use of pathos. An example is the words taken to describe human being such as animals. Berry states, “But to define ourselves as animals, given our specifically human powers and desires, is to define ourselves as limitless animals—which of course is a contradiction in terms.” Berry’s use of language is appealing to the emotions of the reader in order to have an emotional reaction towards the subject. Although both authors use of language differ, the passion for living a more sustainable way of life impact the reader. Their passion for environmental science make their use of language have discreet similarities.
Furthermore, both authors use of rhetorical strategies differ from one another. Barlow chooses a classic argument development with specific subject-centered points designed to get the reader to agree that water should not be treated like a product to be sold to the highest bidder. She wants us to think about what water is to us. Barlow uses argumentative language and examples. Berry relies on more generalized and philosophical arguments designed to get the reader to think about the “big picture” of why we treat our natural resources the way we do and why we should not.
Moreover, Barlow and Berry choose different critical foci for their arguments. Berry is secular throughout her essay. However, Berry’s approach is more spiritual and philosophical due to the use of the Christian religion and cultural history. The effect on a secular approach is much more effective in contemporary society due to the fact that it is direct and filled with statistics and facts rather than from readings. In addition, the spiritual approach could hurt an argument, but it also has its pro’s. Modern society is still very spiritual and believe in their designated religions and due to the prior knowledge on readings. There is an effective approach in both passages because it has to do with the same subject. Both authors would be influencing both halves of the world.
To conclude, although both authors had an effective argument within their passages, Barlow has the upper hand in approaching and persuading the audience. Berry’s secular and directness towards the audience is much more effective and provides the needed information. In contemporary society most people rather have the facts at hand than having to do readings to understand the spirituality of the subject. In addition, the readings helped me as an individual to understand both approaches to an argument.