Critical Analysis Of 'Want-Creation Fuels Americans' Addictiveness?

Topics: Writing, Essay, Audience Pages: 7 (1510 words) Published: March 7, 2018


Beyond its decorative purposes, style serves a powerful purpose as writers implement its devices in the construction of structurally understandable, memorable, and convincing arguments. However, even competent writers may occasionally misuse the very stylistic categories and devices intended to improve, or progress, their arguments. For instance, such misuse exists in former professor, Philip Slater’s essay, “Want-Creation Fuels Americans’ Addictiveness.” In his essay, Slater argues how addictive behavior in America arises from society’s exploitation of Americans’ susceptibility to social pressure. Despite its intriguing subject, Slater’s essay demonstrates how the misuse of stylistic elements can quickly impede an argument’s persuasive power....

In the case of Slater’s essay, his audience primarily consists of subscribers, or readers, of a local Twin Cities newspaper. Thus, the scope of this audience permits Slater to utilize the various characteristics typical of plain-style. Slater’s execution of each these aspects, however; comes with varying degrees of success. Aside from a few scattered anomalies, the overall vocabulary of Slater’s essay does not rise above the expected standard reading level of most educated Americans. For example, he may utilize such words as “inveighing” or “apropos” but their unfamiliarly does not impede the understanding of his overall message (Slater 391, 395). Being that Slater’s audience consists mainly of this genre of individuals, this not only an appropriate stylistic choice on his part, but an educated one. Not surprisingly, composing with a colloquial vocabulary makes Slater’s argument more accessible, and thereby, more intriguing to his intended readers. And, considering that a significant part of persuading an audience consists of having them agree with one’s ideas, the value of accessibility becomes even more...

Dominating much of the essay, Slater appears to further pursue a sense of comradery and responsibility with his readers. He states that because “we [Americans] like novelty [and] immediate solutions,” addiction will prevail “until we begin to celebrate and refine what we already are and have” (Slater 395). As before, Slater applies plain-style to reinforce communal interest, however; the sheer abundance of these statements soon begins to overwhelm the essay – particularly when Slater’s pursuit of communal investment becomes one of culpability. Including those statements mentioned previously, overwhelming evidence of this logical fallacy, guilt-by-association, exists throughout Slater’s essay. More specifically, Slater manipulates the stylistic devices asyndeton, anaphora, and later understated hyperbole, achieving various intentional and unintentional effects. The most compelling evidence regarding this matter can be found in the fifth, sixth, and seventh paragraphs of Slater’s essay. To some readers, Slater’s intent for these devices may only seem emphatic, however; its latent effect reveals something far more striking about his attitude toward his subject and by extension, his audience. Observe the following excerpt from the seventh...
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