Rhetorical Analysis Paper
Charles Murray’s “Are Too Many People Going to College?” essay is adapted from his book published in 2008: Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. In this essay, Charles Murray aims to convince his readers that too many people are going to college, too many people whom do not have the proper core knowledge that is needed to succeed. Instead, many students get ahead of themselves and plan for an unforeseeable future, when they do not know if they are going to succeed in this higher level of education without that proper core knowledge or the proper linguistic ability. Charles Murray states his opinions in this persuasive essay by incorporating ideas of other works of writing by other people and by drawing the audiences’ attention through realistic situations. I will not be doing a critique, I will be analyzing his essay to see whether he used deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning. Charles Murray wants to prove that too many people are going to college without having the proper core knowledge that should have been given to them in their middle school and high school years to prepare them for the higher level of education that is college. Without that core knowledge, Charles Murray does not believe that a student will be as successful as a student who does have the proper core knowledge. There are three persuasive arguments in favor of Murray’s thesis in his essay. One argument is that in order to truly be part of a culture, it requires a person to familiarize themselves with the basic knowledge of that culture: the core knowledge. This means everyone living in the United States should know the United States history and key figures, especially if it is their own history. Murray gives an example that if someone lives in the United States and does not know or recognize who Teddy Roosevelt was, or what Prohibition was, or even Gettysburg, than that means cultural illiteracy. He goes on to say that people should not just know about their own culture, that they should have the knowledge of other cultures that have made a huge impact on the world, like, Apollo, the Sistine Chapel, the Inquisition and Mozart. Core knowledge is what makes up and helps us see the big picture that is our history and other people’s history as well. Another argument is that core knowledge is what holds a culture together. Murray says that all American children, even if their family came to America 300 years ago or 3 months ago, should know the story of what is America, or how America got started and how it has evolved. Murray thinks children need to learn about things like the Pilgrims, Valley Forge, Duke Ellington, Susan B. Anthony and the Freedom Riders. The core knowledge that makes up America, is what makes the people in America, Americans. The core knowledge is our shared identity that unites us all together. The third argument is that core knowledge is best to be taught in the years K-8, and that the effort should be made in elementary school. Murray believes that starting early is very important because it takes time. It takes time because there is a lot to learn. Another reason that he gives for his argument is that small children like to learn stories and myths. Children are more eager to learn at a young age and memorize new things that they have learned. Murray’s essay has followed a deductive method of reasoning. Deductive reasoning is moving from a general assumption to a specific conclusion. Murray’s essay has many general assumptions that lead to a specific conclusions. I believe his logical flow was deductive because in order for it to be deductive reasoning there has to be two things: truth and he must believe. Successful students have proper core knowledge, so having proper core knowledge helps you be a successful student, which is what Murray believes. In his essay he gives the reader two different scenarios, one with a female student...
Bibliography: Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. "Are Too Many Peop Going to College?" They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 222-42. Print.
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