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The Decline of Fatherhood

Oct 08, 1999 875 Words
The Decline of Fatherhood

David Popenoe’s “The Decline of Fatherhood” discusses the rapid decay of our children due to the loss of male parenting. Popenoe’s use of logos and ethos are efficient in the context of the paper to relate the behavior of present day children due to the growing absence of fatherly figures. The author, however, uses very little if any emotional appeal; but because of the nature and direction of the writing, the lack of pathos has no profound effect on the overall intent of David Popenoe’s purpose. “The Decline of Fatherhood” by David Popenoe is a well written essay that convincingly persuades his view point through intelligent observation of facts. Logos is David Popenoe’s most useful tool for argument in this essay. He uses several statistics to show the growing number of fatherless children from the turn of the century until the present, he and then successfully compares it to the alarming amount of growth in the delinquency and scarcity of education in children of the latest generation. The factual information provided with the explanatory details from the author makes his points obvious and clear to the reader. Because of the efficient use of the data and facts, the paper backs itself with rationale and logic which leads the audience to a greater understanding of the science behind the reasoning. For example, Popenoe wrote that only fifty percent of children born from 1970 until 1984 are now living with both parents. The results of this dramatic increase has tripled teen suicide, dropped SAT scores seventy Braithwaite 2 points, increased the drug alcohol rate at an incredibly quicker pace, and has placed thirty-eight percent of the nation’s children in poverty. The cause and effect relationships demonstrated by the author are logically appealing and unmistakably apparent in his perspective and studies. The infallible devising of the facts linked with common sense easily portray the convincing ideas of Popenoe on to others as they indulge into his essay. Yet another great example of appeal is established in the work of the author. The essay is not only well supplied with evidence and explanation, but it takes advantage of the superior credibility and reputation proceeding the writer. Before any words were even read on paper, Popenoe immediately sets an intellectual and believable tone being a professor in sociology. The fact that the writing was conceived by a well educated, knowledgeable man heightens the confidence of the reader to believe the information contributed. As well as the respectability of Popenoe being a plethora of sociological input, he uses other trustworthy sources in addition to himself. “Children, a committee assembled by the Board of Children and Families of the National Research Council concluded, ‘children learn critical lessons about how to recognize and deal with highly charged emotions in the context of playing with their fathers, ” exhibits the use of another highly qualified organization that complies with the writer’s findings to further legitimize his perspective of the decline of fatherhood in America. The attraction of such learned persons forms an easily plausible essay that prevails in bringing its point across. Despite the prosperous efforts of Popenoe in his application of logos and ethos, his paper does lack in its emotional appeal toward the audience. The author Braithwaite 3 does not make a very conscious effort to relate to the feelings his readers may have over the debate of fatherless families. The use of pathos in literature is extremely effective especially when concerning family issues and the losses children must face when losing their fathers. Whenever dealing with the absence of family it becomes a delicate issue where emotions can run high. However, the nature and style of the writing leaves minute room for an appeal to empathy. The logical and scientific manner of the essay does not allow for pathos to take a place in the writing. A further effort of the author would be to use a personal experience involving himself or another family. The personal tragedies people encounter are very effective when attempting to make others realize their point. If one takes a story of individual loss and ties it into their writing, then they begin to appeal to their emotions while also using evidence to reinforce it. Popenoe’s writing, though, does not allow a story to take place because of its precise structure and constant listing of facts. Although the lack of ethos does not completely damage his paper, he could use a sentimental appeal more efficiently. David Popenoe’s “The Decline of Fatherhood” effectively conveys the disturbing facts behind the absence of fathers in the household. Logical and ethical appeals contribute vastly to the understanding and comprehension of this writing especially since it contains scientific information and data. The logos and ethos presented were well thought out and utilized in an efficeint manner to relay facts and theories pertinent to the subject discussed. However, in spite of its methodical tone, the essay does not allow for any emotional appeal. Because of David Popenoe’s sufficient use of writing techniques, he was able to produce a highly credible essay.

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