Structural Analysis In their essays, both authors Sidney Callahan and Deborah Tannen discuss strategies for a possible improvement in society’s ways of arguing. In “Fight Fierce but Fair: Practice at Home,” (1994), Callahan claims “if you learn to fight well and fairly at home, you can contribute to the civic struggle necessary to keep a pluralistic society moving. ” With a set of guidelines and rules composed through personal experience, Callahan successfully uses this technique to give readers an immediate call to action and a solid, convincing essay.
In “The Triumph of the Yell,” (1994), Tannen claims that “more and more these days, journalists, politicians, and academics treat public discourse as an argument – not in the sense of making an argument, but in the sense of having one, of having a fight. ” Tannen masterfully uses the anecdotes and introduces new ideas to readers to create a compelling argument. Callahan begins her essay discussing her personal experiences in public debating with her family. Using this technique such as anecdotes instantly establishes her essay as informal and grabs the reader’s attention.
Continuing on, Callahan again tries to keep readers’ interest in the topic by providing another anecdote discussing her relationship with her husband, “One of the most critical agreements that Dan and I share is our joint commitment to the Callahan guidelines for conducting civilized debate. If we could convince the larger world of these rules (painfully acquired from experience in public debates on abortion), we could make a great contribution to cleaning up our polluted public discourse. This is a very useful technique Callahan uses in order to prove her methods for conducting civilized debate are successful since her relationship is fine with her husband, despite their disagreements. Following her anecdotes are the guidelines she provides for debate. She provides theses guidelines in a terse manner. Though she explains each rule in detail, Callahan writes it almost in a list form along with a brief topic sentence about the rule. By being frank, Callahan keeps the readers’ attention, because there are no actual anecdotes or statistics in her solutions to increase interest.
In her purpose of writing she uses points of pathos to trigger readers’ emotions. Describing America’s dilemmas we face as “scenarios which don’t have happy endings. ” This technique puts readers in a pressured position to contribute to solving this problem. Callahan concludes her essay letting readers know if her guidelines are followed “you can learn new things. ” In “The Triumph of the Yell,” Tannen beings her essay with a question from a personal anecdote. With this technique, Tannen grabs the reader’s attention. Shortly after, Tannen gives her thesis statement along with introducing her idea of the “culture of critique. When supporting her claim, she mentions Paul Ekman, a psychologist. By doing this she gives readers reason to believe that he has an expertise because of his status and credentials. She then continues on clarifying the culture of critique and defines it for the readers using an illustration. “At the urging of her professors, she decided to make academia her profession. But she changed her mind after a year in an art history program at a major university. She felt she had fallen into a “den of wolves. ” “I wasn’t cut out for academia,” she concluded.
But does academia have to be so combative that it cuts people like her out? ” The anecdote she provides gives readers a sense of emotional appeal. The subtle uses of words make the biggest difference, such as “people like her. ” Tannen gives readers the impression she did not deserve that kind of treatment. In her purpose statement, “it contributes to an atmosphere of animosity that spreads like a fever. ” She again tries to give the impression to readers that this problem is really dangerous to society. It is backed up by her anecdote on a television talk show. Both authors are rhetorically effective in different ways.
Where Callahan is effective is in her solution, but certainly does not prove any solid points whether there is a problem in the first place. Where as Tannen clearly states what is wrong in society, but hardly gives any call to action. But Tannen overall develops a more clear and stronger essay than Callahan does. There is a better choice of anecdotes and evidence to support her claim and lead up to her purpose of writing the essay. Works Cited Callahan, Sidney. “Fight Fierce but Fair: Practice at Home. ” Commonweal 11 Feb. 1994 Tannen, Deborah. “The Triumph of the Yell. ” New York Times 14 Jan. 1994