I am posting my homework; an English assignment that is due tomorrow, and was designed to help us develop different writing styles and techniques that are essential to research and development assignments in the near future. This little puppy is a comparison and contrast essay laid out in a block format. Let me know what you think, and discuss any points, comment or piercing remarks you may have below.
Comparing Two Essays
Comparing two well written and thought provoking essays not only changes the reader in their ideology, but it makes it difficult to rank one higher than the other when each are equal in the strength of the message they are trying to convey to the reader. The two essays “Justice and Journalism,” by Victor Chen and “Minorities is Everything,” by Olive Johnson, are quite similar persuasion essays in terms of their topics, purpose, techniques and persuasion, although they are, of course, different.
In Victor Chen’s essay, his topic deals with a general social issue, and his purpose, he tries to persuade the readers to change their point of view towards increased crime and harsher sentencing. He looks at the public perception that exists because of the media on how they cover and report the news, and he touches on two points: the incidence of violent crime compared to actual crime rates, and how the justice system sentences those criminals. His purpose is to show the reader that the media often distorts the coverage of the news by presenting a greater portion of coverage that is dedicated to the most violent and horrific of crimes. “The media is in the market of selling stories,” and as a consequence, the public’s perception is skewed into believing that crime, particularly violent crimes, are prevalent because of the time given to cover them.
Chen’s technique and method of persuading the reader are in his uses of statistics, comparisons and phrases to convey his message. The statistics are used to show the difference between what the media covers in its allotted time and content, and the actual rates of crimes recorded by the justice system. The statistics that he uses are very compelling due to the extreme measurements they present, and they give a shock value to the reader. The use of comparisons are made to show the reader that the media has more of a purpose other than just presenting the public with the news story, they need to sell the story, and competition with other mediums means that its content must have more violent crimes than current events so that the public will want to buy their product. Also in his essay, Chen starts off with a “catch phrase” which is designed to hook the reader. The impact of using a “catchy” phrase is to draw the reader into the story and make them interested and wanting more. His success in persuading the reader is in the realization that once the media is exposed for what their function beyond covering the news is, the profits from selling as many copies as possible, statistical facts are then used to back those claims and to prove that violent crimes and harsher sentencing are in reality, the opposite.
In Olive Johnson’s essay, she has chosen a topic that is a sharply debated subject in our society and has undertaken in her message, a purpose that deals with the public understanding in hopes that someday, soon, everyone will accept homosexuality as we do with left-handed people. Her topic deals with homosexuality and the challenges of public perception towards it. Her purpose is to make us understand that when we look at history, and make a comparison of how left-handed people were treated in the past, and then treated today, we should also view homosexuality in the same manner.
Using her personal experiences about her children, she makes a very strong point through her techniques and her persuading makes a very convincing argument to the reader. The two main techniques used in this essay are the comparisons of left-handed people versus homosexual people, and a under laying sense of humour that depending on when you were born, life would be great, or it would be bad depending on society of the day. The general point Johnson wishes the readers to have is a changed view that would allow in accepting homosexuality as a natural occurrence, in the same way we see left-handedness, we would then assume it to be a part of each person’s individuality.
There are similar aspects between the two essays in both purpose and persuading the reader; however, they are different in topic and the technique used to communicate their argument. Each challenges the reader to open their mind and see that there is more to the problem than what the common beliefs and social values are. In Chen’s essay, he develops a statistical analysis to make his argument, while Johnson uses a comparison between left-handed and homosexual people that uses humour and the timing of when one is born.
Norton, Sarah, and Brian Green. Essay Essentials with Readings. Canada: Thompson, 2003