The Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay
 1932236457

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Table of contents :
Table o f Contents
Preface..................................................................... \X Acknowledgments............................................... xm Chapter-Paragraph Outline ..........-.................. _.xv
1 Introduction: Rhetoric as the Liberal Art
o f Sou]-Leading in Writing .......................1
2 Invention. The Discovery o f Arguments..... 15
3 Organization: The Desire for Design..... . 43
4 Style: Words and Sentences..... ................-.73
5 Re-Vision: Products and Processes............107
6 Conclusion: Rhetoric as the
Office o f Assertion................................. 119
Appendix 1 Appendix 2
Student Essay: The Maturation ofTelemachos...............................125
Evaluation Standards for Essays .. 137 Peer-Review Form................ 139
Appendix 3
Works Cited.. 141

Citation preview

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T H E O F F I C E OF

ASSERTION A n f o r

a r t t h e

SCOTT

o f

r

h

e t o

A c a d e m i c

r

i c

Es s a y

F. C R I D E R

T he

O f f ic e

of

A s s e r t io n

T he O f f ic e

of

A s s e r t io n

An Art o f Rhetoric for the Academic Essay

S cott

F.

C r id e r

LSI Books W ilm ington, Delaware 2005

Copyright © io n 5 1ST Books Sixth Printing. October 2015 All rights reserved. N o pare o f rhis publication may be reproduced nr Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechan­ ical* including phococopy. or any information storage and re­ trieval system now known or ru be invented, without permission in writing from rhe publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written lor inclusion m a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast

Crider. Score F T h e o ftic e o f a s s e r tio n : a n a r t n f r h e to r ic fo r th e a c a d e m ic e s s a y S c o t t P C r i d e r — 1 st pel — W i l m i n g t o n , D e l 1ST B on k s. 10 0 5

p. . cm Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN: 1932236457 1 Rhetoric, a. English languagc-Rhetonc. 3 EssayAuthorship 4. Academic writing. T T ide

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Published in rhe United States by:

LSI B o o k s

Intercollegiate Studies Institute 3901 CentiTvillc Road

Wilmington. DR 19807-1938 \\%vw. 1S1books.org

Book design by Kara beer Manufactured in the United States o f America

Dedicated to David Beil. Mure dt'rtontmco. and John Briggs, i(ood men skilled in speaking

We are speaking where we stand, and we shall stand afterwards in the presence o f wliac we have said. Wendell Berry Standing by Words

Table o f Contents

Preface.....................................................................\X Acknowledgments............................................... xm Chapter-Paragraph Outline ..........-.................. _.xv 1

Introduction: Rhetoric as the Liberal Art o f Sou]-Leading in Writing .......................1

2

Invention. The Discovery o f Arguments..... 15

3

Organization: The Desire for D esign..... . 43

4

Style: Words and Sentences..... ................-.73

5

Re-Vision: Products and Processes............107

6

Conclusion: Rhetoric as the Office o f Assertion................................. 119

Appendix 1

Student Essay: The Maturation o f Telemachos............................... 125

Appendix 2

Evaluation Standards for Essays .. 137

Appendix 3

Peer-Review Form................

Works Cited..

139 141

Preface

Having looked unsuccessfully far and wide for a. very shorr rhetoric co use in my literature courses, I de­ cided to w rite one, l found mosc rhetorics, even those I still very much admire, overly long, developed, and encyclopedic—that is, better consulted than read all the way through. J wanted a shorter treatment: a long essay, not a textbook. Too many others were written with far too low a view o f both students’ intellects and rhetoric’s nature. You have in your hands, then, a brief but serious rhetoric, one which can be read profitably in a weekend and which, for die interested student, can be used as an introduc­ tion to the classical art o f rhetoric and composition. The works cited form a select Iibran* for the more advanced student to pursue. I think this book could be used as the rhetoric in any humanities course, including first-year composition, supplemented per­ haps only with a handbook. Though I do think that advanced high school students, homeschoolers.and even professional writers will find the book profit­ able. it has been wricren primarily to the first-year college student.

IX

T h e O f h c t o f A s s e r t io n

Font o f the book’s characteristics require com­ ment. First, ir is informed both by the classical rhe­ torical tradition and more recent discoveries con­ cerning the writing process. Second, because I teach literature in a school with a core curriculum founded on great books, the approach is admittedly old-fash­ ioned and assumes chat the reader is interested in writing about those texts which have proven to be essential for anyone who wishes co understand, rather than simply dwell within, the contemporary world. One o f the reasons I have used a student es­ say on Homer j$ my belief that students write better when they write about difficult and important texts, especially chose, central to so many other texts. I hope the Homeric material will not be distracting for a general reader who may nor yet have read Homer. Indeed, my desire is that such a reader will be in­ spired to read Homer's foundational poems. The end here is in no way reactionary. What both celebrants and critics o f multicultural education have failed to understand js this; culture has always already been multicultural. There is no avoiding either the past or i he present, because the important texts of our own present culture are themselves intertextual re­ sponses to past ones. One o f the contemporary world’s most important poems, Derek Walcott’s OmvroSy for example, is a poem which at once relies upon and redefines its Homeric mrertexts. I shall ignore the culture war over curriculum because I believe it to be one long eitheror fallacy. Third, the book discusses only one kind o f writing: the aca\

P refute domic essay. This is certainly not the only form o f the genre, and 1 applaud the attempt to enlarge the kinds o f writing we ask students to produce. 1 have assigned dramatic scenes, poems, and journals my­ self Even so, most classes require an academic essav. My vision o f what rhetoric is would certainly encompass many other forms o f writing, perhaps even all, bur the focus here is quite limited and highly practical. Last, the book assumes and argues that the writing that students do for teachers matters, that in itself such writing is perhaps one o f the most important intellectual* emotional, and spiritual ex­ periences in the life that students and teachers share. Whatever the soul mav be exactly, it must be acknowledged by anyone, teacher or student, who hopes to be a good rhetor.

M

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Universin,'of Dallas, espe­ cially its Department o f English, for encouraging me in this project and providing release tune to com­ plete it. John AlviSj Ray DiLorenzo. Eileen Gregory, Greg Roper, Kathryn Smith, Glen Thu row, Gerard Wegemer, and Kas Zollei have been invaluable friends o f the enterprise. Jeremy Beer, David Bell, John Briggs, Bill Frank, and Lance Simmons each gave the book an exacting, helpful reading. Wayne Ambler, then Dean o f the UD Rome Program, en­ couraged me to use this book as the basis for the writing program in Rome while J was there, an ex­ perience which encouraged me greatly. I u-ould also like to thank rhe tutors in the UD Writing Lab for assistance and advice from 1994 co 2004, especially the Directors o f the Writing Program during that period: Joel Garza. Lisa Marciano, and Andrew Moran. Since 1994, 1 have been fortunate to know a Urge number o f fine students, from whose essays I have learned a great deal about rhe teaching o f writmg. XIII

T k i . O r-net o f A sser tion Many have commented upon parts o f the book, and their readings have proven most helpful. I would like to thank all o f them, especially Tommy Hcync. whose essay I use here to exemplify fine undergradu­ ate wriring, and Ruth Fiegcnshue. whose essay I used in an earlier manuscript. 1 might have included a great many more essays from my students o f the last ten vears. An early student, Lynn Schofield, is now a teacher herself, and her use o f—and comments upon-the manuscript were especially astute and en­ couraging. I would like to thank Sharen Craft-Baker. Karen Boyd, and Karen Compel for their invaluable admin­ istrative assistance. Special thanks go to Diane C'ridcr, whose lov­ ing and continual correction o f my speech when l was a boy remains an inspiration. Final thanks are owed Trang Crider, whose in­ telligent and kind grace is irself an argument, and our son Kicn. already a talented rhetor. This small book js dedicated to three mentors, each in his distinct way a Quintilian. I am able to write it only because all o f them had the courage and patience to read student essays with care and to assume, on sometimes rather scant evidence, that they could be improved. I wish the book w?ere as good as their standards demanded.

Chapter-Paragraph Outline

Below is an outline o f die book by chapter and para­ graph. Within the text, I will often cross-reference discussions by including in bold brackets the chaprerand paragraph o f the matter discussed, e.g„/l.2j

/. Introduction: Rhetoric as the Liberal Art o f Soul-Leading in Writing 1.1-2 1.3-6

1.7 1.8 1.9

Introduction Rhetoric as a Productive Art 1.3) Rhetoric as a Faculty 1.4) Rhetoric as the Faculty o f Discovery 1.5) Rhetoric as the Faculty o f Discover­ ing in the Particular Case; Genre, Subject, Audience, and Purpose 1.6) Rhetoric as the Faculty o f Discover­ ing in the Particular Case the Available Means o f Persuasion: Invention, Organization, and Style Outline o f the Book Rheroric as a Liberal Arc Conclusion \\

Tm OvKich ot Asst-k tio v 2. In vent ion: Tift' Discovery o f Arguments 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4-14

Introduction Focus Thesis Development: Logic and the Topics of Invention 2.4) Development 2.5) The Principle o f Non-Contradiction 2.6) Induction and Deduction 2.7-S} Syllogisms and Enthvmemes: Categorical. Hypothetical, and Disjunctive 2.9) The En chyme me and the Example 2.10) Summary 2.1 t) Topics o f Invention 2.12) Definition 2 r3) Comparison 2.14) Relationship 2.15-17 Textual Explication 2.15) The Text 2.16) Analysts o f Parts 2.17) Synthesis o f the Whole 2.18 Summary 2 19 Discussion o f Student Essay's Invention 2.20 Conclusion

XVI

Cluipter-Pn ragraph Oathne

3 . Organization; The Desire for Design ;$.T 3.2 3.3-13

3.14 3.15 3.16

Introduction Immanent Design Tin' Classical Ora don 3.4-5} Introduction 3.6) Statement o f C-ircumsrancc 3.7) Outline 3 8) Proof 3.9- 10) Refutation 3.11-T3) Conclusion Paragraphing and Transitions Diseussion 0f Sru de 111 Hssayfs Organization Conclusion

l

Style:

Words itml Sentences 4.1 4.2 4.3

Introduction The Three Styles Style and Ethos

4.4 6

Diction

4.7-10

4.4) Word Choice 4.5) The Parts o f Speech 4.6) Diction Periods 4.7) The Period 4.8} Coordination 4.9- K)) Subordmadon

XVII

T hk O f f ic e of A sser tion 4.11 Summary 4.12 Parallelism 4.13-15 Metaphor 4.16 Discussion o f Student Essay's Style 4.17 Conclusion 0. Re-l'nion:

Products and Processes 5.1 5.2-5

Introduction Using the Three Canons as Stages in the Writing Process 5.2) Revision 5.3) Inventing 5.4) Organizing 5.5) Styling

5.6 5.7 5.8

Commentary and Revision:Professors, Tutors, and Peers The In-Class Essay: Instant Perfection Conclusion 6. Conclusion: Rhetoric as the Office of Assertion

6.1 6.2 6.3

Introduction Summary o f Chapters 2-5 Conclusion

W ill

1

Introduction: Rhetoric as the Liberal A rt o f Soul-Leading in Writing

[1.1] ‘'Rhetoric' is a term o f abuse, o f coursei Im­ mediately after someone has distorted the truth during an interview' on television, for example, the journalist will comment, “We know that was jusc rhetoric.” Rhetoric this pejorative term now' means any language, spoken or writ ten, which is mislead­ ing or actually untrue. There is reality, and there is rhetoric. As a consequence o f such usage, my read­ ers may be surprised to learn that they will be study­ ing this suspect art in order to learn how to write the academic essay. In fact, the art o f rhetoric has always been suspect in the Western philosophical tradition, an outlaw o f disciplines only occasionally allowed respectability; even so, many o f the most important figures in che Western intellectual tradi­ tion were indeed Trained in this art. In literature, the epic poets Virgil, Ovid, Dance, and Milton were themselves educated in rhetoric, and Homer argu­ ably invented it. Shakespeare's schooling was rhorI

T hk O] I 1(1 ok A sskki ion oughiy rhetorical In philosophy, rhetoric's most thoughtful critics, Plato and Augustine, were both trained in rhetoric, and Augustine was himself a teacher o f the art even after his conversion to Chris­ tianity. Nietzsche was a professor o f rhetoric. Even the "anti-philosophcr”Jaeques Derrida hoped to re­ vive the art o f rhetoric, though in its sophistic form. In politics, the founders o f the American regime were rhetoricians, in part because they were lawyers, blit more imporcantlv because rhey were liberally edu­ cated, and. until very recently, a liberal education in the humanities was a rhetorical education. Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln. Cady-$tanton, King: these Ameri­ can leaders were all students o f the art o f rhecoric. Arousmg both fear and interest, rhetoric has always been suspect, bur it (us still, interestingly, always been studied.

[ 1. 2 ] The fear is mistaken, hut the interest is not. This small hook has two rather Urge rhetorical pur­ poses o f its own. On the one hand, it has a highly practical goal' improving the reader's writing, espe­ cially o f the academic essav. It wall examine rhetoric as a productive arc, the principled process o f making a product, in this case an essay. On the other hand, it also has a more general goal: persuading the reader that rhetoric, as both a productive and a liberal art, is a good thing. To argue that rhetoric is a liberal art is hardly common. Intellectuals in both the humani­ ties and the sciences generally believe that rhetoric

Introduction is a corrupt form o f inquiry—chose in rhe humani­ ties convinced either that its calculation precludes sincerity or that irs informal reasoning precludes seriousness, those in the sciences convinced that its interest in the emotions precludes objectivity. As well, some in the humanities actually concede that rhetoric is not interested in truth, yet then defend it on chose grounds; for them, rhetoric is composed o f the rules o f any discourse, and an interest in the truth or falsity o f any word is naive. Though rhey may or may not realize it. they are defending, nor rhetoric, but sophistry. (We will re­ turn to this in a moment.) I grant that rhetoric is often misused, and I grant that it has its own limi­ tations as an arc. Many good things are limited, though, and there is nothing that cannot be abused The misuse o f rhetoric, according to Aristotle in the Rhetoric, does not condemn it: Ifit is argued that one who makes an unfair use of such a faculty of speech may do a great deal of harm, this objection applies equally ro all good things except virtue. and above all to those things which are most useful, such as health, wealth, generalship; for as these, rightly used, mav be of the greatest benefit, so. wrongly used, they mav do an equal amount of harm. (1.1.13) ^Rhetoric is no more essentially destructive than physi cjjJ There is no need to fear this art. As the reader’s writing improves, he or she should expe-

3

Tin O ffice or A ssertion rience an increasing intellectual power This power is a good power, even if the student were to misuse it When a journalist exposes misleading or untrue statements, for example, that is a good thing What the journalist simph may not recognize, or will not admit to the audience, is rhar the exposure is just as rhetorical as the statement exposed. The art o f rheto­ ric is not unjust; those who use it unjustly are. As Aristotle explains. "What makes one a sophist is not the faculty bur the moral purpose , j , -warninl* the essa\ in IIIIS rtllU l nv inn* —— p-odes. rhe poem held together In a single ac­ tion In the Odyssey, rh.ir action is the restora-

Tm : O iTK i' oj As .s i . r iio n non of a family and a polity. Thar restoration involves three related hut disriiiCT lives, though: Odysseus, Penelope, nod Tclemachos. In a four ro six-page essay imagine another shape. Mighc Jefferson have first catalogued his tacts, then supplied his principles? He might have, but it would be less effective Why? Because the reader only sees the nature o f those facts if lie or she understands the principles; that is. the tyrannical essence o f the oppressions lias irs lull significance for the reader because he or she sees that they distort die very end o f government that presumably justifies them. Why does t fie reader actually see chat? Because Jefferson's second paragraph prepares the reader to see it. Ex­ amining the contingencies o f his rhetorical situa­ tion, Jefferson discovered the best available means of persuasion by discerning within the nature of his argument the best available design. Shape itself has persuasive force, the design o f the intellectual and imaginative territory leading us through the parts that make up its cosmos.

[ 3.9] Arguments presuppose counter-arguments. Because propositions concern subjects about which reasonable people can disagree otherwise, there would be no argument—different rhetors will declare

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O r g a n iz a t i o n

different propositions about the same subject ac hand. Controversy is built into human association. As a consequence, the rhetor must not only develop his or her own argument, but also imagine and re­ fute counter-arguments if he or she is to be persua­ sive. Students do not, at first, believe this argument, convinced instead that encountering arguments other than their own will weaken, not strengthen, their case. There is no need to worry. One must in­ vent arguments other chan one's own and refute them, not simply to score points against an oppo­ nent, but rather to investigate the nature o f the sub­ ject ai hand. If you argue that Agamemnon is a poor leader, you must weigh the arguments that he is a good one; if you argue that A chilleus, not Agamemnon, is the cause o f the quarrel, you must weigh the arguments that it is Agamemnon, not Achilleus, who is the cause. And so on. There are only two questions concerning refutation. First, should one refute? Second, should one refute before or after one's proof? Let’s take the first question first. Even if one will not explicitly refute, one should— during the invention process [5.3]—imagine counter­ arguments to strengthen one’s own If your audi­ ence is hostile to, or even merely skeptical of, your case—if the professor reads the text differently, for example you must refute; otherwise, your reader will supply the refutation. A “hostile" reader, by the way, is not someone hostile to the writer personally; it is someone who disagrees with the writer's argu­ ment. All rhetorical communities house diverse 59

T hk O f f ic e of A ssertion opinions, and a(). rhetors face hostile audiences, even when rhe polity is a rhetorical community o f friends. Even friends have their disagreements, after all, and there is no need to fear opposition or to demonize one's opponents. As Socrares explains so often in the dialogues, he himself searches for opposition because it is only through refutation that one can clarify ones own ideas. The Greek term for So crane questioning, etenkhos, actually means ''refutation," and the interlocutors in rhe dialogues who fear refu­ tation are those who are either too ignorant to de­ sire correction or coo proud to tolerate it when it occurs. Interestingly, those who respond to Socraric refutation with anger are almost always unethical. Call ides in Plato’s Gotjffas and Thrasymachus in his Republics for example, both respond ro Socracic in­ terrogation with incivility, which is, o f course, quite natural: after all, who enjoys being refuted, especially in front o f other people? But it is a sign o f the good rhetor, as it is o f the good friend, thac he or she is willing to learn from others in the community, even i f the lesson is sometimes embarrassing. As he con­ tinually reminds us, Socrates does enjoy being re­ futed. Let him be our ideal. “ But he is seldom i f ever himself refuted." I hear my reader declare. True. That may be because Socrates spends so much o f his time imagining the counter-arguments he must sur­ mount to be persuasive.

fill

Orgunizaiiun [ 3. 10] The second question concerning refutation is also difficult. Although the formula o f the Clas­ sical Oration places refutation after proof, one must sometimes refute first. When? There are two situa­ tions when one ought to refute first, then prove. The first o f these is when one s audience is so hostile to one's argument that one must weaken the reader's confidence in his or her own case before offering an alternative [1*5]. If your reader slights or distrusts poetry, for example, and you want to defend the poets against Plato’s criticism o f them in the Repub­ lic, you will probably want to refute first The need to refute might be based not on audience, however, but on subject /1.5J. Thus, when there is a counter­ argument which will confuse the reader unless it is refuted first, refute it before proving your own case. If one's cosmos is Sotratic. one must build refuta­ tion inco its design. One’s reader will discern that the maker o f the cosmos is him or herselfa Socrates. Nothing is more persuasive to an academic audi­ ence.

[ 3. 11] The last part o f the essay, its “end." is the conclusion. The pleasure o f endings is caused bv outdesire for completion. Readers want even good es­ says to come to an end; after all, there arc others in the set to read. They want poor ones to do so even more quickly. The most common form o f conclu­ sion is the summary. There are two rules concern­ ing summaries: let them be accurate, and let them 61

T he O i-t ic k ok Asskki ion be brief. If a summary includes points not actually discussed in the essay, the reader will become con­ fused; i f (he summary is verbose, impatient. The greater your essay’s scale, the more likely your reader will appreciate summaries* both throughout the essay and in its conclusion. You need not conclude with a summary, however, instead, you may wane to cry another form o f conclusion. You may want to introduce a new hut related subject or argument char you believe is necessitated by your argument but are unable to demonstrate; you may want to move your reader emotionally; you may want to return to the beginning o f the essay, concluding with an idea, image, or piece o f narrative or text with which you opened the essay Try summarizing, then employ­ ing one o f these three techniques; eventually, trv nor summarizing The first conclusion technique ex­ ploits the particular nature ofconclusions The con­ clusion allows something seldom allowed elsewhere: (he writer may express an opinion without proving it. The reader, having been persuaded by your case, will allow you 10 disclose another case without sup­ porting it. after all. this is the essay's end tf, for ex­ ample. vour essav on Agamemnon’s leadership ar­ gues and demonstrates that, in Books i and z. Agamemnon is not a good leader, you might want to conclude thus. Because he is rash. Agamemnon is withour rite pa lienee required for pracnc.il wisdom: be­ cause he is unwise, he is a poor leader in die 62

O r g a n iz a t i o n

opening books. Perhaps, however, bis leader ship evolves wirhm the poem as a whole bv book 9. he is willing to be persuaded by NcSLOl uj appease Achillens and to yield to his de­ mands. It is too lace by then, of course, be­ cause Arhilleus refuses to be persuaded by rhe vert- honoi he earlier JemanJed. Thar is a di­ saster. bunr is one caused by Adiilleu.v’-smeta­ physical doubts, nor Agamemnon's political errors. l5y rhe rime Agamemnon becomes an adequate leader, it is t o o Iare

Notice that the writer need nor explore Hook 9 or prove the point The reader has an obligation to al­ low ic. O f course, a reader would always prefer to allow a persuasive point so the writer ought to end with a strong, if undemonstrated. assertion.

| 3. 12] The second conclusion technique calls upon an appeal we have not yet discussed There are, you will remember three appeals (logical, emotional, and ethical), ver we have emphasized the first to the ex­ clusion o f the second and third /1.4/ Pathos and ethos are legitimate appeals, but m academic discourse they arc less persuasive. Even so. conclusions in aca­ demic essays may persuade through the emotional appeal. (\Xe will return to ethos in the next chapter (4-3/-) An emotional appeal rouses a particular onorion appropriate to rhe subject, then directs it by describing the action or object chat will arouse the 63

1'tn O n ic i . of A ssertion emotion. If you wane your reader to be angry at Agamemnon, then you might conclude by describ­ ing che callousness w ith which he dishonors AchiJleus, the description ir.seIf igniting anger in the reader: it you want vour reader ro be angry at Odysseus, then you might conclude by describing his manipulation o f Penelope long after its utility. Anger is an emotion o f justice. As Aristotle explains in the Rhetoric, “Anger may be defined as a desire accompanied by pain, for a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight at the hands o f men who have no call to slight oneself or one's friends" (2.2.1). One i.\ angered because some principle o f justice that ought to he executed is not. As we see here, emo­ tions are cognitive; they disclose beliefs, including rational ones. A successful emotional appeal must be experienced by the rhetor him or herself, and it must not be announced a> an emotional appeal. To appeal to an emotion, one arouses and then directs the emotion or emotions appropriate to che subject matter, as we see in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'Let­ ter from Birmingham Jail." One o f the most logical suasions in che American canon. King’s letter often appeals nonetheless to the reader's emotions—for example, in King's description o f the actual details o f segregation. He is refuting the argument that blacks should wait" for their human and civil rights rather than demonstrate to attain them: Pctliaps ic is ea.s\ for those who leave never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say. (A

Organization

“Wait.0l$uc when von have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers ar will and drown your brothers and sisters ar whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brorhprs and sisters: when you see che vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smother­ ing in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue rwisted and vour speech stain* mcring as you seek ro explain to your six-year* old daughter why she can’t go to che public amusemenr park rhat has been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is cold that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds o f inferiority beginning to form in bei little mental skv, and see her beginning to discort her personality by developing an unconscious birrerness toward white people: when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find ir necessary to sleep night after night in rhe uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day nut by nagging signs reading "white” and "colored’1; when your first name becomes “nigger." your middle name becomes "boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes ‘'John," and your wife and morhci are never given the respected title

65

T he O f f ic e or A.s $i-.k tio \ “ Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fare char you are a Negro, living constantly at ripccc seance, never quite knowing what co expect next, anil are plagued with inner fears and outer resent­ ments; when you are forever fighting a degen­ erate sense of ',nobodines.s,>—then you will understand why we find it difficult ro iv.nr There comes a time when the cup of endur­ ance runs over, and men are no longer willing ro be plunged into the abyss ofdespair. f hope . . . you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. (346-47) This catalogue o f injustices great and small arouses several emotions, one o f which is an anger that re­ sults from righteous indignation; it does so by de­ scribing chose injustices in such a way that we expe­ rience them imaginatively and ourselves grow im­ patient. (1 suspect the sentence ir.self is so long so that the reader will grow impatient with the sen­ tence: "When will this sentence end?” If the reader is impatient with the sentence, the writer must cer­ tainly and justifiably be impatient with the injus­ tices the sentence represents.) Such an emotional appeal is legitimate Why? Because injustice ought to arouse anget. Those not angered are not respond­ ing rationally. Emorional appeals are often quite persuasive in conclusions

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O r g a n iz a tio n

[ 3. 13] The third technique o f conclusion is called die “tail-biting-snake" conclusion; in ir. the writer retrieves some element of the introduction—an idea, image, or piece o f narrative or text—and repeats and varies it. As T. S Hliot would have it in The Four Quar­ tets, we return to the beginning and know it for rhe first rime. Why can you only know the beginning o f an essay at the end? Because, if its cosmos is harmo­ nious. we will have learned its principle o f construc­ tion while reading. This is a moving experience. Imagine you arc com posing an essay about Achillcus’s pride. You might open and close with his memorably recalcitrant line, -