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“iGen” by Jean Twenge

The first chapter of Twenge’s book is titled “In no hurry: Growing up slowly.” The primary theme is that the iGen is taking longer to become adults. Essentially, Twenge is convincing the readers that, comparing to the previous groups, people who were born between 1995 and 2012 remain dependent on their parents for longer. The iGen delays in having a driver’s license, leaving home to stay alone, managing their own money, and engaging in sexual relationships. The implication is that the iGen’ers are participating in social milestones much later. This generation needs a push to do grown-up things, and instead of getting excited to be adults, they are scared. In summarizing the section, Twenge explains that parents may be more protective of their children. However, children are also enjoying the state of remaining minors for longer. The objective of this close reading is to critically analyze the persuasiveness of Twenge’s Chapter 1. Although Twenge’s claim about iGen is controversial, he correctly utilizes rhetorical appeals which makes his argument persuasive.

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The logical appeal is utilized to convince the readers that the current generation is not as enthusiastic about being adults as the millennials and previous generations. Throughout the chapter, the author utilized statistical findings plotted in graphs to compare the iGen and other groups based on the age at which they start doing things or making decisions that enhance their independence. For instance, in the 1990s, nearly three out of four 10th graders sometimes dated, but by the 2010s only about half did (Twenge 20). The statement indicates that ten years ago, the youth started romantic relations at a much tender age. The reader is able to compare the trends and agree with the author, that based on the facts presented, the iGen’ers are maturing slowly.

The statistical findings presented in the chapter are generalizable and credible which further authenticates Twenge’s argument. Researchers are likely to measure the extent to which findings are valid based on their judgement, that extraneous variables did not influence the results. In the chapter, the author builds the readers’ trust by revealing that the findings are nationally representative. The identified trend is consistent in all economic classes, regions, and racial groups (Twenge 26). It is easier to be convinced with the data because it is not partial. The information, thus, makes the chapter to be compelling to readers because of the large sample used for the study.

The author uses pathos to further support his argument that the iGens are taking more time to achieve maturity. This is apparent in the context of teenagers engaging in casual jobs and earning which happened more with early generations. The result is well summed up in the statement of a 22 years old Vicki who is in a personality psychology class. She says “if I had worked in high school, regardless of where I would have known how to behave on the job” (Twenge 35). The statement makes the reader sympathize with the generation who as young adults have not learned ethics. One sign that a person has grown is their ability to relate well with colleagues in an organization. Such is not the experience of the iGens like Vicki who did not see the need to start working early in life.

When the author has a good character, then it is easier for the statement to be more potent. Throughout the chapter, ethos is evident not only based on his credentials but also the way he met with his interviews. He writes on how he met different iGen’ers in different places such as in class, outside in the field, or even in the car. For example, when discussing the delays of this generation in managing money he meets “Ellie, 16, at her high school” (Twenge 35). The direct speech of the youths in response to the questions asked are also provided to authenticate the evidence. This shows that the author is professional when collecting the qualitative data from the respondents. It is, therefore, easy to regard the argument as justifiable based on the qualities that the writer depicts.

The chapter has multiple thought-provoking messages that make even the most deluded reader consider what the author is communicating. For example, when the author mentions the response that Juan, who is 19 years and delayed taking his driving license (DL), the reader will wonder the cause for such statement. Specifically, Juan states that “because my parents didn’t ‘push’ me to get my license” (Twenge 28-29). The fact that some teenagers in the current generation need to be influenced into taking an important decision in life shows that there is some kind of a paradigm shift. Having the DL is one of the aspects that gives a person freedom, Yet, the iGen is not intrinsically motivated for it definitely makes the audience start considering some of the reasons that may make youth have such kinds of thoughts.

Although, most of the context of this text is informative and well presented to make a sound argument the most poignant part was on the use of statistical evidence. Under each subheading such as going out, license to drive, retreats sex and relationships among others there is a line graph to show the trend from the 1990s to 2010s. The implication is that even without reading the text a person can interpret the findings and see the difference between the previous and the current generation. It is also commendable that the writer has explained the context of the meeting and the age of every interviewee who has been quoted. Notably, the representation of data is not only perfectly done but also further explained in the text to be more persuasive.

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Overall, the text accomplishes its intent of influencing the readers to the believer that gauging by what is considered maturity, the iGen is growing slowly. The reader articulates all points in an orderly manner such that each claim further reinforces the thesis. Dividing the chapter into sections under respective topics exposes the character of youths of the current generation. The result is that the reader can analyze the text from different perspectives such as interactions, sexuality, work, responsibility, and independence and still make the same verdict. For example, in the context of relationship, the iGen is starting to date and engage in sex later while on the aspect of responsibilities the youths are neither taking loans nor earning through casual jobs. Either way, the conclusion is that it is taking longer for the young people to start engaging in activities that are associated with adulthood. The ability of the author to synchronize all the points to support his central argument is compelling.

Conclusively, Twenge wisely utilizes logos, pathos, and ethos to persuade the reader that the iGen is growing slowly. The facts provide evidence, especially, the way they have been presented in line graphs. Also, the quantitative data further reinforces the fact and makes the statement reasonable. The chapter is compelling because the author has provided facts which support his arguments on iGen taking longer to take adult roles. Specifically, the author persuades the audiences by illustrating how this generation is waiting until they are older before getting a driver’s license, earning, starting romantic relationships, or moving out of home. In my view the text is well reasoned and persuasive, because it correctly utilizes rhetorical appeals.

References

Twenge, Jean. iGen: Why Today’s Super‐Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. ATRIA BOOKS, 2017.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“iGen” by Jean Twenge." August 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/igen-by-jean-twenge/.

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