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Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves

At first approximation, the option to choose an English major does not seem to lure many potential students. A considerable number of issues arise – starting from career opportunities and ending with the knowledge that this major can bring. In their articles, Carolyn Gregoire and Sophie Reeves aspire to prove that English majors are capable of gaining success in this life, as well as of developing important skills. Both writings may be considered notable pieces of reading; moreover, they contain many features that can be analyzed through a rhetorical prism. Gregoire and Reeves apply slightly different strategies to persuade their target audience. Nevertheless, these strategies have a number of points in common. In this paper, a comparative analysis of the mentioned articles within the rhetorical scope will be provided.

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It seems reasonable to claim that both authors have the same audience to which they aim to convey their ideas and visions. Majoring in English is a relevant theme mostly for young people graduating from schools and choosing their further specializations – maybe, also for their parents. Expressions such as “English majors are changing the world” (Gregoire) or “If you’ve watched Stranger Things” (Reeves) are likely to attract the attention of a younger audience. At this age, usually, a person’s primary aim is to make this world better; then, such TV series are mostly for young people. Hence, Gregoire and Reeves seem to create common places for the target audience successfully. The articles are written in a genre of personal commentary to deliver the message explicitly. The authors’ purpose is to prove that an English major is an appropriate variant to choose in the context of prevailing uncertainty about such a choice.

Gregoire and Reeves organize their articles by dividing the theme into several sub-topics and highlighting bullet points. Such an approach allows a reader to follow the sequence of thoughts easily and coherently. It should be noted that both authors are acquainted with rhetorical basics; for instance, in the introductions, they use rhetorical devices. Gregoire applies a hypophora, “Need another good reason to study English? Your brain could significantly benefit from it”; Reeves uses a simile, “Choosing an English major feels like jumping into a black hole.” Such tricks contribute to making the writings diversified and interesting to read.

Nevertheless, in the framework of the strategies chosen, there is a substantial difference between these two articles. Gregoire decides to convey her idea through the lens of a career – English majors have great chances to be involved in prestigious spheres such as politics or media. She also gives solid pieces of evidence by providing numerous references, “Recent neuroscience research, published in the journal Brain Connectivity”; “Cuomo famously told The New Republic in 1985”; “Mark Edmundson writes…” (Gregoire). Meanwhile, Reeves emphasizes the skills and personal development that majoring in English may bring. She uses references to various sources too, but also gives her opinion and examples from her real life, “In my personal experience…” (Reeves). It might be rational to state that despite the different emphasis, both writings sound persuasive due to the appropriate use of the related methods – logos, ethos, and pathos.

The articles tend to demonstrate a solid appeal to reason by conducting deductive reasoning. Both authors start a new section with a general statement and then provide some specific cases or examples. For instance, Gregoire claims that English majors write great American novels and then mentions the success of Aravind Adiga and Joan Didion, who graduated from a university with a degree in English. Reeves states that the English major allows be highly “organized for deadlines under pressure” and then gives an example from her personal experience.

As mentioned above, both authors successfully find and apply common places, using appropriate sources that support their evidence, and logically deliver their arguments. All of the mentioned aspects are essential elements of ethos that are a crucial part of any piece of writing. Thus, the articles establish the good credibility of their writers. Finally, Gregoire and Reeves use a strong emotional appeal by referencing real-life examples and experiences that may be easily faced by the reader. Due to the latter, after reading the articles, the audience might feel emphatic about majoring in English. Both Gregoire and Reeves creatively combine and use the mentioned methods of persuasion, which makes their articles evidence-based, logical, and easy to follow.

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to state that the analyzed articles have several common rhetorical aspects. First, both authors chose a similar organizational strategy – they divide the arguments into sub-topics to make a train of thought coherent and consistent. Second, the target audience might be the same – young people graduating from schools and their parents. Third, the articles demonstrate approximately the same extent of rhetorical significance, applying various related devices and persuasive methods creatively and notably. The crucial difference refers to the way the authors convey their ideas. Gregoire appeals mostly to career opportunities, and Reeves – to personal development and skills gaining.

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Works Cited

Gregoire, Carolyn. “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major.” HuffPost, 2017.

Reeves, Sophie. “Top 10 Reasons You’re not Wasting Your Time as an English Major.” College Magazine, 2018.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, May 6). Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/rhetorical-analysis-in-defense-of-the-impractical-english-major-by-c-gregoire-and-top-10-reasons-youre-not-wasting-your-time-as-an-english-major-by-s-reeves/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, May 6). Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves. https://studycorgi.com/rhetorical-analysis-in-defense-of-the-impractical-english-major-by-c-gregoire-and-top-10-reasons-youre-not-wasting-your-time-as-an-english-major-by-s-reeves/

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"Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves." StudyCorgi, 6 May 2022, studycorgi.com/rhetorical-analysis-in-defense-of-the-impractical-english-major-by-c-gregoire-and-top-10-reasons-youre-not-wasting-your-time-as-an-english-major-by-s-reeves/.

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StudyCorgi. "Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves." May 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/rhetorical-analysis-in-defense-of-the-impractical-english-major-by-c-gregoire-and-top-10-reasons-youre-not-wasting-your-time-as-an-english-major-by-s-reeves/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves." May 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/rhetorical-analysis-in-defense-of-the-impractical-english-major-by-c-gregoire-and-top-10-reasons-youre-not-wasting-your-time-as-an-english-major-by-s-reeves/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Rhetorical Analysis: “In Defense of the ‘Impractical’ English Major” by C. Gregoire and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by S. Reeves'. 6 May.

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