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'debate of modern genetic development' - AP English Analysis Essay


Dec 13, 2011   #1
Hi I had to write an essay for AP English. This is my first analysis essay, so tell me if this is what an analysis essay is supposed to be like.

Prompt: Analyze the rhetorical strategies used in Mitchell's Editorial.

Mitchell's Editorial: it was an excerpt from this: admin.cmf.org.uk/pdf/helix/spr05/31eugenics.pdf

Essay:

The ethical debate of modern genetic development is complex, and only arguments with carefully used rhetorical strategies can convince readers. In "The Return of Eugenics", journal editor C. Ben Mitchell warns humanity of a "bleak genetic future" where parents will "choose characteristics from a catalog" to create custom babies instead of naturally passing down traits. His essay consists of quotes from three scientists, two of which are ridiculed indirectly by use of these devices. The careful arrangement of ideas, tactful diction, and changing tones are strategies Mitchell uses to persuade his audience of the dangers of new eugenics in modern society.

Mitchell's essay begins with a quote from the political essayist G. K. Chesterton, who says that being wrong about the past will assure being wrong about the future. Mitchell employs this in the context of eugenics to establish his purpose. Chesterton is a prolific English writer who has been praised by many, and his opinion is one that readers would consider with a higher opinion. Mitchell arranges the quote first in the essay to give himself more credibility before describing his opinion. His use of a vague quote from a famous and trusted writer before his own opinion is effective because it makes the quote seem as if it was meant for the situation. The quote was not about eugenics, but by making it seem so, Mitchell is able to convince the reader that his opinion is backed by famous writers.

Furthermore, when the author illustrates to the reader that eugenics is something history cannot repeat by the arrangement of this quote early in the essay, he ensures that the reader is focused on his purpose. The body of the essay provides arguments that counter Mitchell's, and he places his purpose clearly in the beginning to ensure that the reader's opinion is not swayed by the upcoming quotes. Had he arranged the opposing quotes first, the reader would understand them to mean that eugenics development is inevitable, which contradicts Mitchell's purpose. The order in which he used the arguments focuses the reader's thoughts on his purpose, and this is effective because it allows Mitchell to prove his point more easily. Therefore, the careful arrangement Mitchell uses is essential to the success of his editorial.

In the body of the essay, Mitchell presents quotes from two scientists who have opposing arguments, and the satirical tone he creates here is effective because it devalues their opinion. This satirical tone is created by using mocking and sarcastic diction. Before the quote by James Hughes, Mitchell introduces him as one of the creators of "so-called" transhumanism. The word "so-called" implies that it is a bogus science and the author of the quote is crazy or insane. After this introduction, the quote itself contains phrases such as "it will be considered obsessive and dumb to give your kids only parental genes," and this illustrates to readers that Hughes is not taking the debate seriously and creates a joking tone. The introduction as well as the quote chosen by the author creates a lighthearted quote and satirical tone that deemphasizes Hughes' argument. The second quote is from James Watson, who is treated likewise. His phrases "If you really are stupid," and "it would be stupid not to," repeat the word "stupid", and this creates the same joking tone the previous paragraph does. By ridiculing well known scientists, Mitchell is effective by downplaying their arguments and therefore emphasizing his.

In the introduction of his editorial, Mitchell uses urgent diction in phrases such as "ill afford" and "inching [...] close" that show the seriousness of his argument. The juxtaposition of this with the sarcasm used when presenting the opposing quotes accentuates the importance of being vigilant when others are not, which is Mitchell's thesis. To further emphasize his point, Mitchell concludes his editorial switching to a subdued and careful tone. This tone is created by using words and phrases such as "may be", "more likely", "one day", and "might". This is not as blunt and forward as the quotes from the derided scientists; therefore, there is a larger contrast between the two. Readers will take the path of least resistance, which is Mitchell's opinion that is easier to accept than the ludicrous inevitable future painted by the other scientists. Mitchell successfully changed his tone by tactfully using diction in each situation to create more emphasis on his argument and to downplay the other scientists.

In the ending paragraph, Mitchell concludes the editorial with a restatement of his thesis, that only mankind's caution of the future can prevent disaster. This keeps the reader focused on Mitchell's purpose in the essay so their beliefs are not affected by the contradictory argument. The arrangement of these opinions and quotes guarantees that the reader will agree with the author and not the ridiculed scientists. This is effective because Mitchell placed his purpose in the beginning and end of the essay, emphasizing his purpose. Readers are guaranteed to remember the thesis of this essay because it is the first and last thing they read. Moreover, they would not be won over by the other scientists because it is easier to remember the arguments presented by Mitchell.

Mitchell ensures correct interpretation of his thesis by first establishing an urgent tone and then ending without being too forceful. In the body, he uses a satirical tone, which was created incorporating sarcastic diction together with the careful arrangement that compels readers to focus on his purpose. The changing tone prevents the audience from siding with the pro-eugenic scientists by downplaying them. Writing is an art, with rhetorical devices painting different strokes of colors; they work together to convince the audience of a posture as seen in Mitchell's essay.

This is my first post, please tell me if I did anything wrong in it.

Dec 15, 2011   #2
Had he arranged the opposing quotes first, the reader would understand them to mean that eugenics development is inevitable, ...----Should this word be 'was'?

To further emphasize his point, Mitchell concludes his editorial by switching to a subdued and careful tone.

In the body, he uses a satirical tone, which was created by incorporating sarcastic diction together with the careful arrangement that compels readers to focus on his purpose.

Your essay is amazing, very well written and set up. I could hardly find anything to correct! Good luck with school and have fun!

:)


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