The Republicans Were Right, But
By: Garrison Keillor
The sanctity of the oath (Keillor 102), the controversial hot topic of this year. This is a subject that has sparked great debates not only to those in Congress, but among the American people as well. Some hold the oath as a promise of civility and humanity. On the other hand, others view the morality the oath is supposed to stand for as unreachable and unattainable.In my opinion Garrison Keillor sums it up in his essay, The Republicans Were Right, But.I feel this is a good essay based upon the authors argument of morality, his use of symbolism, and the entire structure of the essay.
The rhetorical situation in any given essay or editorial contains three main parts: the author, the audience, and the medium. The author of this essay, Garrison Keillor, was born and raised in Anoka, Minnesota in 1942. As Mr. Keillor points out quite clearly in the first paragraph of his essay, he is a democrat. According to the Minnesota Public Radio home page, he hosts a weekly talk show on public radio called A Prairie Home Companion.He also hosts the Writers Almanac, a daily five-minute program.He is a frequent contributor to Time Magazine, and the author of ten books, including Lake
Wobegon Days (1985). Keillors recording of Lake Wobegon Days received a Grammy award; he has also received two ACE awards for cable TV and a George Foster Peabody Award. In 1994, he was inducted to the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia). The intended audience for this essay is people that are interested in current affairs. The medium for this essay is TIME Magazine, a general news purpose magazine.Given the rhetorical situation, his argument appears to be very specific.
To argue is to attempt to convince a reader to agree with a point of view, to make a decision, or to pursue a particular course of action (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 429). In an argument there are three main elements: ethos, logos, and pathos. In ethos, the author tries to build his/her character to the audience. In this particular essay, Mr. Keillor does not build his credibility very well. The only information he reveals is that he is a democrat, which can be found in paragraph one of the essay. The details of Mr. Keillors career, as listed previously, were obtained through outside sources. Logos is the reasoning the author uses to argue his/her point. In Mr. Keillors essay, he uses deductive reasoning. Deduction is the process of reasoning from stated premises to a conclusion that follows necessarily (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 431). In this essay, the major premises are as follows: A) (Paragraph two) The Republicans believed that dehorsing the President would serve as a caution to Democratic Presidents in the future, and about that they are right. And also that it would underline the sanctity of the oaths.B) (Paragraph 4) The word perjury should mean something so that it focuses a mans
mind.C) (Paragraph 6) On the other hand, if I ever had the chance to vote the guy with the ax out of office, I would do so. D) (Paragraph 8) The best we can do is systematize the cruelty. The conclusion of the essay is, If the American people want civility, they can elect a Congress that believes in it (Keillor 102). Pathos is used to elicit emotion from the reader. Mr. Keillor tries to elicit emotions of anger, fear, and inspiration. For example, in paragraph one he elicits anger by insulting the intelligence of the reader. In paragraphs four and five, he elicits fear, by giving examples of extreme consequences to actions otherwise gone unpunished. In paragraphs six, eleven, and twelve, the author inspires the reader to take action if they are unpleased with the current justice system. The authors argument is implemented very well in his writing style.
Style is the individual manner in which a writer expresses his or her ideas (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 436). Style is categorized into three main parts: diction, tone, and construction of sentences. Mr. Keillors diction is precise and appropriate. He uses a lot of verbs and symbolism. For example, in paragraph two, dehorsing the President. The authors word choices are very effective. Tone is the manner in which a writer relates to an audience, the tone of voice used (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 437). The author of this essay, Mr. Keillor, seems to be very cynical. For example, in paragraph seven, he asks why we should continue believing in something that has always failed us. He also seems very angry and frustrated. Mr. Keillors sentences are relatively simple. But, he words them in a way that draws the reader in. He gives a lot of examples of everyday occurrences that would be affected by the Republicans extreme point of view. The
authors style of writing enables the reader to follow the structure of the essay, as a whole.
The structure of an essay can determine whether the reader will be able to understand and follow the points of the material. The structure of an essay consists of three main points: the introduction, body, and the conclusion. In the introduction of this essay the author starts with a very pompous and insulting remark (paragraph one). However, it is my opinion that this is very effective because it reins the reader in. The body of the essay contains the thesis statement, And also that it would underline the sanctity of the oaths (paragraph two, last sentence). The topic sentences for each of the paragraphs are well supported. The author gives many examples, throughout the body of the essay, of situations and the consequences that would follow if the Republicans point of view were taken to its fullest extent. The author concludes the essay by summing up his viewpoints. He states that it is in essence our own fault what is happening in Congress, because we as Americans have the right to vote in and out of office those we may agree or disagree with.
The Republicans Were Right, But , in my opinion, is a very straightforward and controversial essay. The great debate over the sanctity of the oath and impeachment will be long lived. I liked this essay based upon the authors argument, the use of symbolism, and the authors structure of the essay.
Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. Language Awareness: Essays for College Writers. New York: St. Martins Press, 1997.
Garrison Keillor. Minnesota Public Radio. January 1999. 16 April 1999 (http://phc.mpr.org/cast/garrison_keillor.shtml)
Keillor, Garrison. Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. MicrosoftCorporation © 1993-1997.
Keillor, Garrison. The Republicans Were Right, But -. Time 22 February 1999: 102.