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Writers and Their Ways of Conveying an Audience 

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Every morning from Monday to Friday for 12 years of my life I woke up at 7 AM. Did I complain? Of course, I did! I disliked waking up early so much. Yet, I pushed through all those years and now I’m a college student. Now after reading two essays, the first one “Against School” by John Taylor Gatto and “Idiot Nation” by Michael Moore, I was thinking about how it felt as if Moore was having a conversation with me while with Gatto, it sounded like an academic essay which is not only boring but also difficult for me to understand. Both authors used many techniques to appeal to their different target audiences. Some of the techniques they used were ethos, logos, and pathos.

‘Idiot Nation ” is an essay written by Michael Moore, in which he speaks his ideas and opinions on the American education level and schooling. His opinion is that schooling and education are not at the level they should be. He also believes that no one is doing anything to help make it better. The essay ‘Against School ” by John Taylor Gatto attracts our attention to all the negative reasons for attending school for twelve years of our lives. Gatto has experienced an education job for twenty-six years in schools in Manhattan. He says that what he majored in is not interesting at all. Michael Moore offers a very powerful and well-organized argument that makes itself relatable to the listener, gives a lot of factual encouragement, and guarantees that the reader is personally invested. I felt like this was the one I could relate to the most.

‘Against Schools’ is an essay that tells how the public education system is debilitating children today. It’s authored by John Taylor Gatto. In this essay, Gatto begins by mentioning the time that he taught at the greatest and worst schools in Manhattan for 30 years. He says to have the first-hand experience of the disengagement that students and teachers are dealing with. Gatto believes that the public education system leads children to get easily bored of themselves, to adapt to the way the school and its instructors behave, which leads them to make no attempt to deal with situations that are going on in the real world outside of school. Gatto’s reason for this is that it’s actually the fault of the instructors. Gatto encourages Americans to look at the school system as it really is: training centers for young minds, and instructors pushing into the minds of the adolescent what society wants.

“Idiot Nation” by Michael Moore had a critical tone throughout the essay, but that is one of the main strategies that had us, the audience still reading. When looking at Moore’s essay, he begins with, “D0 YOU FEEL like you live in a nation of idiots?” ( Moore Pg55 P1) Some will answer yes and others no, still this makes you really think about the rest of the essay and what it will be about. This has the audience already wanting to keep reading to fully understand why Moore began his essay with that question. Later on, Moore says, “What kind of priority do we place on education in America?” (Moore Pg61 P7) and this allows him to show us the problem and then introduce data and information about budgets in schools and libraries. This right here gets the attention of the audience because as students we don’t always know when our schools don’t have enough money. Because of the critical tone, we are able to tell that he is very serious and we keep reading to find out what else goes on.

At one point his tone switches and he has a little humor when he talks about ESPN sports and their trivia games and how they play that but millions can’t read or write, basically telling us that not learning is a choice, not an ability. For example, we can say that as college students, we have the choice to attend class and learn our section or subject of that day. If we don’t attend, that’s on us and that was a bad choice we made and in the end that will cause our grades to go down, to stay behind if we don’t catch up, and we could even fail a test.

When reviewing the arguments of both Michael Moore’s “ Idiot Nation ‘ and John Taylor Gatto’s ‘Against Schools ‘, their most different characteristic is the tone in which their arguments are presented. Moore’s casual work evokes the response within the audience. He capitalizes full convictions to make them look louder and take attention. This is a very effective way of making the audience feel as if they are being heard. For the audience, it feels as if Moore was right in front of us talking about this whole topic. It also makes the audience feel more connected to what he is saying because they know they can relate due to the fact that this is aimed at students.

John Taylor Gatto uses logical reasonings throughout his essay, “Against School” and it is very important because the logos appeal to the logic and explanation that give more information plus details to his argument. He stated several reasons as to why he thinks school was not helping the students at all. For instance, he stated “Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teachers’ lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes, to be found there. When asked why they feel bored, the teachers tend to blame the kids, as you might expect. Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? (Gatto P2) Here he argues that boredom in students and teachers relates back to each other because nowadays students want the easy way out so they just care about getting good grades which makes the teachers give out boring easy stuff that can get done fast.

We conclude that the education system in the United States is deeply flawed, according to Michael Moore in the essay “Idiot Nation” and John Taylor Gatto in “Against Schools”. America’s schools have a mediocre curriculum, many schools are in bad conditions, and students lack the resources to succeed. Moore points out what’s wrong in America with this kind of nation. And Gatto also addresses our school system on the basis of a very old idea that is the Prussian system that makes us ask, does anybody really need school? Many people including parents will say that in school, grades K-12 support a student succeed so that they can go on to college where they will obtain a higher and greater education.

Some people have reason to believe that schools teach students not to grow up and not to be independent, rather than teaching them how to be independent and to mature. In his essay “Against Schools” Gatto he raises several concerns to parents about whether or not anyone really requires to attend school and what he chooses to believe schools are doing to their children and other students. In the end, both essays used rhetorical strategies very precisely for their different audiences and they got their point across.

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