Arriving at Perfection by Benjamin Franklin

Intention: To document Benjamin Franklin’s efforts to live each day without committing any faults which he characterized as failing to act in the manner defined by his thirteen virtues. Franklin wanted to acquire the habit of living by these virtues. Franklin’s writing is very clear and plain, explaining his entire thought process. He goes through…

Women’s Brains by Stephen Jay Gould

Intention: To refute the claims of Paul Broca and his followers who stated that women’s brains are smaller than men’s because women are less intelligent than men. And to point out how harmful it is to biologically label groups of people. Gould calls Broca’s credibility into question, pointing out that Broca did not use a…

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

In the essay Mother Tongue by Amy Tan shows how English does not have only one type, but a variety of ways to be used and understood. It is an invitation to see English as a variety of ideas and expressions of oneself. Amy Tan has ethos on the subject of English and how it…

In the Kitchen by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The essay In the Kitchen by Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains through stories and images the importance of hairstyle and how hair can be connected to political, racial, and cultural traditions. It goes beyond just looking a certain way and can carry memories, views, and ideas that people connect with in their life during a…

The Death of the Moth–Virginia Woolf

In Virginia Woolf’s Death of a Moth, Woolf uses various rhetorical devices to prove her intention that death will always overpower and overcome life.  Woolf uses intricate imagery when describing the moth being trapped in the window pane. For example, she states, “Watching him, it seemed as if a fibre, very thin but pure, of…

On Being a Cripple – Nancy Mairs

Intention: In this piece, Nancy Mairs describes her Multiple Sclerosis and her resulting disability as an integral piece of her identity. Candid and personal, the piece is a refreshingly honest look at disability in the modern world. As part of her arrangement, Mairs begins the piece with an anecdote of falling into the toilet and…

Letter From Birmingham Jail

Intention: Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical strategies to show his audience the reasons why he is willing to go to jail for what he believes in. Pathos: MLK appeals to emotion by giving very descriptive reasons to why the African Americans could not wait for change any longer. “But when you have seen vicious…

Attending a World by Mary Catherine Bateson

This essay had a lot of feminist undertones. Even though the primary focus of this essay is the ability to pay attention, she frequently mentions injustices to women in the workplace. Some examples are listed below: At home, women are expected to multitask. They will take care of children, prepare dinner, do laundry, and clean the…

The Morals of the Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Intention: In this essay, Machiavelli discusses the personality traits that help make a ruler likable and trusted by their people. He insists that it is necessary to have all of these admirable traits (or at least pretend that you have all of these traits). It is difficult since many of these qualities can contradict themselves. A ruler must know…

Body Ritual Among the Narcirema by Howard Miner

Intention: In this essay, Miner satirically addresses the ridiculous things American people do their bodies. He successfully astonishes the reader about their own nature by describing the “Narcirema” as a foreign and primitive people that have rituals done because to them “the human body is ugly and its natural tendency is to debility and disease.” Tone: The…

Jest and Ernest by Annie Dillard

The purpose of this piece is to explore why the maker of our universe created cruelty and beauty. I love the point about God setting “bars and doors” on humanity’s knowledge of the universe. On one hand, we may not be meant to discover the meaning of cruelty and beauty until the after life. On…