A Critical and Rhetorical Analysis of William Cronon's Only Connect.

1712 Words May 26th, 2004 7 Pages
A Liberal Education? Not According to Cronon. A Critical and Rhetorical Analysis of Cronon's Only Connect.

While the term liberal education is heard from the most prestigious university to an inner city community college, the phrase itself has a hazy definition at best. While educators across America struggle with the definition of the phrase, William Cronon uses purpose, structure, and appeals in his essay "Only Connect: The Goals of Liberal education," to define a liberally educated being and the characteristics that such an education should impart. Cronon capitalizes on inductive structuring to lead the reader along, gently building each new statement upon a foundation of previous ideas. This effectively leads the reader to a strange
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Cronon allows the reader to see that connecting is more or less about having a spiritual love for fellow man. While Cronon gives up on defining a liberal education he intelligently accomplishes his purpose by stating what a liberal education produces and effectively utilizes these traits in convincing the reader that a liberal education should inspire spiritual love and respect for the world around them.

Throughout Cronon's essay the structure that he employs plays a critical role in his gentle persuasion of the reader. Cronon is crafty and subversive in his persuasion of the reader through the use of his inductive structure. Beginning his essay with a question, "What does it mean to be a liberally educated person?"(156), Cronon temps the reader with an intriguing question. The reader is enticed with the proposition of an answer as the phrase is plastered on many surfaces and never thoroughly defined in modern society where a clear working definition would be exquisite. While entrancing the reader Cronon's opening question serves another purpose as well: building the foundation for his thesis. While he attempts to answer this confusing question he slowly crescendos towards the new and controversial thesis, which explains the connection between love and a liberal education.

Cronon deftly uses the inductive structure to seduce the reader. While
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