Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in "The Company Man" Essays

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Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in “The Company Man”

In “The Company Man” by Ellen Goodman, throughout the passage Goodman illustrates her feelings of distaste and anger toward Phil, as he in her mind represents Corporate America: routine, indifferent, almost robotic. Goodman uses numerous rhetorical strategies to convey her attitude toward Phil, including tone, repetition, the use of statistics, sarcasm, anecdotes, differing syntax, and irony. From the beginning, Goodman creates a very impersonal tone, letting characters remain nameless and unimportant, identifying them primarily by their age – “Phil, fifty-one years old…Helen, forty-eight years old…”. This mirrors the corporate mindset that everyone has an expiration
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Moreover, Phil’s youngest son said about his father, “My father and I only board here.”. This further conveys the amount of time Phil spent at the office rather than at home; his own family didn’t even consider him in permanent residence at his own home. Other than anecdotes, Goodman additionally uses varying syntax to illustrate her annoyance at Phil’s choice of lifestyle. When describing Phil’s daily routine, her sentences are short, definitive, showing her distaste for Phil. “To Phil, it was work. He always ate egg salad sandwiches at his desk….On Saturdays, Phil wore a sports jacket to the office instead of a suit, because it was the weekend.” Goodman contrastingly uses lengthy, detailed sentences and phrases when describing Phil’s family, to convey her pity for them and show that Phil should have been spending more time at home rather than at work. “The youngest is twenty, a boy, a high school graduate who has spent the last couple of years, like a lot of his friends, doing enough odd jobs to stay in grass and food. He was the one who tried to grab at his father, and tried to mean enough to him to keep the man at home.” Although Goodman describes Phil’s family with sympathy and care, she does use sarcasm as a means to criticize the obituary’s description of the family. “She would be ‘well taken care of’.’”, Goodman quotes from the obituary, in reference to Phil’s wife, and she says “His ‘dearly beloved’ eldest of the ‘dearly beloved’
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