Dwelling in Possibilities Analysis Essay

1217 Words Nov 8th, 2011 5 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis Is our youth doomed? Mark Edmundson begs this question in his essay, “Dwelling in Possibilities.” His essay explains how the lives of young people have changed drastically over the years. Edmundson, professor at the University of Virginia, says his students are constantly “going” and that they never stop; they never settle in fear of missing something great. In lieu of this, Edmundson says that they are, “victims of their own hunger for speed” (Edmundson2). He also adds that his students, and young people in general, use today’s technology to be “everywhere at once” (watching a movie, instant messaging, talking on the phone, and glancing at a textbook) and are therefore, “not anywhere in particular” (Edmundson …show more content…
But, again, that is debatable and an author can never go wrong by proposing a solution when writing to persuade. Besides omitting a solution, Edmundson does an excellent job persuading his readers, especially with the use of references. Most writers, when writing to persuade, include facts and statistics to support their viewpoint. Edmundson, however, refers to authors, and very famous ones at that. This is a very successful method because his whole argument has to do with the lack of culture, art, and writing, in today’s youth. Referencing these authors really helps the reader to sense where he is coming from and helps them to sense his passion for literature. Some of the authors referenced include: Thoreau, Immanuel Kant, Gertrude Stein, Nietzche, Lord Byron, Wordsworth, and Emerson. One reference, in particular, serves as an excellent example of how Edmundson’s references are successful in getting his point across. He compares youth to the contrasting Byron and Wordsworth, Byron to how his students are today, and Wordsworth to how it ought to be. He states that Byron “wished to never be bored,” as does today’s youth (Edmundson 11). Edmundson also mentions, “students now are Romantics- of a Byronic sort,” and that, “he would have adored their world of fast travel, fast communication, and fast relationships” (Edmundson 11). In contrast to Byron and today’s youth, Edmundson says that