Emerson Rhetorical Analysis Essay

595 Words Sep 29th, 2013 3 Pages
In the essay, “Education”, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a transcendentalist thinker, asserts that Education is damaged and he knows of a solution – the educators. He develops this claim by first introducing the paradox linking “Genius and Drill”, expressing his ideal method of teaching. Throughout the essay, Emerson tends to have a condemning tone against the educator but towards the end he changes it into a comforting one. Emerson’s purpose is to present an alternative style of teaching in order to persuade educators to use the teaching method by using paradoxes, rhetorical questions, and shifts in tone. He establishes an informative and didactic tone for educators who value attention to detail.
Emerson begins his essay by explaining why
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Rhetorical questions induce an emotional appeal from educators. Emerson’s use of rhetorical questions attacks the educator in such a way that they question their original methods. After describing the current systems militaristic ways, he asks the educators “What reformer will it nurse? What poet will it breed to sing to the human race?”(105). He condemns the current system and asks how it could possibly benefit students. Furthermore Emerson provides an analogy comparing the patience needed to teach a student and the “dint of obstinate sitting still” to arouse animals. He then goes on to ask the educators, “Can you not wait for him, as Nature and Providence do” to taunt the educators of their definitive ways of teaching(107).All of these methods gear the audience toward a path of naturalistic standards.
The shift in tone throughout the essay describes Emerson’s main argument. He transitions from asserting the defects in the system to bringing the educators together to repair the problem. In the beginning Emerson instructs the educator by using commanding verbs. For instance when he says to”Give a boy accurate perceptions. Teach him the difference between the similar and the same. Make him call things by their right names” (103). The continual use of verbs to start sentences sets a didactic tone that undermines the educator.
Emerson accentuates an

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