Path to Manhood

1265 WordsDec 5, 20126 Pages
Karim Lalani 10/16/12 UTA Engl 1301 Rhetorical Analysis-Gerzon In “Manhood: The Elusive Goal”, Mark Gerzon argues that masculinity, or the "masculine code of conduct" is exemplified by smoking, drinking, and violence- acts that would be generally frowned upon in society. Mark Gerzon, attended Harvard University and was considered to be a best selling author by his senior year, due to his book "The Whole World is Watching: A Young Man Looks at Youth Dissent". Gerzon generally writes about topics dealing with men and masculinity in regard to modern day society. In "Manhood: The Elusive Goal", Gerzon reflects back on his own personal experience during his adolescent years, and how he wasn't considered to be masculine enough since he…show more content…
Gerzon states how a boy's manliness is measured by the amount of alcohol he can withhold. Gerzon uses Richard Ryan, a former alcoholic and nicotine addict, as an example to portray to his audience that while drugs may give you a false sense of manhood, in the long term they just leave you high and dry. Ryan states, “I realized I was addicted to smoking. And I mean addicted. My withdrawal from nicotine was almost as bad as from booze — the shakes, sweating, couldn't sleep.”(4) This allows Gerzon to appeal to the audience's logic by using reason to make the connection that drugs leave you physically vulnerable and also, by using Richard Ryan as an example, Gerzon is able to use Ryan's credibility as a former alcoholic to persuade his audience that the so called “bond”(Ryan 4) formed with other men during drug use does not make boys into men, but only leads to their eventual downfall. Gerzon also persuades his audience, particularly young men looking to prove themselves, through emotional appeal that there is no defined rite of passage to becoming a man. Gerzon states “Young men cannot outmaneuver the Nazis as Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark, or battle Darth Vader, or outsmart. Dr. No with James Bond's derring-do. To feel like heroes they turn to the other sex. They ask young women for more than companion- ship, or sex, or marriage. They ask women to give them what their culture could not — their manhood.”(7) By stating
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