19 November 2007
Bruce Catton, Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts
Method and Structure: In this essay, Catton opens with emotional appeal (pathos) and uses it thoroughly for the entirety of
the comparison and contrast.. He uses loaded language that intrigues the reader and encourages him
or her to progress. Ethos appears in Catton’s description of Lee. He depicts Lee not by his
affiliation, but by his personality and ethics.
Language Catton uses his sentences and words effectively to describe the two generals. The sentences make
seamless connections to assist the reader in comprehension. He also uses asides to introduce and
offset important ideas in essay. At a verbal level, the essay uses common diction and words to
emphasis his story. Also, the essay is laden with imagery to paint a vivid picture for the readers.
Examples:1)…everything that Lee was not. He had come up the hard way and embodied nothing in
particular except the eternal toughness and sinewy fiber of the men who grew up on the mountains.
2) They stood for democracy, not from any reason conclusion about the proper ordering of human
society, but simply because they had grown up in the middle of democracy and knew how it
worked. 3) He saw his fate in terms of the nation’s own destiny.
Meaning The central meaning of the essay is because of Grant and Lee’s behavior at Appotamax Court
House, the American people were able to form an uniform nation again. The subpoints of the essay
are the differences of the two Generals: upbringing, belief’s, location, etc.; similarities: tenacity,
leadership skills, intelligence, etc.
Personal Response Raised in a house abiding with history fascinated people, I was able to connect previous knowledge
with information in this piece. I enjoyed the fact that Catton did not show bias towards either of the
leaders, but rather stated the facts and gave each a personality. The depiction was not completely
dry and stated facts, but an assimilation of those, added with narrative language to allow the reader
to enjoy and learn.
Richard Rodriguez, Private Language, Public Language
Method and Structure: Rodriguez uses the rhetorical triangle to convey his message of language. Emotionally, Rodriguez
uses a personal, childhood story to pull at the emotions and attentions of the readers. On an ethical
level, Rodriguez shows his parents struggle with the language, but their constant perseverance to
improve and do their best. Finally, the logic behind learning a new language is implied when the
author describes his trips to run errands for his parents.
Language Rodriguez uses a personal narrative to show the importance of learning different languages and the
problems that are associated with the new knowledge. The insertion of such Spanish words as
gringos and espanol shows his personal experience. Furthermore, the manner in which Rodriguez
writes the essay gives it a personal and relatable feeling. All children have been conflicted over
some issue in their lifetime.
Examples: 1) Español: my family’s language. Español: the language that seemed to me a private
language. 2) My words could not stretch far enough to form complete thoughts. 3) Their voices
insisting: You belong here. We are family members. Related. Special to one another. Listen!
Meaning The central theme of the essay is that language can be used to discriminate and separate people, but
that it can be comforting as well. This is shown through his personal stories, Spanish language
Personal Response The story very much moved me, and reminded me of the stories of family friends. It is always a
struggle to learn a new language, and the story shows that.