Example Of Course Work On David Suzukis The Right Stuff

Published: 2021-06-18 06:09:16
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Category: Education, Students, High School

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David Suzuki, the popular host of The Nature of Things uses the gracious, informative, informative and entertaining style that we have come to associate with him in his essay “The Right Stuff”. David begins his essay with a quotation from another famous publication: Is There Life after High School? that states that impressions formed in high school are more indelible and vivid that those formed at other times in life. Suzuki places emphasis on the high school education’s importance and then embarks on a preparing the readers of his essay for his proposal that is related to making high school education as valuable or helpful as possible. A rhetorical analysis of Suzuki’s essay brings into light the various success degrees with which the author employs pathos, ethos and logos. Generally, the ethos that Suzuki uses is particularly very strong because he brings a very strong reputation to his piece of writing. He also uses pathos to impress appeal to his main target audience that is comprised of educators and parents. However, Suzuki’s use of logos is somehow very weak. Suzuki is a skilled master of argumentation but in this case, even his particularly strong ethos does not manage to compensate his lack of support for his main argument or thesis that states that ‘the science courses in high school should essentially start with sex education”.

The ethos of Suzuki is actually hugely dependent on his science achievements that are wildly known. With regards to this aspect, no one would actually the wisdom possessed by the man when it comes to speaking about science to students in high school (Lee pg 34). Although David Suzuki may not be an expert in education or adolescents, his own education background coupled by his life experience actually give him enough credibility to voice a reasonable opinion on this subject. Due to the fact that he already has an established public image, he can make a general assumption that his audience will actively listen to his argument and may be even embrace his ideas. He also strives to make a connection with his audience and to do this, he chooses the title “The Right Stuff” that evokes the 1979 book by Tom Wolfe and its film adaption in 1983. These two pieces of art actually emphasized on the issue of risk taking in astronauts where only. Those that possessed the right stuff would be allowed or selected to embark on a space mission. David uses this aspect to connect with the audience because he recognizes that there is a huge portion of the audience who are familiar with the book or the movie and this prior knowledge would actually carry over into his ‘’Right Stuff ” article. Although he does not make directly references to the original to the source title, Suzuki places the task of determining whether his meaning is if educators are teaching the “right stuff” ort whether the educators themselves need to have this “this right stuff”( the readiness to alter the current methods to things are more innovative and potentially risky) so as to reach the students of high school and teach them the material that David Suzuki believes is critical or crucial for them to learn.

David uses a very clever strategy to get the readers to get the readers on his side. He delays his main thesis by first making an appeal to the target audience that is educators and parents who actually grew up in the similar era that he grew up in and who may potentially even experience high school nostalgia by asking them in the first paragraph to recollect their high school memories. This disarming strategy is to make the readers or the target audience onside before he starts his argument (Lee, 67). The strategy definitely relates to the two realms of ethos (his credibility-the fact that he shares similar experiences with the readers) and pathos (nostalgia feelings).

Suzuki’s personal anecdote takes up a large portion of the essay and throughout; he makes an invitation to his readers to experience the things he did, the fears, the apprehension, the biases before finally enjoying the success of his spontaneous introduction to his talk. The audience hears the advisor’s claims that mostly comprising of teenagers would tear the author (Suzuki) apart. Suzuki invites the reader the ‘tough’ audience the same that he did although he makes an admission that they actually looked normal.

However, Suzuki’s decision to mention that the supposedly “tough crowd” comprised of a relatively large number of Aboriginal students, (Suzuki, par.4) could be misinterpreted as symbolic of a racist attitude on Suzuki’s part rather than his primary intention which is actually to create an “otherness” atmosphere- of students form cultures that had suffered abuse through the forced assimilation education methods of the other dominant cultures. Suzuki reference to the population, particularly the ‘tough” northern town is a device he uses to target audiences that are not familiar with that particular town. However, depending on the reader’s perspective, Suzuki use of emotional appeal can either be upsetting or actually effective for the specific reader.

The use of stories (even those that elevate the reader’s ire) tend to always have an emotional appeal. Therefore, Suzuki’s strategy of reaching his target audience with ethos and pathos before logos is a very effective one. The main idea that emanates from this is that the audience in the school is large and to the author, all the students would essentially be culturally remote either due to the town’s location or racial ancestry (Lee, 67).

When Suzuki greeted the audience comprised of young people with the comment that; “I’m a geneticist. I know you’re basically walking gonads, so I’m going to talk about sex,” he claims that the audience became immediately hooked and thereafter, a lengthy but productive science discussion ensued from this point of departure (Suzuki, par 9). Suzuki ha d actually prepared his readers for this statement through his discussion in the second paragraph of his essay about the importance of teenage hormonal changes in connection to the experiences they face in high school. Due to the fact that the example he uses is actually a personal testimony, it manages to serve as logical evidence and at the same time exhibits emotional appeal. Suzuki’s strongest use of ethos is seen from the cause effect strategy of his story’s mode of beginning and its consequences. In fact, this is his only use of ethos besides the part the personal testimony. The effect Suzuki’s decision to first appeal to the teenager’s sex interest in introducing his talk must actually be delayed so that the members of his audience who are parents can be willing to listen to it. If Suzuki had decided to introduce his main thesis or point in the essay’s beginning, some would have undoubtedly reacted with dismissal, skepticism and even hostility.

In spite of this, Suzuki does however commit one major fallacy and this is the fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc. This he does by assuming that his remark actually caused the reaction exhibited by the audience of his talk (Suzuki, par.10). Unknown to him, the reaction could have in real sense been caused by his celebrity status or his charisma. In addition, it is quite likely that some members of his audience could have been disturbed privately by his direct approach. A single observer can most definitely not be able to determine the deeper level response of over 400 students.

It is this oversimplification flaw that weakens Suzuki’s essay generally. Starting a talk with a good-natured joke about sexuality is not really the same as facilitating a class on sex education. David Suzuki had no evidence had no evidence whatsoever that the student’s would have really welcomed his sex education talk or even needed it so to follow the other points that he later discussed (Lee, 72).

There are also other several instances of hasty conclusions on Suzuki’s part. For instance, he assumes that puberty hormonal changes inadvertently interrupt the high schoolers life and causes them to be preoccupied with sex.

However, Suzuki tries to anticipate some of the resistance developed against his thesis based on school boards by parents to “keep sex education out our school”. Suzuki’s response and assertion that teenagers are bound to learn about sex anyway and that will not learn the real facts is a statement that is vastly unsupported. He does not also question why there may be resistance to allow high school students to access sex education.

The one main question that Suzuki’s essay overlooks- a logistics one- is how schools that are already overstressed and understaffed can add the relatively difficult sex education subject to their current curriculum. It is a known fact that Suzuki wrote this essay when the budgets of education were better that they are currently so this aspect can relatively be forgiven.

Suzuki makes an excellent point when he states that educators should show respect towards their students and that they should appeal to every single one of their interests (Suzuki, par 13). Nevertheless, Suzuki’s argument for introduction of sex education in schools is an argument that requires further thinking and elaboration.
In spite of his persuasive use of ethos and his relatively strong ethos, Suzuki needs a stronger logos use to make a more decent argument. The best that he can actually hope for is capture the attention of his audience, then, it is up to the audience to see if his ideas are appropriate and how they can be implemented in schools if they are indeed appropriate.

Works Cited

Suzuki David, The Right Stuff. In Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life.
Toronto: Stoddart. 1987. 13 – 17.Print.
Jennings, Lee. “‘The Right Stuff’—If Only It Were that Simple,” in Acting on Words:
An Integrated Rhetoric, Reader and Handbook. Ed. David Brundage and
Michael Lahey, Toronto: Pearson, 2009.Print.

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