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A Disease Called Childhood Rhetorical Analysis

Powerful Essays
An effective argument is nothing if it’s not convincing to the audience; regardless of how much groundbreaking evidence an author has, they won’t sell a single book if it isn’t persuasive enough for people to pay attention. Marilyn Wedge is no stranger to these devices, as she uses numerous appeals throughout her book A Disease Called Childhood. Written in the height of what Wedge refers to as “an ADHD epidemic,” this book attempts to detail various causes and solutions to ADHD. In chapter six of A Disease Called Childhood, Marilyn Wedge appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos through a variety of rhetorical strategies and devices to convince the audience that the American education system is contributing to the ADHD epidemic. Wedge appeals to…show more content…
On page 126, she talks about her own childhood, saying, “I grew up in south Florida, and I swam or biked with my friends after school until our mothers called us in for dinner. Spending free time outdoors on our own inspired our creativity and boosted our curiosity.” She brought up this short memory when talking about the need for children to be active during the school day to improve their academic performance. By explaining the benefits she gained from physical activity as a child, she is reinforcing her argument that children need recess and gym class through the logic that if it worked then, it will work now. Playing outside as a child is also an event that many readers can likely relate to, which will allow them to apply their own experiences to this logic and further reinforce the claim. There is also a short story about Otis Orchards Elementary School on pages 133-134, and explains that the teachers there went through extensive training about how to help children dealing with trauma or problematic home situations. Wedge then goes on to talk about how the children at this school were better behaved and scoring higher on tests after this training had been implemented, essentially arguing that adverse personal lives should be properly dealt with at school in order to combat ADHD-like symptoms. Showing a real-life example of how this training was having a positive impact on children causes the reader…show more content…
These stories pop up all over the place, most prominently in the forms of anecdote and analogy. She discussed a patient of hers named Kyle on pages 138-143, where she detailed about the conversations she had with his parents regarding their strained home life. Telling this story may evoke a familiar storyline with some readers who have had similar experiences, and will bring forth feelings of pity and concern in nearly everyone who reads it. Anecdotes like these allow Wedge to disregard logic for a moment and make the reader focus simply on the emotions associated with the issue at hand. She also used an analogy about Huckleberry Finn to introduce the chapter on pages 117-118. Huckleberry Finn is a story that many readers are likely to be familiar with, even if they just know the basics. This makes this analogy a good choice because it’s something that many have knowledge of and can make a connection to. This connection evokes feelings of familiarity in the reader, which makes them more attentive to the claims that follow through the rest of the chapter. Wedge’s overall appeals to pathos make the audience not only believe her argument, but agree with it based on their strong emotional reactions to the
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