Ellis Parker Butler On Spelling Rhetorical Analysis

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Throughout Ellis Parker Butler’s essay “On Spelling,” Butler argues that American English spelling conventions of that time period need to be reformed. While most argue for change to more “correct” spelling, Butler believes that reforms should be made in order to omit unneeded letters, such as the “ugh” in although. The argument itself is developed mainly through bombastic and cocky statements, analogies made cross-discipline, and references made comparing the two different “solutions” put forth, one being Serena’s and the other being Butler’s himself. These three techniques combine to form an overall superficial argument with little logical backing. First off, Butler uses bombastic and cocky statements to develop his argument. One example …show more content…

Cross-discipline analogies are often helpful to readers because they help readers visualize the situation described in terms that might be more easily understood. Thus, most of the analogies made by Butler are helpful. In the third paragraph, Butler makes an analogy to illustrate that Americans only like gradual change. He states that the progression of the automobile, from bike to motorcycle to car was a textbook example of the kind of change which Americans prefer. He makes this illustration in order to show that those attempting to reform spelling are on the wrong track, for they want sweeping change, when in reality, Americans like gradual change. This cross-discipline analogy is based on sound logic and thus successfully helps to reinforce his otherwise weak argument. Additionally, in the first paragraph Butler makes a cross-discipline comparison between Shakespeare and Noah Webster, stating that Shakespeare, a bad speller, was a genius, while Webster, a good speller, was not. Although this analogy is based on shakier logic than the previous one mentioned, it is, in principle, a solid analogy, and thus also positively contributes to Butler’s

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