Analysis Of Morality

The Republicans Were Right, But –
By: Garrison Keillor

“The sanctity of the oath” (Keillor 102), the controversial hot topic of this year. This is a subject that has sparked great debates not only to those in Congress, but among the American people as well. Some hold the oath as a promise of civility and humanity. On the other hand, others view the morality the oath is supposed to stand for as unreachable and unattainable. In my opinion Garrison Keillor sums it up in his essay, “The Republicans Were Right, But.” I feel this is a good essay based upon the author’s argument of morality, his use of symbolism, and the entire structure of the essay.

The rhetorical situation in any given essay or editorial contains three main parts: the author, the audience, and the medium. The author of this essay, Garrison Keillor, was born and raised in Anoka, Minnesota in 1942. As Mr. Keillor points out quite clearly in the first paragraph of his essay, he is a democrat. According to the Minnesota Public Radio home page, he hosts a weekly talk show on public radio called “ A Prairie Home Companion.” He also hosts the “Writers Almanac,” a daily five-minute program. He is a frequent contributor to Time Magazine, and the author of ten books, including Lake
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Wobegon Days (1985). Keillor’s recording of Lake Wobegon Days received a Grammy award; he has also received two ACE awards for cable TV and a George Foster Peabody Award. In 1994, he was inducted to the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia). The intended audience for this essay is people that are interested in current affairs. The medium for this essay is TIME Magazine, a general news purpose magazine. Given the rhetorical situation, his argument appears to be very specific.

To argue is to attempt to convince a reader to agree with a point of view, to make a decision, or to pursue a particular course of action (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 429). In an argument there are three main elements: ethos, logos, and pathos. In ethos, the author tries to build his/her character to the audience. In this particular essay, Mr. Keillor does not build his credibility very well. The only information he reveals is that he is a democrat, which can be found in paragraph one of the essay. The details of Mr. Keillor’s career, as listed previously, were obtained through outside sources. Logos is the reasoning the author uses to argue his/her point. In Mr. Keillor’s essay, he uses deductive reasoning. Deduction is the process of reasoning from stated premises to a conclusion that follows necessarily (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 431). In this essay, the major premises are as follows: A) (Paragraph two) “The Republicans believed that dehorsing the President would serve as a caution to Democratic Presidents in the future, and about that they are right. And also that it would underline the sanctity of the oaths.” B) (Paragraph 4) “The word perjury should mean something so that it focuses a man’s
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mind.” C) (Paragraph 6) “On the other hand, if I ever had the chance to vote the guy with the ax out of office, I would do so.” D) (Paragraph 8) “The best we can do is systematize the cruelty.” The conclusion of the essay is, “If the American people want civility, they can elect a Congress that believes in it” (Keillor 102). Pathos is used to elicit emotion from the reader. Mr. Keillor tries to elicit emotions of anger, fear, and inspiration. For example, in paragraph one he elicits anger by insulting the intelligence of the reader. In paragraphs four and five, he elicits fear, by giving examples of extreme consequences to actions otherwise gone unpunished. In paragraphs six, eleven, and twelve, the author inspires the reader to take action if they are unpleased with the current justice system. The author’s argument is implemented very well in his writing style.

Style is the individual manner in which a writer expresses his or her ideas (Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 436). Style is categorized into three main parts: diction, tone, and construction of sentences. Mr. Keillor’s diction is precise and appropriate. He uses a lot of verbs and symbolism.