Rhetorical Analysis

6 June 2016

Matt Lamkin’s “A Ban On Brain-Boosting Drugs is Not the Answer” first appeared in Chronicle of Higher Education in 2011. In this essay Lamkin aims to convince his reader not to deter improper conduct with threats, but to encourage students to engage in the practice of education. Lamkin tells us “If colleges believe that enhancing cognition with drugs deprives students of the true value of education, they must encourage students to adapt that value as their own” (642). Appeal to logic, consistency, and compare/contrast are techniques Lamkin skillfully uses to create a strong effective essay.

Lamkin uses logos, or appeal to logic, by using effective and valid evidence, such as statistics and observations of credible source. By doing this Lamkin establishes the problem, and gives credibility toward an effective essay. On the other hand he creates balance by using an opposing solution from a credible source. Lamkin states “34 percent of university’s undergraduates have used stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall as study aids” (640).

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

By using this statistic he states there is a logical problem that legitimately needs a solution. Then Lamkin says “Wesleyan University amended its student’s code of conduct to recognize “misuse” of prescription drugs as a violation” (641). By representing this observation by the university Lamkin gives credibility toward his essay, and also gives give’s balance by giving an opposing argument. All and all by using logos Lamkin creates a convincing argument.

Shortly after Lamkin captures the reader’s interest by using logos, or logical appeal, he begins using consistency. Consistency is the constant repeat of the writer’s beliefs. Lamkin does this by constantly reiterating “college need to encourage students to engage more deeply in college education rather than to seek shortcuts” (641). What he is basically trying to say over and over again is we should put the students on right path instead of punishing them for using these drugs. Lamkin believes this is the overall solution to the outstanding problem at hand.

Lamkin constantly gives details throughout the essay on how this solution will benefit students, rather than the opposing one. Through the use of consistency and details, it becomes clear to the readers that his solution is the best one. Lamkin also uses consistency in his essay to function as support for his compare/contrast technique.

About midway through till the end of the essay Lamkin uses compare and contrast to effectively make his point He begins by comparing cheating to unfair competition to state “simply calling the drug unfair tells us nothing on why colleges should ban them” (641). This promotes the reader to start questioning why the colleges want to ban this drug in the first place. He then goes on to compare putting the drug in water, to making it fair or unfair. Lamkin says “shouldn’t colleges put them in drinking water instead? It would be unfair for wealthy students to use them if less privileged kids can’t afford them” (641).

By doing this he steers the reader away from the opposing solution. He then starts to contrast the idea of the drug being bad to actually being beneficial as Lamkin states “Ritalin might enable a student to engage more deeply in college and to more fully experience its internal goods” (641). The reason for this is to show that the policy weather prohibition or universal access, is unlikely to be effective. But for the rest of the essay he contrast his solution to promote education and the honor code to the opposing solution of banning it and the negative effects of doing so. This is making is argument effective in promoting his idea.

More important than the function of the techniques independently is how Lamkin uses them together. Logos, consistency, and compare/contrast used together gives an effective approach to persuade his reader on how to solve the problem of using study drugs. Without this approach it would have prevented the essay from being convincing and effective. So, appeal to logic consistency, and compare/contrast are techniques Lamkin use to create a strong convincing essay

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