Why We Dont Complain
We don’t complain enough. Is the simply and unique argument that Buckley is presenting in his essay. The purpose of this essay is to convince Americans that it’s time to start complaining. Instead of simply pushing aside the issues that are present to us on a daily bases Buckley wants us to confront them head on and to simply speak up. Instead of dealing with hot trains, an unfocused movie screen and long line that is caused from a supposedly lazy worker, we should speak up because we have the power to change the little problems. Buckley is afraid that if we continue to show apathy towards small problems then we will continue this trend when faced with much larger conflicts that can be found in things such as our government.
Buckley’s thesis is that we should speak up when we aren’t satisfied, or don’t agree with something, essentially complain more often, because if we don’t complain it can lead to us entering an apathy coma that will cause the American to blindly accept an issue because we choose not to exert the will power to fix it. Some of his suggestion as to why we don’t complain is include: we assume someone will, we don’t know why its wasn’t done in the first place so we don’t question it, we just don’t want to cause a fuss, we think our opinion doesn’t matter, or we receive peer pressure from others not to complain.
To understand Buckley’s essay I used the stasis theory questions to help me identify which one that author is trying to present. The Stasis questions are meant to help the readers determine the question at issue so that you can get to the heart of argument and distinguish major claims from minor elements of support. Buckley’s central question is stated clearly in the title of the essay “Why Don’t We Complain?” I started to search for the author’s main question by trying to apply all of the six stasis questions and choosing the one that I believe the author is trying to present to the readers.
Question five of the stasis question talks about a question of consequence that is caused when the author is asking what will happen if we do not fix the issues that is being discussed. After Buckley’s presents his central question he goes on to explain that there is a consequence to not complaining. By avoid complaining we will only increase the sense of helplessness that we feel with major problems that exist in our society. This analysis of Buckley’s main question leads the readers to believe that he is questioning will not complain cause society lack of apathy to grow? The is a question of consequence that is outlined in question five the stasis theory question helped me properly identify the authors many purpose of writing this essay.
Once I understood what Buckley is trying to get the reader to question I used the questions for critical readings to not only find out his main purpose, but to also analysis his supporting argument. The questions for critical reading are designed to guide the readers question the support that is presented in the text to back up an author’s main claim. The first question for critical reading asks what the author’s main purpose is. Buckley does not give the readers a clear thesis in the introduction. However when reading through the essay I discovered that the author’s implied thesis and purpose it to show the readers that our society needs to start noticing and trying to change the minor issues so that we can feel empowered enough to change the major dilemmas. The second question asks what the reader knows about the author’s beliefs, assumptions and experiences.
Throughout the essay the author outlines the different experience that has lead him to believe that Americans are becoming to uncaring of the obstacles that we face on a day to day basis. Hot trains, unfocused movie screens, long lines, and unhelpful stewardess are the experiences that Buckley uses to help show the readers why we are not complaining enough. The third question asks what the author’s qualifications to discuss this topic are. To answer this question I searched the brief bio that is presented in the 50 Essay’s before the beginning of each paper. In doing so I found that this paper was written by an editor of an opinion journal, a host of a political talk show, and a well published author. I feel that because the author has dealt with the opinions of others in his articles and on a personal level experienced the lack of complaining he is qualified enough to discuss this topic.
The four question asks what unstated assumptions, underlying values and commitments does that author seem to hold? Author is assuming that we all have experienced moments were we haven’t stated our opinion because of the reasons that he presents in his supporting arguments. The author’s credentials lead me to believe that he values different opinions, and our right to change the main problems that our society is facing. Question five asks the readers to find the call to action that the author is presenting in his text. The author wants the readers to on a surface level start complaining more. However when analyzing this text with the author is really ask the reader to realize that we need to stop neglecting the issues. By describing the minor problems that we can fix I believe that Buckley is trying to empower the American people to start changing the issues that are also with in our ability to change. His call of action for society is to complain and work through the obstacles that are preventing our society from growing. In question six they ask what reasons does the author offer in support of his or her ides?
When answering this question I skimmed through the text highlighting any reasons that Buckley as to why we choose not to complain. He states that we are scared that our cause is unjust. We can receive peer pressure from others to keep silent. The majority of people believe that their opinion does not matter so there is no need to speak up. Also people tend to avoid complaining because they fear the repercussions that can be caused from stating their opinion. His reasoning continues on to describe the multiple excuses that we use to avoid conflicts and addressing problems.
Question seven asks kinds of sources does the author rely on? The author rely his own personal experiences to allow the readers to better relate to his arguments. The objections that question eight deals with are that this essay is out of date with current time because it seems to be a bit irrelevant to the current times. Question nine is asking does the argument include images, graphics, or media. The author does not use any of those graphics in his essay. I am open to listening to other opinion on this issue because I feel that Buckley essay is a bit out of date.
I feel that the Buckley’s essay realizes heavily on Aristotle’s appeal of logos. Aristotle’s three appeals include logos: the appeal to reason, pathos: the appeal to emotions, values, and beliefs, and ethos: the appeal to the credibility of the speaker or writer. Buckley uses the logic throughout his essay by describing how not complaining can lead to harm our way of living. He appeals to reason by listing and outline all the reasons that we don’t complain in hopes that the readers will begin to understand the problem with not complaining.
The author appeals to the fact that as American we value our right to freedom of speech, but rarely utilize this right because of Buckley’s supporting arguments. The creditability of the speaker is not used in Buckley’s essay to support his thesis however it does help the readers believe that he is genuine in his findings. Over all I feel that the author is mainly appealing to our reasoning because he uses supporting arguments that are easy to relate to as a reader.
I was initially very confused by Toulmin argument because I did not easily understand the wording that Toulmin uses in his system. After discussing the system in class I gathered that the Toulmin system is used to allow the reader to link together the author’s main arguments. The claims that Buckley uses in his essay is that we don’t complain enough in our daily lives and because of this we are going to neglect the major issues. The qualifiers for this argument are that Buckley is strictly addressing the common American people. Throughout his essay he uses word such as we, us, and that suggest to the reader that he is addressing the general American people. The warrants that Buckley uses can be seen in his supporting arguments and thesis.
The author does not explicitly state that we all struggle with complaining and that we lack conviction in our ever day lives however it is implied throughout his essay. Reasons are not listed until the end of Buckley essay were he states that because we don’t complain we are allowing major problems to escalate. The train ride, long line, off set movie and so on are the evidence that Buckley presents in his essay to show the read how we often don’t think to complain about what may seem to be minor problems. Toulmin’s framework helps the reader to link arguments and find argument that are unstated by the author.
All four of journal activities help me to gain a greater understanding of Buckley’s essay however I felt that The Question for Critical Reading help me to analysis Buckley’s essay further. The stasis questions helped me identify that the author is trying to get the readers to see the consequence behind not complaining. Once I understood the author’s main question; I then used the questions for critical reading to guide me into my finding of what the author is trying to prove to the readers. The critical reading questions also helped me to discover the difference between Buckley’s examples and supporting evidence.
By asking questions such as what reasons does the author give in support of his ideas I was able to separate his examples from the reasoning behind his thesis statement. Aristotle’s three appeals helped me to understand what the overall method of persuasion that Buckley uses and also I began to question the validity of his argument. Toulmins Framework was the hardest to understand because I did not understand what the questions were asking. After discussing it in class and gaining more clarity I feel that Toulmin helped me link the Buckley’s arguments together so that I can find the overall purpose of the text. Out of the four exercises, the critical reading questions was the best analytical tool to use because the question were very easy to understand and it shows the reader what to look for when analyzing the text.