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Paper Topic:

Evaluating an Argument

Evaluating an Argument (A Critical Analysis of Jonathan Kozol 's Human Cost of an Illiterate Society an excerpt from Illiterate America

Known for his advocacy on social and educational issues , Jonathan Kozol gave illiteracy a face in this section of his book . He dotted the pieces of illiteracy 's ugly visage challenging democratic America to pick up the fragments and address the matter . He wanted to warn his readers without alarming them so he made up a piece that can be summed up as an emotional and a logical cry for action thus

creating his rhetorical situation

Kozol presents his argument by looking into a wide range of effects , or costs , of illiteracy both for society and the individual (Kozol 1 . He stages the questions of literacy stressing that these must at length be judged as a matter of morality (Kozol 1 . His argument 's building blocks are present-day realities stressing on the dangers and the misery of illiteracy to the society and more to the individual

The author sets the mood by citing the special danger to basic equity in the political structure (Kozol 2 . He cited the misery of living an uninsured existence without guarantees everyday (Kozol 3 the danger of being denied even the most basic of rights and opportunities (Kozol 4 7 the misery of having an immobilized life (Kozol 6 the danger of being harassed and abused (Kozol 7 the misery of being not able to choose (Kozol 6 and the misery of social subjugation and humiliation (Kozol 9 . He gave each a vivid example or two of different people from varying walks of life and in the process he creates symbols . These true-to-life symbols or images functions like advertisements which enables Kozol to achieve his persuasive work leaving his audience with the feeling he wants them to have . The most haunting of his symbols being the picture of the forty-eight-year old man who got trap in a freeway when his car broke down and all he can give the police officer is that he is on a one way street . There are other signs but because he could not read those mean nothing . He recognizes the sign above his head because he saw it before and he reads - ONE WAY STREET (Kozol 9

This litany of moving illustrations shows how the author made use of formal logic presentation . He translates his reasoning process into symbolic language that his readers can relate with and then he manipulates the symbols in various ways to show how sound the reasoning process is . And because it is a lot , it turns up to be too verbose and can bore readers

Moreover , to support his argument , Kozol employed a combination of statistical , emotional and logical evidence appealing to the general reader . He used large figures to convey significance and enormity such the ones below

The number of illiterate adults exceed by 16 million the entire vote cast for the winner in the 1980 presidential contest (Kozol 2

It will...

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