Technology is one of the biggest monopolies today; it not only holds a monopoly in business and finance but it holds a monopoly over a majority of the population’s minds like an expert hypnotist. The largest form of this can be seen through television. It not only takes over your thoughts but also your time and state of being. My brother is a clear victim of television and the effects it can have on your mind; such as, distraction, a loss of reality, an addiction and essentially a child’s “everything”. In my brother’s case this can most commonly be seen when he says “I did not know how much time it took until it was too late” because he is always postponing projects and handing in work late when television is involved. The problem is so big that most times he does not realize it is there and he makes up excuses because of how huge of an influence television is in his daily life. For instance when he stays up late playing League of Legends and watching anime until the next morning and then complains about being tired he inadvertently ignores the bigger problem as an addict would. In spite of the fact that he willingly stayed up late because of television he asks to stay home from school to do the exact thing that kept him up. But this is only possible and so acceptable because the problem is so largely spread and because television has a grand influence not only on the lives of adults but the lives of children too so it is impossible to fully see. As the saying goes “you can’t see the forest from the trees” sometimes. But in Marie Winn’s essay “Television: The Plug in drug” she tries to force us to acknowledge just that. Winn is aware of the issues that are occurring along with the other conflicts television can create while everyone else is not. Winn sees both the trees and the forest clearly and steers away from the danger while we are sucked into the black hole that is television. Television not only distracts and influences people but it also is beginning to take over and consume child life. Television is becoming a greater part of everyday life and developing so much that it is starting to hold a monopoly over our youth’s minds from early childhood on. Winn explains this from a family oriented perspective which presents pathos while incorporating irony and ethos to relate to her readers.
When dealing with family relationships many people strongly feel that communication and closeness are key roles and this can bring out many emotions. Winn focuses on communication and the closeness of family to bring out certain emotions in her reader with pathos to influence the reader on a deeper level. People always say that “family is forever and will always be there” while friends change and drift apart. The main purpose of this phrase is to highlight how important family is supposed to be. But today television is playing a big role in proving this statement false and changing the level of importance family has. Many families are losing interest in each other’s lives and family value is dwindling because the television is beginning to appeal to them more. This can be understood when Winn explains how families are being split apart by television in paragraph 5. This can only evoke a great amount of sadness and concern in a reader. No one ever likes hearing about a family that is being separated especially when something or someone come comes between them of less value. Winn effectively incorporates pathos even more when she appeals to the emotions of parents. No parent ever wants to be looked at as a bad one or the reason for their family growing apart so when Winn highlights their guiltiness in the conflict feelings are construed and readers are forced to face the truth. For example when she asserts “Mom would be watching a drama in the kitchen, the kids would be looking at cartoons in the bedrooms, while dad would be taking in the ballgame in the living room” this shows how separated families became after the television was introduced to the home and the fact that this behavior was condoned by the very people who were supposed to keep the family together and encourage close relationships. Instead of the father and mother encouraging the kids to talk and play they set a bad example themselves by separating themselves. Winn makes the reader evaluate what is going on in their own homes and find the problem instead of pushing it on them. She implements pathos that causes the reader to discover their own sincere emotions on the topic so that it will last instead of forcing it upon them and accusing them of being bad parents. This leaves the reader disappointed and makes them come to their own realization on how television impacts them and their children.
Winn also subtly pressures her readers to recognize the issues that are being presented through different types of irony, situational and verbal. The conflicts that are caused by television make no logical since in the text and Winn expresses this to make reader question themselves with the irony she also uses. Since people cannot realize the troubles with television Winn analyzes the conflicts presented with television as things that are okay. When you blatantly oppose the morally correct choices it causes the reality to come out especially when it pertains to family life. This point of view can cause a person to reflect on what they have done because they see the obvious fault through irony and change and present the greater conflict with the influence television has on child life; For instance in paragraph 7 when Winn asserts “In other words if a child’s home life is alright parents need not worry about the effects of too much television” presenting situational irony. To say this would mean that nothing else matters and that children do not have to be protected beyond the home and that is in fact what parents are supposed to do. The things that parents teach their children inside the home are supposed to travel with them outside the home; Therefore if a parent believes that they do not have to protect the child outside the home they are permitted to have fun without thinking of the consequences that will happen at school or work in the future when they leave home. However some parents do want their children to succeed and with the incorporation of this situational irony Winn helps them to realize that television should be monitored because it has a big effect in a child’s life. Even if a parent does not rip the TV out of the wall and throw it away, this essay will still help the reader to realize the issues that television can present in child life. It is better to act on a situation even if it doesn’t completely disappear than sit around and allow your child to be hurt in the future. Another place where we can see that Winn implements irony is when she incorporates a personal anecdote in her essay. Through Winn’s personal anecdote the original appeal of television is presented to us. This is ironic because television was originally appealing because it was a form of entertainment that could bring family together and within Winn’s anecdote we can see that it did just this but also ended up doing the opposite when her family was separated through watching television too. What is the point of being consumed by something that does not even have its primary appeal or purpose anymore? However no matter how much fault and irony that can be found in television it will still appeal to children. Children are easily influenced because they want to be entertained and do not care or understand the consequences that can be presented though having fun. Therefore when a child grows up with is television and they watch their parents overly indulge in the past time they see no problem because it is all they know and it satisfies their insatiable need for entertainment. Some of the same parents who say that children spend too much time in front of the television and should try reading are the same people who instilled their need for television and showed them that watching it was “okay” as Winn phrases it. She not only presents the issue with verbal irony but she presents her real argument about how television has a great influence on child life.
Winn creates a relationship with the reader that helps her better relate to them by implementing ethos throughout the essay. As the saying goes in so many relationships intimate or not “if you don’t have trust you don’t have anything”. Trust is the basic need in all relationships because if you do not have trust you will not be believed when you say things and therefore you cannot confide in each other and your relationship is weak. Trust is like the foundation to a building and in this case Winn’s essay. Without the foundation (or trust) the building will inevitably crumble because of how weak it is. Winn could not just start off making accusations and stating her opinion because the reader would not believe her without ethos. When Winn starts out with prior knowledge about technology it shows you that she knows what she is talking about. This is a step in beginning to earn a person’s trust so that in the essay she can relate to the reader; for instance, Winn remarks that “only in the early years after television’s introduction did writers …have sufficient perspective to separate the activity of watching television from the actual content it offers the viewers” which tells the readers that she has prior knowledge and is knowledgeable. This statement not only presents ethos but draws them in to the information and perspective that will follow. Another example of how ethos played a big role in presenting her perspective and creating an effective essay can be seen through her personal anecdote. Winn was first introduced to the black hole that is television when she was a child and she shares her personal life story with the reader to show that she has experience and she has a basis for her argument. Not only did she watch television consume her family and rip them apart to scatter them in different parts of the house for hours on end but she saw it through a child’s eyes and knows how it took over a child’s life in that way. Women often say that “giving birth is the most painful thing in the world and you cannot understand the true pain until you go through it yourself” in this case an extreme amount of trust is built and the reader believes that Winn is the most reliable source because she has firsthand knowledge on what television does. An adult who wrote this essay would not be as credible because they have a completely different perspective. But as a child who watches the damage a black hole can do to a family and how helpless they are to fight it off. The authenticity and experience that is incorporated is the bases of the essay and brings it together with perfection and makes it strong.
In closing, in order to make a stable strong temple three essentials are needed for a strong foundation, sturdy material, and level ground. In the case of an essay at least three strong incorporations of rhetorical devices are needed to make it effective. The use of ethos presents a strong foundation that is needed in order for the pillars holding up a temple or essay to stand instead of crumbling. Pathos is incorporated as the material that draws the villagers in and is solid enough to make the whole building out of. Pathos not only appeals to a person’s feelings but it influences them to understand the validity of the essay as does irony as the level ground of the essay and temple. The irony in this essay creates an equal ground for the reader and the writer. The reader does not feel that they are being attacked but sees a situation through the eyes of another and makes them realize the flaws of their views while never taking away the facts that still lie true. In this case, Winn never degrades the reader nor denies the facts that are presented like television being entertaining. Winn merely states the obvious and presents the faults with television and how it can influence a child. What is a child considered to be in a natural disaster? They are considered to be helpless. In the face of a natural disaster everyone is in danger but a child is even weaker because they cannot even help themselves. Unless a parent helps the child they are doomed. The black hole that is television is even worse than a natural disaster it rips families apart and the child is left helpless. A child’s life is most affected by television in the end because they are not in a good position to protect them especially when the danger is not evident. The television cloaks itself as regular entertainment and later opens up and takes over the minds of children (consumes them in a way) and leaves their family tattered and hanging on only by the blood bonds. If you don’t talk and lose interest, what holds a family together and where does this leave a child?
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