Eng4U1 Personal Persuasive Essay Unit: Discussing Sample Student Answers for the Essay, “This is Emo” by Chuck Klosterman



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ENG4U1 Personal Persuasive Essay Unit: Discussing Sample Student Answers for the Essay,

This is Emo” by Chuck Klosterman




  • The following answers are sample student responses for some of the assigned personal persuasive essay analysis questions for “This is Emo” by Chuck Klosterman. Let’s discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these answers, and use them as a model for how to dissect a personal persuasive essay!


Question #1: In your own words, what is Chuck Klosterman's thesis?

After a close reading of the personal persuasive essay, “This is Emo”, it is evident that Klosterman’s thesis is that the media has ruined people’s perception of what true love is, because these media representations have created problematic and unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships that can never be truly realized. Consequently, there is a significant disparity between one’s expectation and one’s reality. Klosterman is arguing that media representations of love and romance are setting people up for failure, because most of us will never find the love we want, but are brainwashed to believe exists somewhere out there. This why Klosterman begins his essay with the assertion that “No woman will ever satisfy [him]”, and he ultimately gets to the heart of his thesis when he mentions that two people in a relationship “will both measure [their] relationship against the prospect of fake love” and “…we need to worry about all the entertaining messages people are consciously accepting when they’re twenty-six. They’re the ones that get us, because they’re the ones we try to turn into life,” therefore suggesting that no one will ever be happy within a romantic relationship because they will constantly hold fake people and unrealistic love stories as the standard to which they measure their own realities (Klosterman 1,3,10). As a result, Chuck Klosterman’s thesis in this essay is that through the media’s faulty representation of love and relationships, today’s society hungers for an unattainable definition of true love, leaving all of us to wallow in unnecessary disappointment.


Question #2: Do you agree or disagree with Klosterman's thesis? Why or why not? Connect your explanation to Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle.

I do agree with Klosterman’s thesis, but unfortunately, he does not maintain a balanced rhetorical triangle as he attempts to develop his supporting arguments. Most importantly, Klosterman’s credibility (ethos) is significantly lacking due to his tendency to contradict himself (“I would never try to deny it” and then he entertains a future scenario in which he does deny it), his admission of future dishonesty (“Now, I will be lying”), his failure to accept responsibility for his part in the proposed problem/thesis (“I know it’s not my fault…I’m going to blame John Cusack”), and his tendency to rant unnecessarily using offensive language (“…and I hope Coldplay gets _______ dropped by _______ EMI and ends up like the Stone _______ Roses, who were actually a better _______ band, all things considered”) (1,2,4). Essentially, Klosterman portrays himself as overly emotional, somewhat illogical, and exceedingly angry on a subject that he claims that he is not bitter about (although it is clear that he is also making an attempt at humour when he says, “Not that I’m bitter about this”, following a f-word filled rant). Consequently, although Klosterman presents a valid thesis, and his use of pop-culture allusions demonstrate a breadth of knowledge about the media, his tone and diction are not always effective in proving his thesis. In addition, there are several arguments that Klosterman presents that lack sufficient proof and development, which negatively impacts his logical appeal (logos). For example, when Klosterman states, “It appears that countless women born between the years of 1965 and 1978 are in love with John Cusack”, he does not include an explanation as to why he has made such an assertion (2). In addition, he says things like, “I feel like I remember it, even though I don’t” (8). As a result, many of his arguments are unfounded assumptions or vague references, rather than well-researched, irrefutable facts. Finally, although Klosterman attempts to make his reader care about his thesis by initially asserting that it is “everyone’s problem”, at points throughout his essay, Klosterman’s emotional appeal (pathos) is too frenetic and heated (“It does not matter that Coldplay is absolutely the _______ _______ band I’ve ever heard in my entire _______ life…”), but these moments are tempered by interesting moments of reflection (“This is not ‘normal’ because everybody is being twisted by the same sources simultaneously”) (2-4). Ultimately, I agree that the media has represented love in unrealistic ways (thanks, John Cusack), and due to this, society parades around trying to find the unfindable. However, this leads to the question, what is real love? While one couple may be under Chris Martin’s musically illustrated illusion that they are in love, another couple may truly feel that the stars are indeed yellow (reality sets in). However, I also believe that it is unfair to deem everyone’s attempts at romance as futile, because who really knows what love is? I agree with Klosterman’s funny and somewhat pessimistic view that love can be fabricated through the magic of the media, however, I believe that this is only one face of the metaphorical coin.



Question #3: What is the tone of this essay? How does the tone of the essay impact Klosterman's thesis/arguments? How does Klosterman's tone affect his credibility as an author? Explain in thorough detail.

The tone of this personal persuasive essay is bitter, annoyed, and disappointed. Bitter because of the whole paragraph dedicated to Coldplay in which swear words appear every other word – “How am I going to compete with that ______?” (3). Klosterman’s disappointed tone is demonstrated clearly when he is talking about how every one of his relationships is bound to end because eventually people run out of things to say to each other – “…this was the best relationship I ever had. And I suspect it was the best one she ever had, too” (5). Finally, Klosterman also seems bitter that the mass media shapes our ideas and expectations of love, proven when he facetiously says, “I want fake love. But that’s all I want, and that’s why I can’t have it” (10). Klosterman’s earlier ranting in the essay greatly affects his credibility (ethos), particularly his crudeness, because it makes the essay unsophisticated. It is too emotional, like someone having a temper tantrum. In fits of rage people cannot be taken seriously because they are overcome with emotion, and therefore are not perfectly logical or credible. This consistent tone of frustration and hopelessness tells the reader that this author may be sad or depressed, and in such a state he cannot be an objective critic for romantic relationships, therefore his credibility is thrust into question.

Question #4: Identify three PRO arguments that Klosterman uses to support his thesis, and comment on the effectiveness of each.

LIST THREE ARGUMENTS!
1.
2.
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Question #5: Identify one CON argument that Klosterman presents in his essay, and comment on its effectiveness.
One of Chuck Klosterman’s con argument states that “this media transference is not all bad” (5). He considers that, in the case of Woody Allen, the media has improved people’s perceptions of reality when it comes to our collective acceptance of neurotic nerds. All of a sudden, “bespectacled goofballs” become dateable (5).
ADD ON TO THIS RESPONSE!
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  • Now, in small groups of approximately 4 people, analyze the internal strategies, rhetorical devices, and specific allusions that Klosterman uses in his essay by including analytical detail and direct evidence (quotations) from the essay as support for your assertions. Consider: Do you understand internal strategies and rhetorical devices? If not, ask for clarification! Can you identify internal strategies and rhetorical devices in a personal persuasive essay and then examine their effect on the essay in a meaningful and critical way? If not, practice this skill more actively! Try this below!



Question #6: Internal Strategies
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Question #7: Rhetorical Devices (excluding allusions, which will be addressed in question #8)
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Question #8: The Use of Allusions
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