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Rhetorical Analysis – Other Voices, Other Rooms

1045 words - 5 pages

In this essay, “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, Professor Gerald Graff offers that education at a university could be exciting and rewarding for students. However, it applies to those who have developed the skills at summarizing, weighing arguments and synthesizing conflicting points. Unfortunately, not all students possess these skills and as they start getting confused they will care more about appeasing the professor in order to obtain good grades. In return, they will give their professors whatever they want even though it seems contradictory to their beliefs (339). Graff believes that not all college students possess the skills necessary to be successful and that professors are only making ...view middle of the document...

He says, “Only later did it dawn on me that studying different centuries and clashing theories without having them brought together had made things much harder since it removed the element of contrast” (340). Graff says that contrast is fundamental to learning and in order to fully grasp the concept, and the subject needs to be understood in relation to other ideas. In his second example, in attempting to strengthen his argument, Graff uses an academic reference, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn. Kuhn says,
“Both the literati and the scientist have remained largely walled up within their clashing assumptions about objectivity, the smugness of which might have been punctured had these parties been forced to argue with each other in their teaching” (341). Even though Graff and Kuhn share the same thoughts, Kuhn’s reference does not provide any evidence to support his claims. He then introduces Gregory Colomb, which his reference again doesn’t add credibility; it detracts from the essay because readers have to read the text several times just to get through this part of the writing. Graff says, “Imagine trying to write and academic paper when you send that almost anything you say can be used against you and that the intellectual moves that got you an A in existentialist philosophy may get you a C minus and a dirty look in Skinnerian behaviorism (342)”. He goes on to say, “When students fail to identify a cultural literacy item on a test, the problem may be not that they don’t know the information but that they don’t know that they know it, they may have learned it in a context whose relevance to the test question they don’t recognize” (343). Unfortunately, Graff does not offer supporting studies or evidences that validate his claims. This portion of the essay was dry and difficult to understand; it seems that he loses the earlier gains he had in supporting his argument. Lastly, Graff successfully uses a very relatable analogy that sums up his essay, which the majority of this audience can either relate to or conceptualize. Graff compares students trying to learn a series of unrelated courses to someone attempting to learn to play...

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