Monday, September 28, 2009

Divorce and Negativity

Karl Zinsmeister's article "Divorce's Toll on Children" begins with a very strong statistic, "Since 1972, more than a million youngsters have been involved in a divorce each year." (par.1) He automatically starts off by assuming that the readers of his article are more educated than the 'youngsters' he refers to.

Like Madeline stated in her analysis of this article, the author does use quite a bit of overstatement to get his point across. He tries to convince the reader of the idea that children are emotionally affected when their parents are divorced. It is "more common" for children to be more greatly hurt by a divorce than other stressful events. He also talks about how divoced family interaction is "particularly likely" to happen. Using words and phrases such as these alarm the reader and continue to convince them that divorce is truly a negative experience for all of those involved.

In the next part of the article, Zinsmeister uses a somewhat serious and very earnest tone to get his points across. He ways, "children's view of a disaster." (par.9) He talks about how to many children, the only thing more difficult to deal with is the death of a loved one. To many kids, divorce could be related to the death of a family, seeing that after divorce it is generally hard to keep strong family ties. Children want to grow up in a 'normal' family home, with both a mother and father. by addressing these things, the author is using his more serious tone to express the severity of teh issue. By using quotations from credible sources, he is able to address the topic with much more authority and believability.

Madeline also stated in her analysis that the author was completely one-sided regarding the issue of divorce. The author only wants to talk about the horrendous and terrible things that divorce can do to a family. While his credible facts completely back up his argument, it is important to be open minded to the other side as well.

The anger he shows towards the issue makes one believe he has had some sort of close encounter with divorce, or divorce related situations. The passion he puts into addressing the effects it has on children make the reader aware of what exactly it can do. Girls are more likely to develop habits like "substance abuse, running away and early sexual activity." (par.30) On the other hand, boys are more likely to become "depressed and angry." (par.30) This makes the reader become emotionally afraid for all children in divorced familites.

The author projects all of his emotions and attitudes through the way and order he expresses his ideas. He makes himself clear through ethos, logos and pathos. He expresses emotion through statements regarding family. He also uses imagery to present the issue in a negative way. It is very effective because he makes the reader want to become more informed about the issue, and also helps him to use his serious tone effectively. He gives reasons and statistics showing that divorce truly does harm families, and makes himself and his words more legitimate by using very well known sources. Karl Zinsmeister succeeded in creating a negative image of divorce by using language tools throughout the entire article.


  1. I liked that you related your analysis to what Madeleine had to say. It helps with your argument. You used good examples to show what type of language he used to appeal to readers.

    I think that your intro could be a little stronger as far as setting up your analysis. There is also a spelling mistake in the last paragraph which you might want to fix. "He expresses emotion THROUGHT.."

    Other than that very good!

  2. Great job! I especially liked your analysis of the tone of the article, as well as the use of overstatement. Reading your analysis made me realize how often I fail to critically examine research documents - I believe the information because of the author's ethos and overlook the language tools used. Thanks for pointing out how language tools can effect the presentation of an argument or opinion.

    One question I had while reading your analysis of the article on divorce: What did you think of the imagery Zinsmeister used? How does it relate to the tone he uses?

    Anyways, nice work!