“Making Single Motherhood N Essay, Research Paper
Mike Taylor Ms. Kugel 12-02-98 In the essay “Making Single Motherhood Normal”, the writer Iris Marion Young uses many strategies to make her piece rhetorically effective. When writing the piece, Young considers many factors such as her audience, the style in which she writes it, the content of her message, and the credibility she wants to display about herself. One aspect of her essay that Young kept the greatest consideration for, was the audience she was trying to reach. She kept this factor in mind, and it effected her writing throughout the entire essay. Through this aspect, and her other rhetorical strategies, she is able to effectively convey her message. Young was very knowledgeable about the audience that she targeted. The audience that Young is trying to appeal and accommodate to, was other liberals. The essay is printed in the Disent, which is a very liberal bimonthly journal of public affairs. She does not even need to proclaim her status in her essay because she is such a renowned liberal herself, and that establishes credibility with her audience. Also, because of this fact, she is very familiar with her audience and their basic beliefs and attitudes on the subject. Because she is so familiar, she often speaks on account of feminine views as she does in the book, Feminist Ethics and Social Policy, when she says, “Feminists ethics criticize the gender blindness and biases in much traditional ethical theory.”(p.1) She understands on a first-hand basis what feminists are attempting to achieve. One critic of Young describes her writing as, “Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference.” (Seyla Benhabib) She considers the differences in social groups in her writings, especially when attempting to appeal to feminists, and encourages this type of practice. Also Through her knowledge of her audience, she accommodates them by covering the points that she knew her audience was concerned about. She opens with, “When Dan Quayle denounced Murphy Brown for having a baby without a husband in May 1992, most liberals and leftists recognized it for the ploy it was.”(p.524 paragraph 1) She knew that the issue over Dan Quayle’s statement was something that was important to her readers, so by immediately addressing this, she was interesting her audience. Throughout the essay Young talks about subject matters that she knows the audience she is trying to target is concerned with. She talks about things such as the destructive views and solutions that conservatives and society have on single mothers, as well as the necessary solutions that she feels should be implicated. Throughout the entire essay Young knows what are the points that her audience cares about, and to appeal to her audience, she addresses those points. Another effective strategy that goes along with the appeal towards her audience, is the arrangement of her essay. The points in the essay where she takes an offensive and defensive stance, work to rally and gather the support of the reader. She realizes the beliefs and the views of her audience, so when she says, “Gang warfare in the streets, massive drug abuse, a poorly committed work-force, and a strong sense of entitlement and a weak sense of responsibility are, to a large extent, the product of poor parenting.”(p. 525 paragraph 5) These times when she is more offensive, on certain matters such as, the negative views towards single mothers by the public, or policies that are limiting for mothers to find jobs, stirs the emotions of her readers, which is exactly her intent. It also enables her to build towards an effective climax towards the end, when she attacks existing policies, and suggests new ones of her own. At other points in her essay, Young will take a more defensive approach towards a matter to educate and gain even more support. Statements like, “a greater part of the increase in family poverty since 1979 has occurred in families with both spouses present, with only 38 percent concentrated in single-parent families.”(p. 527 paragraph 12) This defensiveness against her subject not only educates her reader, but gains their intelligent support and not just emotional. The combination of rallying her readers at times, and educating them at others, is a deliberate arrangement that Young uses to effectively reach her readers.
As well as the arrangement of her essay works, it owes much of its success to the style with which it is written. Parallelism is used as powerful instrument to strongly onset ideas. Sentences like, “Our racism, sexism, and classism are only thinly concealed when we praise stay-at-home mothers who are married, white, and middle class and propose a limit of two years on welfare to unmarried, mostly non-white, and poor women who do the same thing”(p.530 paragraph 22) incessantly pound the message through to the reader. Another way that Young strongly conveys an idea to her audience is with polysyndetons. With sentences like, “And what about all the causal influences on families and children over which parents have very little control-peer groups, dilapidated and understaffed schools, consumer culture, television and movie imagery, lack of investment in neighborhoods, cutbacks in public services?”(p. 526 paragraph 7) She adds bearing to her point with an overflow of examples. She also backs this with metonymies. When she says things like, ” primary cause of all our social ills.”(p.525 paragraph 5) it adds a certain style, and the reader can form their own meaning of the statement. The use of these different schemes, adds to the effectiveness of the essay. All the factors that Iris Young considered when writing her essay played an important role in making it effectual to her audience. The many various tactics also helped to present her ideas in the manner that she desired. Most importantly, because of the careful thought and consideration she had of her audience, she knew the best approach to use these tactics to her advantage. Without the balance of all of these factors, she would not have been able to build the convincing case she does.