Proper Use Of The Term

“Myself” Essay, Research Paper

In Mike Kelley’s essay entitled, “Please Forgive I; Myself Just Isn’t Me Today,” he makes reference to the use of the term “myself.” Kelley makes it clear that he does not believe in the use of the term “myself” in such a way as, “Dr. Richards and myself will talk about…” (As if heard on TV). This sort language is accepted modern usage, but as Kelley reminds us, “I refuse to accept any usage that is defined as modern.” He believes this sort of language is what leads to other appalling statements like, “Hopefully it won’t rain again today,” which should then be answered with such a comment as, “Yes, hopelessly the sun will shine on little children all over the world, you benighted, salivating nit.” He goes on to convince us that, according to him, there is only one correct use of the word “myself” which is to indicate agreement.

I believe the Primary Purpose of this essay is to be a persuasive one. The objective of this writing seems to be convincing the reader of the proper use of the term “myself.” This may or may not be the grammatically correct definition of this word, but it is the message Kelley is attempting to convey nonetheless. Kelley writes in his fifth paragraph that, “There is one and only one proper usage of ‘myself’ and that is to denote clear and forceful agreement.” With this statement, he is obviously trying to persuade us to take his point of view. He also reinforces this by telling a story of two men working in a field for hours, when one of them says he would like a beer. Kelley tells us that the proper response would not be to agree and explain your reasons, but rather to simply say, “Mahsayelf!” Then telling us “That is what the word is there for and that is how to use it. Hopefully I will not have to explain this again.”

The Secondary Purpose of Kelley’s essay is to be a literary work. While he tries to convince us of the proper usage of a certain term, he does it in a humorous tone. When describing a situation in which the term “myself” was used incorrectly, Kelley writes, “It is most often heard as the first part of a compound subject, to wit ‘Myself and Viola Lou are goin’ to git on the outside of some Lone Star this very night.’” Kelley’s reply is entertaining by then saying, “Not only is that unacceptable, it is flagrantly discourteous. It is the grammatical equivalent of going through a door first and letting it slam in Viola’s face. Viola Lou should kick you real hard and I hope she does. Though, if you drink Lone Star, you probably wouldn’t feel a kick in the shins.”

Kelley uses several different patterns for his essay, but the Primary Pattern is evaluation. The way he tells us his opinion is not is any structural manner other than he placing his values before us. This is what he believes is the right way, and he is offering it up for scrutiny by others. “As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as accepted modern usage. I refuse to accept any usage that is defined as modern.” By this he is telling us what he knows to be true, and this is his evaluation on the subject. One of the Secondary Patterns in this piece of work, is narration. While giving us his beliefs, he must refer to examples to reinforce his cause, and these examples are told in a narrative fashion.

“After a few hours of bucking bales, the little spears and splinters of hay are stinging your arms like too fanged elves and sand dunes begin to pile up in your throat. Your back becomes a reservoir of ache and you must take car to avoid any errant cow that may have wandered into the field, for fear that it will mistake your skin for a salt block and lick you to death on the spot.

“This is when your partner stretches, looks up at that fiendish fireball in the sky and wails, ‘Oh my sweet Lord, but I could go for the coldest beer this old world ever dreamed of.’”

This sequence of events has been given as a story of something happening in the present, as Kelley narrated in third person.

The proper use of the word “myself” has been given by the author, Mike Kelley, as well as instructions of when to use this word. However, there has been much left unknown to the reader. The information presented has helped to clarify one thing. The term “myself” is to be used for strong agreement only, but does that mean one can not use it at any other time? Can it not be used when making a reference to one’s self? If not, then I do not buy into Kelley’s theory. I hold that term to be useful on more levels than simply for agreement. Honestly, I do not think Kelley did a fantastic job of convincing me the true meaning of the term “myself.” In fact, after further contemplation I have concluded that not only was Kelley incorrect in saying “myself” should be used solely in agreement, but rather that he is incorrect entirely. I will continue to use “myself” when referring to me, provided it is in the correct context. However, the next time I am in full agreement with a statement made, I will not be saying “Mahsayelf!”

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