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Rhetorical Analysis of Colleague’s Essay: Matt Sands

The author of the paper was my peer and colleague Matt Sands, who wrote his paper on the ineffectiveness of school uniforms. He develops his credibility mostly from his first-hand experience of attending a school that also required a uniform. Such knowledge can be very influential, and provided him with plenty of in-depth information for his paper. His audience seems to be school administrators, parents with children in school, teachers, or even school children. The direct message of this paper is evident, as it is stated in his thesis statement, which is that school uniforms produce little if no benefit toward a children’s education or the school atmosphere. Upon further analysis it could be seen that his implied message is that schools often times may over step there boundaries in how far they should impede on the natural born rights of every student. The writer structures his essay in a very unique way, by first presenting the positives of  school uniforms in the first few pages. He includes statistics stating the benefits as well as anecdotes reflecting the safety that school uniforms may provide. After providing the positive side of the view, he begins to support his original thesis through personal anecdotes as well as the view that school uniforms are an unconstitutionally sound and inhibit a students individuality. Both, valid points that I also used in my argument against school uniforms. I do not necessarily find this style of organization very successful. It seems that too much time is spent focusing on the opposite of what is stated in the thesis statement. There are nearly two pages written on the support of the opposing view before the authors true argument is presented. Although it allows both sides of the argument to be presented in the end it does more to counteract against the original argument being presented. Throughout the paper it seems the author is trying to make you see both sides, but instead make you realize one that one is argument is better than the other. In the first half of the paper the author heavily relies on the use of logos in his arguments. There are numerous facts presented such as “..the crime rate had dropped by 91%, school suspensions by 90%, sexual offenses by 96%, and incidents of vandalism had dropped by 69%….”. This leads to the author backing up the point opposite of his thesis which in the end takes away some of his credibility as it relates to his thesis. Towards the end of the paper the author relies more on ethos by countering with the point that uniforms are constitutionally unfair as well as restricting to a students individuality. The most successful part of the writers paper was his use of personal experience. These anecdotes from his true life stories in school build up his credibility as a writer and bring more evidence to support is thesis. The part that confuses me the most is when he jumps right from his thesis into an argument supporting the opposite view, it confuses the writer into being unsure of what point is actually being presented. My best advice for a final draft in the portfolio is to present the argument with less points supporting the other side and more evidence supporting the original thesis.

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