Millennials: the people who were born between 1980 to 2000, the people who are made up of teenagers and young adults, the greatest and biggest generation. Past generations have been calling the millennials “lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow” (Stein 1), but they have a reason for this. Because they “did not come of age in the era of the quantified self” (Stein 2), older generations like Generation X or the baby boomers believe that millennials are too ungrateful and too self-conscious. However, millennials really are not what they appear to be from the outside. Joel Stein, an author writing for TIME magazine, proves that in his article “The New Greatest Generation: Why Millennials Will Save Us All”. In his article, Stein portrays millennials as human beings that have “mutated to adapt into their own environment” (Stein 4), not human beings that have distanced themselves from the generations of the past. By writing with a mildly humorous tone, combined with the use of rhetorical devices logos and pathos, Stein successfully presents both the negative and positive sides of millennials and convinces the older generations to reflect on the younger generations. Throughout his article, Stein is able to use the rhetorical devices logos and pathos in an effective way.
He starts by using logos to present a sequence of logical facts about millennials, including comparisons of tests given to millennials and previous generations with different results (Stein 1). The use of comparisons helps the readers understand the big difference between the two generations of people, as well as support the statement degrading millennials in the introduction. Besides straight facts, Stein also blends in various quotes from CEOs, recruiters, and other older people in high-end jobs to further develop his initial claim. For example, he adds a casting director’s opinion on millennials’ ever-changing definitions of themselves to give even more support for his belief that millennials are too entitled to themselves (Stein 3). Eventually, Stein does continue to use this engaging logic for the rest of his paper, but with an addition of new techniques and different ideas.
For the second half of his article, Stein not only changes his article’s tone and topic completely, he also begins to utilize the rhetorical device pathos to persuade the readers even further. He does so by transitioning from millennials’ weaknesses to millennials’ strengths by stating his true claim: “They’re [millennials] not a new species, they’ve just mutated to adapt to their own environment. “ Furthermore, Stein’s usage of humor with a hint of sarcasm throughout his entire article. For example, he wrote “millennial might seem like an oversharing Kardashian, posting vacation photos on Facebook is actually less obnoxious than 1960s couples’ trapping friends in their houses to watch their terrible vacation slide shows. “ this kind of statement entertains the reader and keep them reading the article until the end, so that they can hear about Stein’s own opinion on millennials.
His repetitions of the fact that he has studies, statistics, and other data gets the reader’s attention in the beginning till the end, and his little anecdote in the middle also helps the reader develop their opinions on the article. All in all, Joel Stein’s article is not about how terrible millennials are, nor about the greatness of the millennials. It is about how the millennials are just as alike as the people of rest of the world, despite what they might act like on the outside. Stein’s rhetorical writing styles and millennials truly are “the new greatest generation” and just might be able to “save us all”(Stein 1).
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