On Christopher Morley’s “On Laziness”, he presents the topic of laziness, persuading his audience about the allure indolence through rhetorical effect and appeal to human nature. Slothfulness, which is typically regarded as a weakness or sin, is transformed into a means to “enlightened” living using rhetorical effect. As an essayist on laziness, Morley presents his subject to the audience in the didactic and amicable tone, using a sophisticated dictation to provide style.
Morley advertises the attractiveness of laziness by appealing to some of society’s greatest desire: relief from responsibility, respect, happiness, and enlightenment. Similar to the styles of propagandist advertisers in unSpun, in his essay Chris Morley is able to guarantee the readers something valuable for nothing, or rather from doing nothing. As the common man, the writer achieves this scheme by being able to communicate with the common man, knowing their own traits and quims for his own. The tone of “On Laziness” is shrewd, yet friendly, like a wise mentor spreading his doctrines to benefit his pupils. Morley sluggish philosophy is a relative ideology, seen in even contemporary society today, i.e. “Hakuna Matata,” the popularized Swahili phrase (made famous from The Lion King,) directly translating, “No worries.”
In addition, in spite of the vintage publication date (1920s), Morley use of prosaic anecdotes can be identified with the common man of any decade, “the bustling man… who is asked to solve the problems of other people and neglect his own.” “People respect laziness.” In this statement, indolence’s character is established and given an irrefutable, and admirable reputation. Everything knows about laziness, but this essay rather done condoning it, celebrates this human trait by exclaiming how the happiest men are often the laziest. Morley uses articulate vocabulary in his diction, using the eloquence of his speech to manipulate the audience into believing that the subject to whom he presents is as sophisticated and intelligent as his language.
Christopher Morley further achieves his purpose by employing rhetorical effect, the means of persuasive speech that is established through linguistic appeals, logos- logic; ethos- character; and pathos emotion; Christopher emphasizes on the two latter rhetoric aspects, ethos and pathos. “Doctor Johnson, who was one if the greatest philosophers, was lazy.” Simply by mentioning the title, “Doctor”, Morley immediately establishes credibility, because who wouldn’t trust a doctor? Also, it is noticeable to see how Morley instantly links philosophy with laziness, inspiring a type of revered thoughtfulness that is linked with philosophers.
Additionally, the “immortal Biography,” just like the Bible or the Torah or the Quran, merely capitalizing a letter creates a reverence relatable to sacred texts.
“One should be careful to distinguish laziness from dignified repose.” Through quoting the words of O. Henry, the essayist further establishes ethos, connecting his own concept in a shared conviction with that a famous and talented writer. “On Laziness” also appeals to pathos in some of society’s most desired objectives, enlightenment, happiness, and relaxation. In an almost marketing sales- esque pitch, the writer implies that one’s state of torpor, which is attainable into any human psyche, can guarantee these qualities.
Christopher Morley’s essay, “On Laziness,” rebuttals the dubiousness purpose of languor, showing the audience how this subject can eliminate the stress and trouble in our lives, by simply expanding on what we’ve naturally experienced and long for once again. This syntax of this document appeals to some of denizen’s longing to become enlightenment philosophers, laziness being such an enticing road to becoming so without actually doing any walking. The “acquired laziness,” though matter how much of an oxymoron it may sound like, is by Morley’s definition, a determined way of life, not by lack of strength or resolution, but as a premeditated choice.