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Rhetorical Precis Essay

In “The Organization Kid”, an article published in The Atlantic Monthly in April of 2001, David Brooks discusses the willing conformism and social subservience of the educational elite and reinforces his points through usage of a heavily pathos-based timeline, quotes, textual examples and statistics. Brooks’ examples are both well structured and particularly effective.

He compartmentalizes his arguments, shows instances of change over time and directly and effectively targets the emotions of his audience. Brooks’ masterful usage of tactics and strategies such as this makes the narrative quite effective in terms of emphasizing his main goal: drawing attention to the growing trend of willing subservience amongst the educational elite. Brooks’ statement is indeed quite relevant in reference to major issues in ever-changing modern society.


* Prudential – Involving or showing care and forethought, typically in business. * Sacrosanct – Regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with. * Meritocratic – Government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability. * Nihilism – The rejection of all religious and moral principals, often in the belief that life is meaningless. * Ganglia – A structure containing a number of nerve cell bodies, typically linked by synapses, and often forming a swelling on a nerve fiber.


* Critical * Analytic * Factual * Condemnatory

Rhetorical Strategies

* Hyperbole – “soul crushing” * Asyndeton – “there are pesticides on our fruit, cigarettes in the school yards, rocks near the bike paths, kidnappers in the woods.” * Alliteration – “Baby Boomers” * Personification – “the argument speaks” * Simile – “like flies to a light”

Discussion Questions

* Clarification – Why does the author draw different conclusions regarding societal issues at the end of the narrative than he at the beginning? * Style – Does the writer’s style of citing sometimes-unrelated information to support his argument act as beneficial or detrimental in regards to emphasizing his points?

* Application – While the author certainly made his perceived issues with today’s society quite clear, he never exactly expanded on what he would do to repair it. What do you believe would be the best course of action to take to restore the missing sense of the “ultimate challenge” and “ultimate reward”?

Important Quotation “The most sophisticated people in preceding generations were formed by their struggle to break free from something. The most sophisticated people in this one aren’t.”

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