Across the nation, thousands of students ranging from elementary to college levels are sent back to their place of residence after a long day of lectures with work they must complete in order to be prepared for the next day of class. For younger students, the load is minimal, and may only consist of reviewing their vocabulary words. However, for students in high school and beyond, their backpacks are stretching at the seams with books to read, notes to study, papers to write, projects to complete.
While many will ignore their responsibilities to focus on their extracurriculars, headstrong students with a yearn for learning will set their sights on their assignments and stay cooped up at a desk for hours upon hours in order to comprehend every last drop of information they can. Unfortunately, these bright, young minds are discriminated against in society and are cast to the bottom of the social standards. This is the stereotypical image of American education, however author Leonid Fridman argues that this is, in fact, a reality that needs to be addressed and changed in order to ensure a better future for the nation.
In order to convince his American audience to change their views on these so-called “nerds” and “geeks”, Fridman incorporates compare and contrast, language, and rhetorical strategies into his writing. First, Fridman provides examples to support his claim by using the strategy compare and contrast. By providing examples that both support and give a two-sided perspective on the topic, the author succeeds in accurately delivering an academically backed argument as to why “america needs its nerds”. To show, Fridman compares the United States of America with countries in the Eastern hemisphere.
In East Asia, the article says, a student who studies hard and succeeds academically is held up on a pedestal to be adulated and viewed as an example for their peers. In America, contrastingly, a student who is a starathlete, actor, or vocalist often overshadows the student who assiduously strives for intellectual gain. In the same sense, adults in the United States who chose a profession in athletics are greatly more respected and paid than the ones who work in the best universities and groom the minds of the upcoming generations, while in many foreign nations becoming a professor is the most idolized and highly regarded career.
The use of comparing the United States to oversea nations sparks a nerve in the aimed audience of Fridman’s article-the American public. As a nation, Americans pride themselves as being an “advanced nation” who often is the prime example of civilization. However, when compared closely to nations such as China, Japan, ect. , it opens public eyes to how much America still has to learn. In addition, it suggests that America is not as far along as believed, and reform is still needed in aspects such as education.
To become back “on top”, the american people must start to take the advice of the the world around them; promote education, reward your “nerds”, reward your “geeks”, because these are who will be able to lift the nation in a new, positive direction. Secondly, Fridman effectively used language, such as diction, devices, and definitions, to appeal to his audience and persuade them to change and accept his point of view. He presents his argument with both literary and figurative devices, and they assists in presenting the evidence in an eloquent manner that captures the reader’s attention.
By carefully choosing his words, the author was able to form a bond that linked the reader to the overall message. For example, Fridman enticed his readers sense of pathos by using the word “ostracized” repeatedly in the selection. The word means to be excluded from society, and therefore reflects how today’s mainstream social standards often discriminate against the intellectual. Most of those affected by this social injustice know what it feels like to have to put on a facade for fear of being an outcast, and as a result, american students often will never live up to their full potential.
Furthermore, the selection refers to “derogatory terms like nerd and geek” that personally affect those at the end of the target. By definition, the term “geek” is recorded as a street performer who entertains the people by biting the heads off of live chickens. How can a student with a driven mindset for knowledge be compared to a freak show? Nerd and geek are used in order to degrade those who achieve success in academics, and make them feel inferior to the “jocks” who are stereotypical to use the phrases.
Fridman reminds the reader that “nerds are ostracised while athletes are idolized” (line 17), and there is no shortcutting this accuracy. When the football team wins a game, they are given all the glory-high fives from civilians, pep rallies, parades-however, when is the last time you heard about the destination imagination success? The academic team? The phrase hits home to many students across the nation who continue to receive the short end of the stick, and it can be taken to heart.
Without the school support, how can anyone be expected to willingly strive for what seems like a pointless goal? These students keep going because they are smart enough to recognize that, for them, the true reward comes with an acceptance letter and a cap and gown. In this inference from such a simple phrase from Fridman, he struck the pathos of the individuals in his audience. Continuing, he also related to the appeal of logos in his writing as well. He attracts his readers sense of logic by stating, “Although most students try to keep up their success” (line 14).
School is a job, and in a job everyone tries to perform to the best of their ability. It is clear that students would want to do the same, and by stating the obvious Fridman is able to grab the reader’s attention before continuing in his thought. In the same sense, by saying “-anti-intellectual values that pervade our society must be fought”, Fridman opens the door to the realignment of american priorities. Education must come first, rather than extracurriculars, in his opinion. Being a “nerd” should be a term to take pride in, and relate to every student across America.
By introducing logos and pathos in his work, Fridman is able to link his message personally to the reader, and persuade them to his views. Next, he incorporates a variety of devices in order to spice up his sentences. One of these devices used is allusion. In the third paragraph, Fridman references Harvard when describing how students often feel obligated to the need of hiding their intellect. By using Harvard as an example, this alludes to the fact that even the cream of the crop are subject to this rising issue as well.
Harvard is known for being the home of the best and brightest students in the country, yet when used as an example to show how students are ashamed to study, it displays the widespreadness of how many undergo social stress because of derogatory assumptions. The perspective is broadened from just regular high schools to include the best universities, and the issue at hand is given more depth. Additionally, Fridman uses an asyndeton in his writing to give his list a sense of endlessness, stress the contradiction, and to create a rhythm in the statement.
The asyndeton states, “Children who prefer to read books rather than play football, prefer to built model airplanes rather than get wasted at parties with their classmates, become social outcasts” (lines 20-23). By omitting the conjunctions, the list gains a tone of more to come, and it stresses the fact that society is promoting somewhat reckless behavior rather than erudite growth. Finally, Fridman forms his sentence “Enough is enough” (line 28) by using the device telegraphic syntax.
The phrase is short and to the point, and due to that a sense of urgency is felt by the reader. Fridman is demanding that society change its views, and that putting down these youths who wish to further their future in academics is wrong, and is in no way helping the generations to come. In only three words, the audience is able to infer deeper beyond what Fridman directly states. Lastly, Fridman challenges the reader to think beyond what he has laid out in front of them by using rhetorical devices.
Rhetorical devices are successful in making the reader better process the argument given and allow them to form thoughts of their own. Fridman achieved this by proposing a series of questions to his audience, such as “How can a country where typical parents are ashamed of their daughter studying mathematics instead of going dancing, or of their son reading Weber while his friends play baseball, be expected to compete in the technological race with Japan or remain a leading political and cultural force in Europe? Fridman makes a valid point, and by presenting his opinion in the form of a question, the reader is forced to ponder how American children are going to be expected to compete against strong, academic based countries. Moreover, Fridman continues to press his advance by questioning, “How long can America remain a world-class power if we constantly emphasize social skills and physical prowess over academic achievement and intellectual ability? “. With this, the reader must process that American priorities are in dire need of attention and change, and therefore form their answers to the original question.
Rhetorical devices dare the reader to think beyond their first-impressions, and to dwell and come to a conclusion on the current state of American education as compared to American social affairs. In conclusion, Fridman includes the use of compare and contrast, language, and rhetorical devices in order to convince the American audience that “America needs its nerds”. By using advanced and rival countries such as China and Japan, and comparing them to the United States, it both provides support for the author’s claim and gives a second perspective for the reader to interpret.
The use of language (diction, devices, and definitions) is effective to give the article a sense of vividness that catches the attention of the reader and persuades the audience to accept the point of view of the reader. Lastly, Fridman integrated rhetorical devices into his argument in order to compel the reader to further process the information provided, and then form their own opinions on the topic that, hopefully, correspond with the author’s.
America is currently in need of reconstruction in the department of education, and Fridman is potent in his ability to provide adequate examples to support this claim. The social divide between this stereotypical realm of high school social class boosts the confidence of those on top, however is the cause of social inequity toward the future doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s of America. If the so-called “nerds” of the country are maturing in a society that condones their learning, how can America expect to continue competing as an advanced nation in the near future?