The essay “Television: The Plug-In Drug” by Marie Winn describes how the first generation of television viewers imagined this new invention would revolutionize the home front. Winn moves on to emphasize how important the television has actually come to families, however not necessarily for the best. Winn continues with excerpts from mothers, teachers, professional therapists, and a host of different types of people describing how a television has become too controlling in modern families. After describing each excerpt Winn summarizes stating that television is destroying families by taking opportunities from families to interact normally. The essay uses many different devices of writing to emphasize the author’s point of view, and lead the readers to believe her analysis is correct.
Winn establishes ethos in the beginning of the essay by discussing the early days of television. She starts the essay by introducing facts on television and quoting well known sources like The New York Times as well as not so well known sources to ensure her readers that she in knowledgeable in the given subject. She continues to build upon her ethos with the types of people she chooses to quote. Winn is writing to an audience of mothers, fathers, and parental figures, she uses quotes and statements from every type of person this audience would look to as peers or someone of high reputes. If you were to read an article written by your child’s teacher telling you something you would probably not question much due to the fact that you have already have a rapport with this person. This technique is used throughout the entire writing, every account is from someone you might know or talk to on a daily basis. By choosing people that the designated audience would feel a connection to Winn automatically has more credibility with the readers than if she were to make the argument on her own merit. After the first time reading through the essay I agreed with Winn somewhat strongly, when reading the article a second time her argument is nowhere near as strong after realizing why she chose to quote the individuals she did. Winn plays on the parental concerns of readers to give her argument a skeletal structure while filling in the fatty tissues with her own reflections.
Winn uses Irony in the paper when she used multiple quotes describing the benefits of televisions in homes from early analysis of the device, although giving the exact opposite opinion of her own. She continues by stating that the people she quoted could never have seen the hazardous change in life style due to the television and twists these quotes to her own advantage. She frames these quotes in such an ironic manner that they become the platform for her jumping off point to begin talking about her own sentiments on the subject. Winn continues the Irony to the end of the essay when quoting the book Television and the Quality of Life by stating that the more time families spend together watching television left those families feeling unchallenged and passively engaged as a whole, and all together less satisfied. (Winn 465)
Winn appeals to the pathos of her readers with the argument that television destroys family interactions. After giving a statistic about families watching television while eating in different rooms Winn questions “When do they get to be a real family?” (464) this appeal leaves readers thinking the same of their own families, and making a sympathetic connection to the material. When making a pathos related appeal there are several subjects that automatically strike some sort of spark that ignites readers, of those family is in my opinion one of them. The appeal to pathos is clichï¿½d however unavoidable in this essay due to the fact that the author is discussing the destruction of the family, and social interactions in families. I am glad Winn did not use the pathos appeal more than she did as it is highly overused in today’s age of starving children in Africa, and every non-profit organization asking for something. If she would have used this ploy any more in the essay I wouldn’t have been able to finish it.
Depner, J 3
Repetition is used by Winn in this essay to continually drive home the fact that television is harming families. She states that television is not the only factor harming families; however she attributes a very large part of the problem to it. It seems that Winn is constantly accusing the parents for how their children have become addicted to television, and in some cases have addicted the parents as well. Winn states that “…the medium’s dominant role in the family serves to anesthetize parents into accepting their family’s diminished state and prevents them from struggling to regain some of the richness the family once possessed.” (465) In most cases the parents are to blame for letting their children be raised by a television, or watching a cumulative of hundreds of thousands of hours of programing just because a child wanted to, however what about the parents who couldn’t tell their children to turn off the television because they were at work? Shouldn’t the child be held responsible for part of their actions in choosing to watch so much programing?
Winn used many Different writing techniques to emphasize her points in the essay, some well-placed others with a bit more routine use. I found the essay a bit too pushy in regards to making the authors point of view stick, however setting aside the author’s point of view the article was quite informative and well structured.