The Childless Revolution
English 111 #27074
“The Childless Revolution” and “The Second Shift”
In the essay “The Childless Revolution” by Madelyn Cain, Cain argues against the negative stereotypes associated with the number of women who choose to be childless. She gives the reader an exact idea of what she is discussing by using specific numbers and statistics to prove her point that all women do not have children to be accepted into society. In her work titled “The Second Shift” the author, Sylvia Hewlett, argues that even successful married women still do the majority of the domestic housework. In Hewlett’s essay, she also uses statistics and percentages to give the reader a better idea of exactly how much housework an average wife does compared to the average husband. Although these two essays are on two different topics concerning families and personal relationships, the authors use similar writing approaches to appeal to the reader and get their points across. Both of these authors use different techniques and approaches to appeal to the reader on an emotional, motivational, and physical levels.
In “The Childless Revolution” Cain uses ethos to form a relationship with the reader. In order to do this Cain uses direct quotes from outside sources including Oprah Winfrey and the U.S Census Bureau to show the reader her sense of knowledge on the subject of childless women. She also shows a sense of fairness when she explains that she believes it is uncalled for to have a stereotype on women. Cain says “More women than ever are choosing a life that does not conform to the old standard. The time has come to absorb into our consciousness a new version of femaleness, one that is predicated on the measure of a woman’s character, not on the issue of her body (490).” Cain also shows a sense of fairness toward the reader when she argues for her view on the issue of childless women but can also see why the opposing view could be correct as well. Cain uses language to reach out to women who are married, women with children, wives and mothers, and women who want to be wives and have children in the future.
Similar to Cain, Hewlett also uses the strategy of ethos in her essay “The Second Shift.” Hewlett uses exact percentages to show the reader her knowledge of the topic rather than using people and outside sources as Cain did. She shows the reader a sense of fairness by giving percentages from all aspects of the topic meaning she gives percentages from different duties and household chores that women do as opposed to men. Cain states that “Fifty percent of married, high-achieving women assume prime responsibility for meal preparation-only 9 percent of their husbands/partners take prime responsibility for this task. Fifty-six percent of these women take prime responsibility for doing laundry; only 10 percent of husbands take care of this task (505).” Hewlett uses language and diction to appeal to women who are married as well as husbands/partners to try and make them aware of the unequal balance of domestic housework among women and men.
In “The Childless Revolution” Cain uses the rhetorical strategy of pathos to connect with the reader on an emotional and motivational level. She expresses her values when she argues that women should have the right to choose whether or not they want to have children. Cain goes on to say that many women today want to get high paying jobs and make money rather than have children and raise a family. Cain says “…those who do not want children should not have them (489) in order to express to the reader that she feels women have the right to choose whether or not they want a child. Cain uses words such as “greater” “dramatic” “advanced” and “increase” to emphasize the key points that she makes so that way the reader understands the importance of what she is saying. Cain motivates the reader by appealing to women. Cain encourages women to choose the path that they want to take when it comes to the decision of whether or not a woman wants to have children.
Sylvia Hewlett also connects with the reader on an emotional and motivational level through the use of pathos in her essay “The Second Shift.” Hewlett expresses her values on the topic of domestic housework when she argues that women do too much housework while men barely do any. She believes that household chores should be evenly distributed. Hewlett motivates the reader by giving exact percentages to show the unequal distribution of male and female house chores. She motivates women to go out and let their husbands know that from now on household tasks will be equally accounted for. Hewlett uses words such as “high-achieving” “more” “only” and “slightly” to allow the reader to realize the disproportionate balance of household chores. Hewlett uses these words to compare men to women and to make women aware of all of the work that they are doing as opposed to their husbands.
Madelyn Cain uses the logos rhetorical strategy to represent logic and proofs in her essay “The Childless Revolution.” Cain uses both inductive and deductive reasoning to convince the reader that her overall claim is correct. Cain uses inductive reasoning when she quotes “According to the U.S Census Bureau, in 1993 there were 34.9 million American families that were childless and only 33.3 million families with a child under the age of 18 (488).” Cain uses this example to prove to the reader that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of childless women over the past 30 years. Cain also uses deductive reasoning throughout her essay. For example, Cain quotes David Pearce Snyder from The Futurist Magazine “Our reasons for having children have changed over time. Whereas in earlier days children were needed to support a family, social safety nets have taken care of those needs (489).” By quoting another person, Cain shows the reader that the principle of her claim is also accepted by other people. Cain convinces the reader that not only she believes what she is arguing, but others also believe the same thing.
Sylvia Hewlett also uses the rhetorical strategy of logos to create logics and proofs to allow the reader to understand and believe her claims. Hewlett also uses inductive reasoning to lead the reader to the conclusion using examples of the claim she is trying to prove. For example, Hewlett quotes “…8 percent of older husbands take care of the laundry, compared to 13 percent of younger husbands (505).” Hewlett uses this quote to support her claim that younger husbands do more than older husbands. By using this quote to support her claim, Hewlett is convincing the reader that what she is saying is correct. Hewlett also uses deductive reasoning which uses principles that lead to the overall conclusion. For example, Hewlett states in the first sentence that “high achieving women continue to carry the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities (505).” By saying this Hewlett is laying down the principle of her discussion. Hewlett allows the reader to be aware of what idea she is going to argue for and it creates the readers mindset for the rest of the essay. Hewlett uses statistics to appeal to the reader by supporting her main ideas with percentages from well known sources. For example, Hewlett states that “…43 percent of older, high achieving women, and 37 percent of younger high achieving women feel that their husbands create more work for them around the house than they contribute (506).” Hewlett uses these percentages to show the reader that women do more work around the house then men.
In the “The Childless Revolution” by Madelyn Cain as well as the essay titled “The Second Shift” by Sylvia Hewlett, both of the authors use the three rhetorical strategies to support their argument and claims. Ethos, pathos and logos are all used in both of these essays but gone about by the authors in different ways. While Hewlett’s essay is mainly directed around quotes to pull the reader in and make them agree with her argument, Cain’s essay is mainly on the author’s opinion and trying to make the reader agree with her view on the topic of childless women. Overall, both essays use good approaches to draw the reader into the essay and make them agree with the argument at hand.