It’s really interesting – after re-reading this essay, I read it from such an analytical standpoint, that I really found myself questioning the author a lot more, rather than trusting her as credible figure. Looking back at my notes I notice spots where I wrote: “strong diction” or “sounds biased”. Comparing this to my previous thoughts I had, I notice that these thoughts are analyzing more than just the argument – I am reading on a deeper level, and I am analyzing how the argument works. In my DSP placement essay, I simply stated that I agreed with Ripley, and then I followed my three point thesis, and used examples from her essay to basically summarize the essay. If I were to rewrite my essay now though, I know that I would analyze her diction and solve why her diction makes it so easy to believe her argument against high school sports. Because of this I would say yes, I have become a better close reader.
As I previously mentioned, I noticed the negative diction connected to sports throughout Ripley’s essay. In addition to her word choice, Ripley’s addition of countless statements, statistics, and examples from real life situations add to the effectiveness of her argument, as they appeal to one’s sense of logic.
In general I felt as though Ripley had a negative view of the grand incorporation of high school sports into American education. For example as she talks about the history of high school sports such as football, she indirectly refers to the “haphazard way of boys” playing sports as “madness” (77). Haphazard and madness are both words that are not used to describe an activity positively. Her words made me think of craziness and well, madness. At this point I definitely started to think “huh, why are people so crazy about sports?”, which is exactly what Ripley’s intent is. Ripley believes that the high value placed on sports in America is mad, and it is hard to believe that in institutes for education, more importance is placed on athletics. Although she does not directly state her opinion, the negative ways she describes sports represent how she feels. Another example of a blunt, to the point statement is when Ripley is talking about health issues associated with sports. She states, “Some detractors questioned whether tax money should be spent on activities that could damage the brain, and occasionally leave students dead on the field” (77). The phrases “damage the brain” and “dead on the field” are as blunt as can be, and leave no room to assume that sports could be anything but dangerous. Ripley doesn’t offer statistics to back this up though, or provide a counterargument, which I do believe is a fault in her essay.
Lastly, a quote that stuck out to me was when she quotes a student saying, “It did make you focus. There was just all this extra time. You never got behind on your work” (81). This quote strengthens Ripley’s argument against sports further as it is from the perspective of a student who has actually witnessed how a school without sports can positively change. The statement from the student enhances Ripley’s paper, as it demonstrates the beneficial aspects of going to a high school where there are no sports. Ripley includes other quotes such as this one in her essay, which are either in favor of less sports, or very pro education.
I like Ripley’s essay, although I feel as though it is biased. Her diction is very helpful to her argument though. On the other hand, I feel as if she could have analyzed her evidence further, which would have enhanced her argument. I felt as though some of her essay was just summarizing, or quoting people.