Both articles provided a very different standpoint as to how one can achieve happiness. In Ginny Graves’ article, it talks about gaining happiness from self-reflection whereas in Ruth Whippman’s article, one can achieve happiness through social interaction. After analysing and comparing the two articles, I am inclined towards Graves’ article in providing a more persuasive case in search of happiness. This is based on the external sources, personal statements and statistics in the article.
There are more credible external sources used to support Graves’ article compared to Whippman’s article. Graves used a stronger appeal of ethos as she quoted relevant authorities in her article. Some examples include Mallika Chopra, who is the founder of Intent.com and author as well as Martha Beck who is a life coach, sociologist and author (Grave, 2017). The two sources that Grave cited are of relevant experts in the area of study and this shows that she made persistent efforts in supporting the facts. Whereas Whippman, who is an author herself, hardly substantiate her article with external sources. Instead, the article is mainly supported by her own knowledge and expertise in the area as she claimed to spent some time “researching and writing a book about happiness” (para 4) (Whippman, 2017). Therefore, readers would most likely be inclined towards Graves’ article as hers provided several credible and reliable external sources as evidence in the article.
Secondly, it would be the use of personal statements, which helps to relate better to the audience. Unlike Graves’ article which mostly used external sources to support her article, Whippman used a stronger appeal of pathos instead. She started with her own personal experience and even included her own feelings into the article such as “jolt of excitement” and “snarl bitterly” (para 2). This allowed readers to clearly imagine how she was feeling at that point of time and also helps to connect with her readers. In addition, Whippman used a lot of “I” in her statements, which lets readers into her own thoughts and this adds a personal touch to her article.
On the other hand, Graves’ article hardly had personal statements. However, Graves did connect with the readers by engaging them to reflect at the start by saying “You just closed on the house of your dreams” and “your Facebook post is blowing up with likes” (para 1). Using rhetorical statements engages the audience and evokes emotions, hence also connecting to her readers (Dlugan, 2012).
Lastly, it would be based on the statistics quoted in the article. Although Whippman did quote from figures from the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Time Use Survey, her other sources are not as credible. For example, she mentioned “according to research” (para 14) and “study after study” (para 13), but did not specify where and what the research is about. There was no specific source for the study and research, thus making it very ambiguous. In addition, Whippman also mentioned in a survey sampled, “people across the board consistently report themselves as happier when they are around other people” (para 14). However, there were no facts and figures to support it and she did not mention the source as well. Moreover, Whippman added the fact that disregarding social connections would have a higher chance of premature death. However, there was no link made towards how it contributes to happiness and she added that “the most significant thing we can do for our well-being” is to spend more time “nurturing the relationships we have with the people in our lives” (para 15). Although well-being can be implied as happiness but the term ‘well-being’ includes other factors such as health, comfort and prosperity (n.a, 2016). Thus, having social connections does not imply that one can achieve happiness.
Moreover, Graves also substantiated her article with statistics and figures. She quoted from “a 2016 study at Michigan State University” which affirmed that “a 20-minute guided session, meditation novices” (para 8) helped to better manage negative emotions, in order to achieve happiness. Graves also mentioned that “stress reduces serotonin, the brain chemical linked to happiness” (para 4) as she quoted from Robert Lustig, who is the author of the book The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains.
Therefore, I think there is a stronger appeal of logos in Graves’ article due to the shortcomings of Whippman’s.
Both articles are written targeting different audiences. ‘Health’ is targeted towards health-conscious people whereas ‘The New York Times’ targets the general public. Considering this in mind, I feel that Graves presented a more persuasive case for the audience through the use of both arguments and evidence. With proper credible sources and references to statistics, Graves was more persuasive in terms of ethos and logos, as opposed to Whippman, who appealed to pathos.
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Dulgan, A. (2012, November 4). How to Use Rhetorical Questions in Your Speech. Six Minutes. Retrieved on 27 January 2018 from http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/rhetorical-questions/
Grave, G. (2017, June 6). The Secret to Deeper Happiness Is Simpler Than You Might Think. Health. Retrieved on 24 January 2018 from http://www.health.com/mind-body/find-deeper-happiness
N,a. (2016, May 31). Well-being concepts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on 27 January 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm
Whippman, R. (2017, October 27). Happiness Is Other People. The New York Times. Retrieved on 24 January 2018 from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/opinion/sunday/happiness-is-other- people.html