Essay on Breakdown of the Booze-Age Debate

Essay on Breakdown of the Booze-Age Debate

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“Hey, you want a beer?” Many high school and college students are asked this question when they go out to parties and are faced with an internal conflict: whether to give in to peer influence and drink or to abide by the law and say no. Some people feel that this law, criminalizing alcoholic intake for those under the age of 21, is somewhat overbearing, while others feel that lowering the drinking age would prove to be disastrous. As with any controversial issue, it can be hard to know who to side with, since there are so many evidence-based articles that disprove each other. Luckily, there’s a pretty simple way that you can overcome this — by analyzing who wrote the article, why they wrote it, who it was written for, and the author’s limitations in writing it; these elements are collectively referred to as the rhetorical situation. Understanding and applying this idea is essential because it allows you to be able to separate fact from opinion and get a true feel for the author’s words. This ability is especially important for you, as high school seniors, to both aid in the college transition and to develop your critical reading skills.
The first question to ask when you read an article is the one with the most obvious answer: “Who wrote this?” This is the rhetor, and it has two parts: the author, the one who actually sat down to write the piece and whose name’s at the top of the page; and the others, those that helped the author by adding to their argument through evidence or support (Grant-Davie 269). As high school students preparing to enter the wonderful world of college research papers, it’s important to understand who’s making the points you reference in your own work, and you can do that by analyzing the rhetors. An exam...

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...assroom, critical reading allows you to avoid the traps set by many arguers to get unmerited support. Though I don’t know when the legal drinking age will be lowered, if ever, I do know one thing for certain — understanding rhetorical situations will help you separate fact from fluff in any piece of writing or reporting on the topic.

Works Cited
Cloud, John. “Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered?” TIME. Time Inc., 6 Jun. 2008. Web. 9 Sep. 2013.
Grant-Davie, Keith. “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.” Rhetoric Review 15.2 (Spring 1997): 266-70. Print.
Shields, Wade. “Lowering Drinking Age Can Help Promote Safer Habits.” The Daily Wildcat. The Arizona Daily Wildcat, 3 Sep. 2013. Web. 9 Sep. 2013.
Ziskind, Jeremy. “Pro & Con Arguments: "Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?".”, 6 Aug. 2013. Web. 9 Sep. 2013.

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