Carol Tavris' In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics

Carol Tavris' In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics

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Carol Tavris' In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics


“In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics” is an essay about how people in groups behave together. The author of this essay believes that when people are in groups they will do nothing to help a person in distress and that they cannot think for themselves. “In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics”, by Carol Tavris was ineffective because it used logical fallacies, overused pathos, had weak references to logos, and used inductive arguments.

The author of the essay, Carol Tavris, seems to be very passionate about what she is writing. She has her doctorate in Psychology and has had her articles published in many well-known magazines. The intended audience of her essay is the general public. The purpose of this article is to inform the public that they need to stand out and use their own minds in a group setting instead of hiding in the comfort of their fellow friends and colleagues.

The essay is written to be very informal. It uses a lot of connotative language as well as a subjective point of view. The author tries to use facts to support her way of thinking, and also uses some examples and descriptions. The largest downfall to the article is her use of inductive arguments. The author uses true stories and a few case studies, at the beginning of the essay, to show how some people have acted when they are with a group of people. But, the rest of her argument is based on these few studies. She tries to argue that all groups behave as these few examples, in the essay, did. These few, rare occurrences cannot be the basis for an entire argument about how groups behave. They paint too broad of a picture.

The author mainly appeales to pathos. She tells a story of a woman being stabbed while her neighbors look on and also, of a man, named Rodney King, who was beaten by a few police offices while ten other officers looked on. These are good examples for her argument but, she uses these infrequent instances to try and sway her audience into thinking that they are common occurrences.

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She tries to say that the entire police force in Los Angeles are racist savages who go around abusing black people.

She also uses some logos, such as in paragraphs four and five, when she introduces two case studies. In the first study, they put a group of people in one room and an individual in another. The rooms were then filled with smoke. The group sat there and did nothing while the individual thought it was fire and reported it. In the second study, a group of people and an individual overheard a woman fall and start screaming. Again, the group did nothing and the individual went to see what was wrong with the woman. These are good examples of logos but, it weakens her argument because they are the only illustrations she has to show. She doesn’t tell what the other groups did in the studies. She only used information valuable to her point. It seems as though she is digging for information to prove herself right.

The author uses hasty, one-sided generalization numerous times in this essay. In paragraph three, she explains that when people get into a group they automatically loose the ability to have a mind of their own. For example, in the third sentence she says, “if they are in a group observing danger, they hold back.” Also, in the ninth paragraph, the author claims the Los Angeles Police Department are extremely racist. She proceeds to back this argument up by telling us that she knows of a black man who always gets pulled over, for no reason, and has to lie in the street “like a dog.” What she may not be telling us is that perhaps the man is a poor and reckless driver, and has to lie down because he could be acting belligerent towards the officers.

The author also uses division to prove her point. In paragraph six, she states that if anyone is with a group of people they do nothing about important or dangerous situations. She emphasizes this point, in paragraph nine, by indicating that everyone in the Los Angeles Police Department is racist, when it is probably only a certain group or a few select individuals who are.

This essay fails to sway readers into believing that when people are with groups, they don’t think for themselves. The author doesn’t do a good job of addressing the opposing views at all. What she basically used to argue her point where appeals to pathos, fallacies, and weak examples of logos. She was only able to find two feeble studies which, made her appear desperate for information to prove her point. Using the same examples of logos over and over weakened her argument. She tries to compensate by overusing pathos to get the reader more involved. Overall, the overuse of pathos and lack of credible logos created an argument that was weak and close minded.
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