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Author Topic: Comparative LA | Marriage Equality  (Read 1042 times)  Share 

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Zues

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Comparative LA | Marriage Equality
« on: November 16, 2014, 03:18:47 pm »
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Hey everyone! just a language analysis i did for practice before my unit 2 exams - if someone can provide some feedback that would be awesome!! (couldnt find the article, sorry  :( )
.........

The perennial issue of same-sex marriage laws has sparked a fiery debate in the media. While some people argue that same-sex marriage is a human right, others argue that same-sex marriage compromises the traditional idea of marriage between men and women, and thus same-sex marriage laws should not be allowed. Tennis legend and publically recognised lesbian Martina Navratilova employs a solemn and balanced tone in her opinion piece (Herald Sun, 27 January 2012) which contends that same-sex marriage laws should not be denied as all people, whether straight or homosexual, should be given the same rights. Brendan Minge’s letter to the editor (The Australian, 10 April 2012), by contrast, maintains a critical tone that gay marriage is not a right as it destroys the traditional view of marriage between men and women.

The headline to the Navratilova piece ‘Don’t deny us same-sex marriage laws’, creates a sense of an emotional plea that sets the very personal tone of the start of her piece. The headline’s use of the pronoun “us” immediately positions the reader to understand that Navratilova is homosexual, and thus that she is herself personally affected by restrictions in marriage laws, lending her piece the credibility of first-hand experience. The word “deny” implies injustice; that homosexual people are being denied a right, hence causing readers to be concerned for the victims of this perceived injustice. The overtones of segregation that carry through in the headline are juxtaposed, however, with the accompanying image – a row of paper doll cutouts holding hands. The cutouts show pairs of females and pairs of males holding hands – a symbol of unity – standing in front of a warm, sun-like glow (perhaps signifiying a ‘new dawn’ of tolerance or acceptance). The paper cutouts are roughly cut and irregularly shaped, suggesting they were cut by a child, and possibly therefore also an allusion to the innocent acceptance that children often have of difference.

Navratilova begins by asserting that giving marriage rights to gays and lesbians is a “human rights issue” and that “it is about equal rights and protection under the law for all human beings”. This direct appeal to justice seeks to persuade readers that denying marriage to homosexuals is a denial of a human right that everybody is entitled to have, hence the reader is left to feel that homosexuals are being unfairly treated. Furthermore, Navratilova informs the reader that “there are more than 1000 different protection laws” in the U.S. that apply automatically to couples who marry. The use of the number “1000” serves to magnify the sense of injustice for gay couples who do not benefit from these laws. The author concludes, in absolutist terms that seek to eliminate any question in the reader’s mind, that this is “discrimination, pure and simple.”

Moreover, Navratilova argues that a society that is “about strong families” ought to seek to provide equal protection for children of gay and lesbian relationships. This appeal to logic is underscored by her use of a rhetorical question that asks whether children of gay couples should “suffer emotionally and also financially from this injustice”. Her use of children in this debate aims to appeal to the sympathy of the reader, as children are frequently perceived to be innocent victims of injustice.

Subsequently, Navratilova shifts from a saddened and disappointed tone to an accusatory tone, in attacking religious objections to gay marriage as a tradition of condoning injustice. She utilises negative phrases to describe how the Bible has been used – she claims – to “justify slavery”, “deny men of colour the right to vote”, and “to deny women the right to vote”. The negative connotations of these accusations portray religious “fundamentalists” as advocates of unacceptable injustice and prejudice. In stating that these fundamentalists “have been on the wrong side of history over and over again”, Navratilova seeks to position the reader  - by contrast – as wanting to feel themselves to be on the right side of history by disregarding religious objections to gay marriage as yet another characteristic act of injustice.

Finally, Navratilova ends by regarding “Australia as one of the best countries in the world, a democracy striving to be just”. This appeal to the patriotism of the reader through use of positive connotations in the words “best”, “democracy” and “just” evokes a sense of responsibility in readers that passing same-sex marriage laws is “just” and a sense of pride that doing this would make us recognised as “a nation that has historically been ahead of the world when it comes to human rights”.

While Navratilova argues that same-sex marriage should not be denied, thereby appealing to the progressive sympathies of the reader, Minge takes an opposing, conservative view that same-sex marriage is an unnecessary threat to the traditions and values that marriage stands for.

Minge opens by posing a rhetorical question asking readers why encouraging homosexual relationships should be accepted when “the consequences are so harmful?” The assumption implied in this question – that the consequences are “harmful” – positions the author as somehow authoritative on the issue and appeals to the reader’s sense of fear that encouraging homosexual marriage will inevitably lead to harmful consequences.

Minge follows this assertion with a further claim that destroying the “traditional idea of a marriage between a man and woman” will invite more changes. This attempt to appeal to the traditional cultural values of the reader is coupled with a ‘slippery slope’ implication that gay marriage will act as a catalyst for further changes. Minge does not specify what these changes would be, which is perhaps an intentional appeal to the reader’s fear of the unknown, thus making us feel inclined to stick to the “traditional ideas” and values that we have grown up to believe in, and with which we are familiar.
Furthermore, Minge asks, “Once you start smashing, where do you stop?” This rhetorical question evokes a sense of fear among readers suggesting that a small change to traditional values of marriage will only bring more changes which cannot be stopped. The negative connotations of the word “smashing” aims to present an image in the reader’s mind that the advocates of same-sex marriage are irrational and dangerous, intent on destroying values and traditions. His use of the colloquial 2nd person voice in this question – the use of the pronoun “you” as opposed to the more formal and correct “one” or the more inclusive “we” – not only assists in making him seem more down-to-earth and relatable, it seeks to force the reader to imagine themselves in this imagery of a dangerous, volatile destroyer of values – an unfitting image we are naturally inclined to reject, thereby rejecting the idea of gay marriage at the same time.

Minge ends by asserting that “all children need male and female role models”. The absolutist nature of  the words “all children” and “need” suggests to readers that same-sex marriage is a violation of the protection of children – an infringement on their basic developmental requirements. Furthermore, Minge concludes that “same-sex marriage is only dragging us down a path to national grief”. He is here drawing the reader into his own position through the use of the inclusive pronoun “us”, and unites himself with the reader in a patriotic appeal  that we, together, avoid “dragging” our nation towards “grief” by opposing same-sex  marriage.

In arguing for same-sex marriage laws, Navratilova’s opinion piece is likely to appeal to progressive Australian readers, though not necessarily younger readers; given her own position as a former tennis star of the 1980s, her fame may not sway younger readers of her piece. It seeks to appeal to the reader’s sense of justice as well as logic, advancing the case that a denial of same-sex marriage laws is simply a denial of human rights. In contrast, Minge’s letter to the editor is likely to appeal to a more conservative, possibly older reader; those who are in favour of upholding traditional beliefs that marriage should only involve men and women. Navratilova’s subdued but balanced tone throughout the article ensures that her viewpoint appeals to common sense and connects with the idea of human rights; however, Minge’s use of rhetorical questioning and absolutist language creates a fear of compromising traditional cultural values, which is likely to appeal to people who view the traditional values of marriage as sacrosanct. The issue of same-sex marriage is fast gaining acceptance within the community. While passing same-sex laws has made little progress in Australia, in some other countries, marriage equality laws are readily being passed, and it remains to be seen whether Australia will follow suit.

DJA

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Re: Comparative LA | Marriage Equality
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 06:51:00 pm »
+5
Key for Marked essay
Comments
Additions/Edits

The perennial issue of same-sex marriage laws has sparked a fiery debate in the media. While some people argue that same-sex marriage is a human right, others argue that same-sex marriage compromises the traditional idea of marriage between men and women, and thus same-sex marriage laws should not be allowed. Tennis legend and publically recognised lesbian Martina Navratilova employs a solemn and balanced tone in her opinion piece (Herald Sun, 27 January 2012) which contends that same-sex marriage laws should not be denied as all people, whether straight or homosexual, should be given the same rights. Brendan Minge’s letter to the editor (The Australian, 10 April 2012), by contrast, maintains a critical tone that gay marriage is not a right as it destroys the traditional view of marriage between men and women.Strong introduction overall. Flags key points nicely - I would put a target audience in maybe but that's a minor quibble

The headline to the Navratilova piece ‘Don’t deny us same-sex marriage laws’, creates a sense of an emotional plea <-What emotion are you talking about here. When analysing emotional appeals, try and SPECIFY which emotion is being appealed to rather than being generalist. that sets the very personal tone of the start of her piece. The headline’s use of the pronoun “us” immediately positions the reader to understand that Navratilova is homosexual, <-Seems a tad too definitive  ;) Phrase it differently - you can't determine for certain her sexuality, as the 'us' could be simply for rhetorical effect.   and thus that she is herself personally affected by restrictions in marriage laws, lending her piece the credibility of first-hand experience. The word “deny” implies injustice;, this word suggesting that homosexual people are being denied a right, hence causing and in this way positioning readers to be concerned for the victims of this perceived injustice. The overtones of segregation that carry through in the headline are juxtaposed, however, with the accompanying image – a row of paper doll cutouts holding hands. The cutouts show pairs of females and pairs of males holding hands – a symbol of unity – standing in front of a warm, sun-like glow (perhaps signifiying a ‘new dawn’ of tolerance or acceptance). The paper cutouts are roughly cut and irregularly shaped, suggesting they were cut by a child, and possibly therefore also an allusion to the innocent acceptance that children often have of difference. <-Good analysis but where is the INTENDED EFFECT. Remember LA is all about analysing language and its effect on the reader.Also maybe a minor quibble, but a topic sentence should cover the 'chunk'/'section' you are analysing. Here, you switch to the image to analyse halfway through this paragraph but only focussed on the headline in topic sentence. Not as sharp as it could be because of this.

Navratilova begins by asserting that giving marriage rights to gays and lesbians is a “human rights issue” and that “it is about equal rights and protection under the law for all human beings”. This direct appeal to justice seeks to persuade readers that denying marriage to homosexuals is a denial of a human right that everybody is entitled to have, hence the <-This sentence construction feels a bit clumsy. reader is left to feel that homosexuals are being unfairly treated. Rewrite: This direct appeal to justice positions readers to view the denial of marriage to homosexuals as a denial of a basic human right, in an attempt spur them on to take action against this injustice. Furthermore, Navratilova informs the reader that “there are more than 1000 different protection laws” in the U.S. that apply automatically to couples who marry. The use of the number “1000” serves to magnify the sense of injustice for gay couples who do not benefit from these laws. The author concludes, in absolutist terms that seek to eliminate any question in the reader’s mind, that this is “discrimination, pure and simple.” Good overall.

Moreover, Navratilova argues that a society that is “about strong families” ought to seek to provide equal protection for children of gay and lesbian relationships. This appeal to logic rational and logical argument is underscored by her use of a rhetorical question that asks whether children of gay couples should “suffer emotionally and also financially from this injustice”. Her use of children in this debate aims to appeal to the sympathy of the reader, as children are frequently perceived to be innocent victims of injustice, in this way encouraging the reader to protect these vulnerable members of society. <- Again I've added the SPECIFIC INTENDED EFFECT which you left out here.

Subsequently, Navratilova shifts from a saddened and disappointed tone to an accusatory tone one that is more accusatory, in attacking religious objections to gay marriage as a tradition of condoning injustice. She utilises negative phrases to describe how the Bible has been used – she claims – to “justify slavery”, “deny men of colour the right to vote”, and “to deny women the right to vote”. The negative connotations of these accusations portray religious “fundamentalists” as advocates of unacceptable injustice and prejudice. In stating that these fundamentalists “have been on the wrong side of history over and over again”, Navratilova seeks to position the reader  - by contrast – as wanting to feel themselves to be on the right side of history by disregarding religious objections to gay marriage as yet another characteristic act of injustice. <- This is fine but you could definitely streamline this through more succinct expression. Have a look here I'll re-write a bit (Note I NOMINALISE - use nouns "use" rather than 'utilises') -> Her use of the negative connotations associated with how the Bible has been used to “justify slavery”, “deny men of colour the right to vote”, and “to deny women the right to vote” seeks to elicit an emotional response of distaste and condemnation from the reader. Through such emotions, the author positions these readers to denounce such religious objections to gay marriage as yet another characteristic act of injustice and stand up for gay rights in order to set history on its correct path rather than following religious dogma.

Finally, Navratilova ends by regarding “Australia as one of the best countries in the world, a democracy striving to be just”. This appeal to the patriotism of the reader through use of positive connotations in the words “best”, “democracy” and “just” evokes a sense of responsibility in readers that passing same-sex marriage laws is “just” and a sense of pride that doing this would make us recognised as “a nation that has historically been ahead of the world when it comes to human rights.

While Navratilova argues that same-sex marriage should not be denied, thereby appealing to the progressive sympathies of the reader, Minge takes an opposing, conservative view that same-sex marriage is an unnecessary threat to the traditions and values that marriage stands for. Minge opens by posing a rhetorical question asking readers why encouraging homosexual relationships should be accepted when “the consequences are so harmful?” The assumption implied in this question – that the consequences are “harmful” – positions the author as somehow authoritative on the issue and appeals to the reader’s sense of fear that encouraging homosexual marriage will inevitably lead to harmful consequences. I wouldn't say you need the line break - I joined these two parts. Otherwise good!

Minge follows this assertion with a further claim that destroying the “traditional idea of a marriage between a man and woman” will invite more changes. This attempt to appeal to the traditional cultural values of the reader is coupled with a ‘slippery slope’ implication that gay marriage will act as a catalyst for further changes. Minge does not specify what these changes would be, which is perhaps an intentional appeal to the reader’s fear of the unknown, thus making us feel inclined to stick to the “traditional ideas” and values that we have grown up to believe in, and with which we are familiar. very nice! Furthermore, Minge asks, “Once you start smashing, where do you stop?” This rhetorical question evokes a sense of fear among readers suggesting that a small change to traditional values of marriage will only bring more changes which cannot be stopped. The negative connotations of the word “smashing” aims to present an image in the reader’s mind that the advocates of same-sex marriage are irrational and dangerous, intent on destroying values and traditions in this way encouraging them to distance themselves from these perceived 'threats' and be hence less likely to support gay marriage.. His use of the colloquial 2nd person voice in this question – the use of the pronoun “you” as opposed to the more formal and correct “one” or the more inclusive “we” – not only assists in making him seem more down-to-earth and relatable, it seeks to force allow the reader to imagine themselves in this imagery of a dangerous, volatile destroyer of values – an unfitting image we are naturally inclined to reject, thereby rejecting the idea of gay marriage at the same time.

Minge ends by asserting that “all children need male and female role models”. The absolutist nature of  the words “all children” and “need” suggests to readers that same-sex marriage is a violation of the protection of children – an infringement on their basic developmental requirements - in an attempt to further stigmatise gay marriage. Furthermore, Minge concludes that “same-sex marriage is only dragging us down a path to national grief”. He is here drawing the reader into his own position through the use of the inclusive pronoun “us”, and unites himself with the reader in a patriotic appeal  that we, together, avoid “dragging” our nation towards “grief” by opposing same-sex  marriage.

In arguing for same-sex marriage laws, Navratilova’s opinion piece is likely to appeal to progressive Australian readers, though not necessarily younger readers; given her own position as a former tennis star of the 1980s, her fame may not sway younger readers of her piece. It seeks to appeal to the reader’s sense of justice as well as logic, advancing the case that a denial of same-sex marriage laws is simply a denial of human rights. In contrast, Minge’s letter to the editor is likely to appeal to a more conservative, possibly older reader; those who are in favour of upholding traditional beliefs that marriage should only involve men and women. Navratilova’s subdued but balanced tone throughout the article ensures that her viewpoint appeals to common sense and connects with the idea of human rights; however, Minge’s use of rhetorical questioning and absolutist language creates a fear of compromising traditional cultural values, which is likely to appeal to people who view the traditional values of marriage as sacrosanct. The issue of same-sex marriage is fast gaining acceptance within the community. While passing same-sex laws has made little progress in Australia, in some other countries, marriage equality laws are readily being passed, and it remains to be seen whether Australia will follow suit.
Long conclusion - you really don't need it to be this long - 3 short sentences is fine. But otherwise good

Hey there! Very nice work - strong overall I'd probably give this a 8/10 (note I'm marking you from a year 12 perspective so may be a bit harsh :). The biggest thing you can do to bump this up to the upper levels of marks is to always explain the specific intended effect!

Your analysis is spot-on - really great in places - but often you stop short of explaining WHAT IT DOES TO THE READER and FOR WHAT REASON. Remember, language analysis is all about how the reader/audience is positioned. Also try to specify more specific target audiences if possible. You'' note that most of my additions in blue/re-writes all focus on adding specific intended effects of what you analysed.

Keep up the great work and you'll be set for next year! Hope this helps and good luck for your exams!
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