Rhetorical Analysis “When Volunteerism Isn’t Normal” By Lynn Steirer

752 words - 4 pages

In l997 the author Lynn Steirer was a student at Northampton County area Community College when she wrote “When Volunteerism Isn’t Normal”. It was published in the New York Times in a forum of current issues opposite the editorial page. (515).
It is evident that her audience was the general American public which would bring about the personal opinion of the reader. She laid out her thesis in the first paragraph which definitely caught my attention. Steirer stated that the school board turned its back on the principle for which it was named, (Liberty). The students of this school were required to perform a number of mandatory volunteer service hours in order to receive their diploma.
The author’s purpose was to persuade her audience that volunteering should not be mandatory. She reviews the history of the beginning of the program that was initiated by President Clinton, who apparently believed community service should be mandatory for graduation.
The tone was set early in this essay when the author said “This forced me to make a decision”(515). She proceeded with a well planned and very courageous strategy along with two other students to refuse to submit her volunteer hours as required, thereby in disobedience to the rules. She had the support or her family and obtained the assistance of a Washington legal policy group which subsequently resulted in suing the school even though this strategy was not successful the author established ethos with credibility.
She stood by her integrity, with a persuasive stance as to what is important to one’s value system. She was able to prove her point even though the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The most effective statement in this essay was when a school official pulled her aside just before graduation and tempted her to waffle on her stance. He told her it was not too late to receive her diploma, but when he stated “What is more important, your values or your diploma?” The author’s credibility inspired me with her courage to stand on her values in the loss of her diploma.

This essay is very controversial as it touches the very core of American integrity as to what we believe...

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