You are on page 1of 3

David Hooper AP English 3 P.

4 October 9, 2011 Rhetorical Analysis on The Company Man The passage from, The Company Man, by Ellen Goodman shows how much Goodman feels annoyed and angered by Phil through the way he lives his life. Goodman conveys these attitudes in three different ways. The first being through sarcastic remarks and quotes, the second is by speaking bitterly about him and criticizing him, which is her tone, and lastly how she uses numbers and words to show that he is just another insignificant figure that no one cares about. Though Phil is an Important Person at his workplace, at home he really isn t anyone to his family, despite being called his dearly beloved family. By falsely labeling Phil s family, Goodman makes use of sarcasm to show that Phil wasn t really present much at all at home. The first example of the various quotes occurs first on line 34 with survivors, proclaiming that these people were his survivors; though they technically were, his family didn t even behave like they were survivors because they knew nothing about him. The second example is on line 45 with dearly beloved being used to label his child as being truly loved by him, when actually that is the total opposite since he was never around to show that love. Lastly on line 42, Missing him all these years, is used to show that even before his death, she already missed him because to her he seemed already dead, in the sense that he was never around. Thus, the sarcastic quotes riddled throughout the passage show how Goodman uses sarcasm to bring out the truth behind what Phil s life choices brought on and how it affected his family. The next technique Goodman uses is to criticize and speak bitterly about Phil.

Throughout the passage, Goodman employs a sense of bitterness and hostility when speaking about Phil, often criticizing him about his faults. The first example of the bitterness shown is on lines 2026 she purposefully capitalizes Important People to show that he really wasn t that all important to anyone. Goodman then goes on to criticize him on his interests, what he ate, and his physical attributes this criticism of Phil s characteristics gives the passage a tone of bitterness towards Phil. Yet again Goodman criticizes Phil on lines 73-76 attacking again his weight, nervousness, work ethics, and even goes on to label him as though he were destined to die sooner because he looked like a Type A/ heart attack natural. All of these examples stress the frustration and annoyance Goodman has with Phil and how he chooses to have lived his horrible life. While on the other hand, Goodman uses numbers to describe her attitudes of dislike towards Phil. To show how much Phil was just another unimportant numerical figure to readers, Goodman saturates the passage with numbers of dates, times and years to get the point across. Throughout the passage Goodman explains how he worked six days a week at the age of fifty-one and being overweight by twenty or twenty-five pounds until he dies at 3:00 A.M. This stresses the importance of the numbers showing the insignificant value of Phil; he is just another number in the pool of millions. Goodman likes to stress the use of the numbers, especially the time he dies at by using it three times throughout the passage. More precisely, Goodman intentionally writes out the words to the numbers on lines 65-68 to show the exact opposite of what she wrote he didn t ever mean much to the company or his family. So by using this technique along with the other two, Goodman manages to illustrate her attitudes of dislike for Phil. Through the various literary techniques from the passage, The Company Man, by Ellen Goodman, it is shown that Goodman uses three techniques to describe her hatred, frustration, annoyance, dislike, and bitterness towards Phil. Goodman illustrates how much Phil screwed up his life

by doing all the wrong things and by being a stranger to his beloved family. This goes on to show that through these techniques, Goodman can explicitly describe her discontent towards Phil and the horrible life he has given his family.