Critique Essay

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Critique Essay















Critique Essay

Summary of Nina Funnell

The first article, Let’s respect children’s ability to think for themselves has been written by a social analyst and casual writer known as Nina Funnell. Funnell, N. (2011) attempts in arguing how children should be given a chance of contributing ideas, points or their personal views concerning the major issues facing the society. The author bases his grounds through a real life example of an eleven-year-old boy who managed to have a significant impact on the society when he managed to get his views across concerning the major issue of religion on a famous newspaper article.

An issue concerning religion emerged after a well-known spiritual conservative named

Fred Nile was protesting against the government’s act of wanting to ban spiritual classes by replacing them with Ethics classes. Funnell, N. (2011) states that as the young boy dished out his opinion on the matter, he expressed that as much as he respected people’s spirituality, he felt that Nile did not have the right in compelling people to follow religion. The societal response indicated astonishment that such an opinion could be generated by a young person.

The writer uses this incident in proving how children are not taken seriously in the society and argues for their need in being given a chance to contribute their ideas and views on the key issues and developments that take place in society.

Summary of Simon Longstaff

The second article, Ethics lesson 1: don’t trade children’s interests for Nile’s obsession has been written by a writer known as Simon Longstaff, and he describes the common perception of politics as whereby there are no impossibilities in wanting to achieve something despite using fraudulent means.

He describes how individuals involved in the political system find themselves in certain circumstances in which they go against their moral or ethical principles in achieving something. However, he argues that there is a chance of the society being rescued from this mentality. The writer reveals how the political leaders are taking advantage of the situation involving the introduction of ethics classes in schools in order to justify their unethical actions in the system. The article bases this by revealing the content of the ethical lessons being taught including the theme, “the end justifies the means”, and meaning that practices can be acceptable if the goal is relevant, significant or appropriate in the society.

Longman,S. (2011) argues that if it is necessary for the political system to fulfill their interests, they should not mix with the interests of children by involving the education system.

Determination of Ethos, Logos and Pathos

It is possible to determine the writers’ ethos in the first article. For example, in the first paragraphs, the author introduces the main subject by using an actual example and relates himself to the main object of the example in order to prove the credibility of his argument. When the author discusses the young boy who contributed his opinions in a mature environment, he shows his familiarity as he tells how close he is to the boy’s family.

The writer tells the readers the experiences of meeting with the boy’s parents and having the opportunity to hold conversations with the boy concerning his well-known opinions about introducing ethical classes in the education system. Granger (2008, pp.69) explains that a well-planned ethos enables the author to gain the trust of his audience since he proves the relevance of his argument. The writer’s encounter with one of the features in the main subject of his argumentation would give the readers reason in finding the article more engaging and hence feel the need in continuing to read it.

The writer in the second article demonstrates ethos in the article through the content he generates. There is a strong foundation in the author’s statements in the first paragraphs because he reflects on the major issue facing the society including the conflicting debate between ethical classes against spiritual classes in the education system. He gives details on how the issue is connected with the interests of the political system. In addition, he gives details on the well-known issue of Reverend Fred Nile who contested against the idea of introducing ethical classes to replace spiritual classes.

The credibility of the content found in the beginning paragraphs is sufficient to convince the readers that the author is sure of his argument. The author appears to be well informed on the issue he is arguing about and hence the readers will obviously confide in an author who is well rounded on the main subject. Another argumentative element that has been used in both articles is the pathos, whereby the writer attempts to convince the readers by capturing the attention of their emotions or feelings towards the subject.

For example, in the first article, the writer uses a significant example of how a child makes an unexpected impact on an adult environment through his opinions. It is expected that any reader going through that article will be astonished, moved or inspired as to how a young individual could have such high level of intelligence that is influential to the society. Children are perceived as being innocent and hence are less likely to be familiar or surrounded with complex responsibilities and issues. Therefore, the writer was able to inspire the audience by bringing the situation in which the perception of children is reversed.

In the second article, the writer demonstrates the pathos element in the manner he arranges and writes the content. For example, as he addresses his beginning statements, he expresses them based on his opinion towards the subject. In one of the statements, “I know that politics is the art of possible” reveals his view towards politics. This enables the readers to be moved by relating to the author’s personality that is displayed in those statements. The author has also incorporated his reaction towards the issue in the main body. For example, the statement, “Nile says that scripture is under threat from ethics classes. But this is nonsense” illustrates the author’s reaction towards the matter and hence his personality.

The writer’s reaction could be a great way of catching the reader’s attention and making them more involved in reasoning with his given reaction in the book. In addition, the readers’ interest in the article is maximized because she is able to relate her feelings and thoughts to what the author is feeling concerning the subject. In the first article, pathos has been illustrated where the author includes his experiences as he is writing the main article. For example, the statement, “I confess that when I first read the piece, I did so with one eyebrow raised. Do 11-year-olds really write like this?” the author illustrates his personality through his reaction towards the issue he is discussing.

This is a significant way of appealing to the readers to sympathize with the situation being discussed. Upon reading that statement, it is expected that a reader would react the same way and therefore seeing that he can connect with the writer in the article is enough to appeal the reader. In the second article, the writer applies pathos at the concluding paragraphs whereby he asks questions in order to show the relevance of his argument. The questions reveal the writer’s feelings and concerns towards the argument topic.

For example, Longstaff. (2011) brings in the statement, “Will we now say that enough is enough?” shows that he is concerned and hence it enables the readers in trying to reason and sympathize towards the issue being raised in the article. Cockcroft, R & Cockcroft, S.M (2005, pp. 56-57 ) explains that the argumentative element of logos can be described as the inner uniformity of the argument. This means that the claim, logic and reasoning of the argument must be addressed in a clear and consistent manner. The Logos is meant to provide the logic effectiveness of the argument to the readers.

In the first article, the author has managed to achieve logos especially in the way he has introduced his argument. For example, in the first paragraphs, the writer begins by introducing a real life case, which brings out the idea or clue on what he intends to argue about. He introduces the story of an eleven-year old boy who influenced the society with his views concerning religion. He gives the main specifics of the details in a way that will allow him to bring out his argument subject.

After introducing the case, he addresses his reaction by describing how he perceives the boy’s character in relation to the achievement he made through his opinions. The author’s reaction could give the readers a hint on the side he is supporting in his argument. The writer then expands on how the society perceives children and reflects the perception in the case he brought out in the introduction. This strategy enables the readers to understand and reason with the writer’s argument.

In this case, he gives the perception of children from different views including the media and adults whereby children are viewed as being vulnerable and in need of security. The writer then brings out his argument claim from the idea of Russell (2007, pp.83) where he explains how children’s capability or potential fail to be taken seriously. The article follows on the beginning example, where the writer reveals his experience during his encounter with the young intelligent boy. The writer does this to convince the readers to believe in the logic of the argument.

This is because he attempts to reverse the common perception of children when he reveals his astonishment with the boy’s level of intelligence and hence persuade the readers in perceiving children in a different positive way that would give them opportunity to grow in the society instead of shutting them down with negative assumptions. The writer uses the eleven-year-old boy in the example in proving the logic in his argument where the society needs to view children beyond the assumptions of being innocent and vulnerable. After giving all the details in his argument, he concludes by providing a solution or a form of compromise that could bring the other side of the argument to agree on his side.

This is where he explains how children should be given opportunity and esteem to express and contribute their potential to the society’s benefit. In the second article, the writer gives details concerning the main issue of the argument. He then follows by stating his claim by expressing his opinion involving his main issue. For example, the author informs the readers about how the system of politics work and then proceeds to gives his opinion concerning how the political system should function.

The writer follows his claim by introducing a case study in which assists in expressing his argument using several points from the case. For example, the well-known case involving Reverend Fred Nile and his opposition of ethics classes in the education system. He gives details on the reason for Nile’s objection to the Ethics, as being a threat to the existence of spiritual classes involving scriptures. He then brings out his argument when he objects to Nile’s conception by stating that the rights of ensuring spiritual classes in institutions is protected by law.

The writer then proceeds to give information concerning the ethics subject based on its history and its impact on the young generation from the ancient period. According to Pirsig & Kirwin (2004, pp.283), the writer relates this information to Nile in giving the reason for his objection to ethics classes whereby he explains how the subject was known to damage the young generation in the past when it conflicted with the cultural values when introducing the concept of modernism.  The author relates the subject of Ethics classes to the main issue of politics by discussing how the political structure is taking advantage of the education system through controlling what should be taught in the Ethics subject.

The writer claims that the political leaders are ensuring that the ethics classes include lessons on justifying the corrupt practices carried out in the political system in the reasoning where the end justifies the means. The writer continues his argument by questioning the logic in this act and attempts to offer a solution in form of a question. In the question, “Will we now say enough is enough?” the writer attempts in giving a hint on what should be done to solve the main issue in his argument.

















Cockcroft, R., & Cockcroft, S. M. (2005). Persuading people: an introduction to rhetoric. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.

Funnell, N. 2011, “Let’s respect children’s ability to think for themselves”, National Times [online] available at

Granger, R. H. (2008). The 7 triggers to yes: the new science behind influencing people’s decisions. New York, McGraw-Hill.

Longstaff, S. 2011, “Ethics lesson 1: don’t trade children’s interest for Nile’s obsession”, National Times [online] available at

Pirsig, M. E., & Kirwin, K. F. (2004). Cases and materials on professional responsibility. St. Paul, Minn, West Pub. Co.

Russell, J. (2007). How children become moral selves: building character and promoting citizenship in education. Brighton, Sussex Academic Press.

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