John Gatto’s “Against School”
John Gatto’s “Against School” is a persuasive essay arguing both the ineffectiveness and negative outcomes of today’s public school system. Not only does Gatto provide credibility with his experience as a teacher, but he also presents historical evidence that suggests that the public school system is an outdated structure, originally meant to dumb down students as well as program them to be obedient pawns in society. Fact and authority alone do not supplement his argument. Gatto also uses emotional appeals, such as fear and doubt, to tear down the reader’s trust in the schooling system. Although it may seem to be so, Gatto’s argument is not one sided. He also offers suggestions to make the educational system more efficient at the hands of
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Another example of logos, and probably one of the most shocking proofs that Gatto provides, is his overview of the Prussian education system in which our own system was derived from. Not only does he make the audience aware that there is a connection between Prussian and American schooling, but he also uses hints of pathos in justifying his claim by adding emotional appeals of fear to inspire a reaction:
But what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens - all in order to render the populace "manageable."
The reason I have called upon the use of fear as an emotional appeal is because the above claims makes apparent to the audience a chilling comparison that many would probably wish to deny; however, historical evidence can’t be swept under the rug the same way opinions can, so in this sense, the facts speak for themselves. This particular argument that Gatto makes is one of his more intimidating, and by being so it seems as though logos and pathos are being tied together