Rhetorical Analysis of Man’s Search for Meaning

During the time around World War II, psychoanalysis had set its reputation in the field of psychology. Nevertheless, new theories of interpreting psychological factors arose and got new attention from the public – logotherapy was one of them. In Man’s Search for Meaning, the author explicated on his experience in concentration camp and the lessons derived from his sufferings. These things obtained him new insights about logotherapy as he explored deeper into the psychology of human beings.

Of course, the first part of this book took a long account telling the experience, but what’s more important is the three phases of the prisoners inside the concentration camp. “When one examines the vast amount of material which has been amassed as the result of many prisoners’ observations and experiences, three phases of the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life become apparent.” (P22) As Frankl observed the prisoners’ behaviors, he generalized them into three discontinuous segments, and took separated paragraphs to illustrate several examples of these phases. Moreover, the story was not written in chronological order, but rather in the form of different episodes that included different characters’ interactions. The full book itself is in first person, but besides the introspection Frankl took about his own experience in the concentration camp, it also encompassed other people’s thoughts about their own life’s meanings, as Frankl concluded from his observations: “It can be readily understood that such a state of strain, coupled with the constant necessity of concentrating on the task of staying alive, forced the prisoner’s inner life down to a primitive level.” (P40) Obviously, the author took his voice to convey the meanings that various factors implemented inside the camp might contribute to the mental disorder of the prisoners. By contrast, therefore, the author, having blocked the negative impacts of these factors, has gained the credibility of explaining what he envisioned about logotherapy.

The second part, being more naturally theoretical, describes his own psychological theory. In this part, Frankl explored on the way his school of psychology came into maturation, including his experiences of being a psychotherapist and his patients’ diagnosis. As he proposed several basic components involved in logotherapy, he also postulated this theory as similar but different from psychoanalysis: “Logotherapy, in comparison with psychoanalysis, is a method less retrospective and less introspective. Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.” (P104) Through this explanation, Frankl successfully arrived at a new concept for the society to be learned, that is, looking forward to the dreams people have, and the motivation they inherently possess instead of neurosis. Compared to Freud’s relatively emphatic tone in The Interpretation of Dreams, Frankl tries to be communicative with the readers to introduce this seemingly sophisticated topic, thus making them readily capable of understanding his psychological theory’s concepts.

The postscript plunges into the optimism beyond tragic situations. As he mentioned, people suffers in different degrees, they have distinct views about their lives: some people are capable of coping with stressors while others are not. This distinction had given the readers a warning sign about their own attitudes toward living. Traumatic events and daily hassles all implement on the psychological well-being of men, so “the human capacity to turn creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive” (P139) is rather a fundamental part of Frankl’s ideal about tragic optimism. It is easy to observe this pattern during our learning of ideals of human emotion, stress, and health. Therefore, if the previous two parts are said to be describing his own psychological theory, the postscript answers the readers’ confusion of the theory’s application through connecting concepts of logotherapy to the general knowledge in the field of psychology.

Life has a meaning. Throughout this book, this central theme almost surrounds the entire text to testify different people’s fates inside the concentration camp, as they have diverged degree of hopefulness. Frankl often quoted Nietzsche’s maxim, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” (P5) This sentence emphasizes his belief that men possess the ability to choose what is meaningful in his life. There are also a lot of arguments inside the first part. For instance, love gives life meaning. As the Frankl thought about his wife in the concentration camp, he could be relieved from the hardships he experienced: He did not know about his wife’s status, but was rather empowered by taking the emotional burden he had for thinking of her. In author’s view, religion also gives life meaning, as individuals are aware of the assignments the divinity gives for them a reason to survive. What’s surprising to the readers, still, is Frankl’s idea that suffering gives life meaning. He was not frustrated with the will to meaning though he was in bad conditions. He suffered for his loss to honor something he once owned.

The intended audience, ostensibly, is those who have experienced intense stresses in any way. Just like what the author mentioned about his life in concentration camp and other patients’ accounts, they could, in some way, be connected to the powerful message of this book about dealing with those stressors. It also has certain identification with people who have other sufferings, such as oppression or persecution, though not physically implemented, could also hurt their feelings. They might find some ways to cope with the stresses through the exploration of this book. Nevertheless, even people with relatively easy lives could find ways to connect to this book. They surely have gained adequate success, and possibly possess need for achievement. However, Frankl still prompted them to find deeper levels of their lives’ meanings. We adolescents, who are susceptible to identity and role confusion, can also be enlightened by this book’s reflection on purposes of people’s life circumstances and choices.


Frankl, V. (1992) Man’s Search for Meaning (Fourth Edition.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press


Analysis of Beowulf: Conflicts between Religious Beliefs and Actions of Characters

Although Beowulf was written after the Anglo-Saxons were slowly converted to Christianity, their old Pagan traditions still had great residual influences and made Beowulf an integration of pagan heroic ideals and Christian beliefs. Despite of gradually accepted Christian beliefs at that time, the opposite pagan Germanic actions emerge throughout Beowulf. Particularly, Christian values of God’s judgment, humility and eternal rewards conflicts with characters’ actions of making judgments by vengeance, proudly boasting and pursuing secular rewards.

The mortal makes judgments due to vengeance violates Christian beliefs of judgment by merciful God. For instance, at the celebration at Heorot after Beowulf defeating Grendel, Beowulf says, Grendel, “like a man outlawed for wickedness, he must await the mighty judgment of God in majesty” (134). But later, after recognizing Grendel’s corpse, “Beowulf cut the corpse’s head off” furiously (148). Beowulf’s own words demonstrate his Christian beliefs that it is God who makes judgments of Grendel, Beowulf’s enemy. However, Beowulf’s ensuing action of decapitating Grendel indicates that it is Beowulf himself who decides the outcome and doom of Grendel. Therefore, the Christian belief that God judges the mortal, including the enemies, contradicts to Beowulf’s action that indicates the right of heroes to take revenge and judge their enemies.

Furthermore, Christian ideals of humility and mighty God contradict to individual boasts. For example, at another celebration at Heorot after Beowult defeats Grendel’s mother, he says, “if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal” (150). But, previously, as Beowulf encounters the Danish watchmen when arriving at the coast, he proudly boasts about his great lineage and former heroic triumphs. And during the first feast at Heorot, Beowulf again formally boasts himself. The quotation here indicates that Beowulf attributes his heroic deed and victory to the mighty Christian God. In the contrary, his frequent actions of boasts show little about Christian typical humility but pagan heroic pride. Therefore, the Christian belief of humility and that all mightiness belongs to God stands in contrast to the action of proudly boasting oneself.

Finally, Christian idea of eternal rewards stands in contrast to worldly pursuits in reality. For instance, at the celebration at Hoerot for Beowulf’s successful fights against Grendel’s mother, Hrothgar speaks to Beowulf, “Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly” (152). Hoerot’s words demonstrate that life is fleeting and people should pursue eternal rewards instead of worldly ones. Meantime, Hrothgar gives Beowulf significant amount of worldly rewards for his defeats of Grendel’s mother, indicating that it’s right to reward worldly treasure to honor heroic deeds. As a result, the Christian belief of pursuits for eternal rewards contradicts to giving secular rewards as accumulation of honor.

In all, characters’ pagan ideal actions of making judgments by vengeance, frequent boast and pursuit for worldly rewards violates their Christian beliefs of judgment by God, humility and pursuit for eternal rewards, resulting in undeniable conflicts between newly accepted Christian beliefs and traditional pagan actions.


Works Cited

Martin Puchner. Beowulf. Translated by Seamus Heaney. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012

Analysis of Evaluation of I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read

Education has been a widespread debate for years. It invloves various items to be tested, competed, and accomplished. Nevertheless, reading, an essential task for us to complete, is discussed and evaluated by a famous American writer, Francine Prose, who published a lot of her works about society and humanity.

In this evaluation, the author pointed out that many schools were proposing for reading lists that circumscribed what students should read to enhance their study skills. However, the establishment of reading lists could be destructive for someone who enjoyed reading something different from schools’ popular views. The destructiveness could be defined as these students’ frustration and unsatisfaction about the restriction of reading. By using simile to compare caged birds with students, Prose asserted that schools’ making read lists was notorious and should be eliminated in order to develop students’ individual personalities. Furthermore, the author used various writers’ books to exemplify the differences in contents that bestow students with dinstinct points of view. For instance, Kafka’s works contained some kinds of irony toward that present social situation that strongly recalled readers’ sympathy, while To Kill A Mocking Bird, a book written by Harper Lee, could be regarded as the amalgam of family affection and, of course, the presence of inequality at that time. The author was carful to analyze even a sentence from these books to subjectively present her idea about these values imparted from them. The application of qualitative evaluation was quite efficient that she successfully indicated that students ought to be allowed to read their favorite books, not compulsory one.

To better interpret her argument, Prose gave out her own childhood experience. Being compelled to read books from the reading lists, she disagreed with her teachers’ view that children’s reading should be rigorously evaluated, even though the books were interesting for her. Rather, the author proposed that people should not just read some books in only one way. Instead, they might look for some information or emotion that were demonstrated by certain kinds of books. Although they were rarely sold, these books could be more valuable for people who sought to learn about some specific things that were actually not found in those famous books. As a result, Prose came to conclude that reading lists were too subjective and should be neglected for people who had different favors or desires for learning.

Rhetorical Analysis of The Locavore’s Dilemma

Problems about locavores are widespread controversial topics that initiate various debates about what should be given regarding locavores’ intention, yet in this article, Pelletier claims that there exists a dilemma facing their appetites. With balanced but bigoted tone, the passage gives out comprehensive analysis of this issue.

First of all, the author point out the definition of this word: The “locavores” as they are called, claim that 100-mile food is the way to a more sustainable agriculture and consumption. But he also points out some exception, such as coffee drinkers and chocolate addicts, living in Vancouver, a city that lacks the resources needed to supply the products they need.

Then, Pelletier expands this range toward the manufacture of such products. Deficiency of the materials will heavily strike the farms, markets and factories in that place. Thus, the author endows the definition of locavores with the application of such domesticated animals that are dependent on the feeds. The lack of qualities will further cause the famine of local people.

To defend his claim, he asserts that the concept of local consumption is not that kind of production with materials produced 3000 miles away, in his way, he could say that this kind of diet needs amendment: The emphasis should not be so much on local as it should be about the search for efficient and low environmental impact. Consecutive evidence confirms that transports are not important factors that affect the prices and qualities of the goods. Rather, location exerts huge effects toward the locavores.

In the last paragraph, the author reclaims the definition of locavores, while the importance of access to food is generally emphasized throughout this article, since it will not only influence the local consumers, but also impact other creatures demanding those local products.



Works Cited

A. Lunsford, Andrea; J. Ruszkiewicz, John; Walters Keith. Everything’s an argument. 6th ed. New York: Boston, 2012.

Pelletier, Christophe. The Locavore’s Dilemma. Canada: Vancouver, 2010.

Process Analysis: Scientific Investigation

Science is an interesting subject, not only because of its wideness. The most important spirit of science is to dive deeply into the sea of nature. For instance, scientific investigation is one of the most effective methods for development of science. Especially in the field of biology and geology, scientific investigation is an excellent tool to prove such hypothesis. Based on nothing harmful for the ecosystem, investigators could proceed a large amount of research strategies.

Generally, to complete a scientific investigation, we have 3 steps: First, choose a place, a time, and write a plan. Second, go to that place and collect some facts. Third, analyze the facts we get and draw a conclusion. Strategies are also significant, here I would like to show my own experience about this process.

About two years ago, some people and I went to investigate a wetland park that was placed inside a natural protection area. Our aim was to discover how plants in this area affect this system. It was autumn, deciduous leaves turned yellow, and reed was obviously stood in the lake. All the wetland seemed tranquil. Except for some birds’ tweeting and our discussing, there were no other sounds. I couldn’t help myself to record my first impression at that time. Mostly, researchers would like to choose spring to conduct their investigations because all the creatures come out and behave actively. However, autumn is also a good season for investigators, isn’t it? The scenario will be different from what you often see, and what you compose will be different from what most researchers write. Also, the aim should fit the conditions,  autumn will not influence animals as well.

The main populations inside this park must be mangroves, these evergreen trees are only visible in tropic areas. They demand a lot of aspects of conditions so that they could live perfectly. It is more suitable for them to live beside salty intertidal belts. Actually, they also need little anaerobic environment to live, and there shouldn’t be so much powder diffused in the air. That seems very bizarre because most plants would like to live in nearly different conditions, they need oxygen to proceed their respiration. But since mangroves’ adaptation of the moist atmosphere, oxygen isn’t important for them. I asked professor about the principle, she just said that, “They utilize their cells to take in more water than other plants, and the result is that they could be strong enough to prevent them from being attacked by typhoon.” By that time I nodded. Try to think something in new angles, you will find some advantages for these kind of trees’ characteristics. If face some difficulties, asking some experts is also a great choice.

Since mangroves are defenders in a way, there should be some secrets about their abilities to make a living. We had opportunities to closely approach a mangrove tree. During observation, we knew that mangroves had a lot of branched roots that make the ground irregular, and a center root was directly insert into the land. Tangled together, the roots made the trees tough. In order to adapt surrounding environment, some trees would develop fleshy leaves to keep water. They were able to control the concentration of salts freely, because the crystals on the surface of the trees could be the evidence. We also found some pod-like objects and found some embryonic roots inside it, some of the mangroves can even be viviparous! Across these surprising discoveries, it is undoubted to say that mangroves could be the winners after natural selection. Remember, observation is the most important tool to get the firsthand information, and compare it to the others, you could know some more details.

In Chinese, mangroves meant “red trees”. But why these trees’ leaves were not red? Professor answered, “We name them because of the colors of their barks, not their leaves. You may imagine that their leaves should be red, but actually they are green as well as other common plants.” Look carefully, the barks of them were really slightly redder than those of other trees. “From these barks, we can extract some chemicals such as tannin to produce red dye.” said professor. “But for Kandelia candel, a kind of mangrove, which is green everywhere in its body, is also belongs to the same genus. The reason is that it is viviparous, and the seeds are deep red. That’s why it is linked to ‘red trees’.”

The most important thing during scientific investigation is still the spirit of discovering and curiosity. If we have passion to proceed this process, it will be an eureka moment if we find the answer to a confusing puzzle. Of course, we will also be delighted since we are willing to denote for this research.

In general, scientific investigation is very interesting process. If you really do it, you will find it not only let you know more things about nature but also make you more experienced in the wild world.


Analysis of My Schedule

ScheduleMany students seek to balance their affairs into a satisfying extent, but realities always violate their ideals. To analyze then prioritize time arrangement, it is rational to use some tools to facilitate the process. For instance, the Friedman Model, a demonstration about the distribution in work, home, community and self, is considered effective.

This is the primary pattern of my time arrangement:

Work Home Community Self
45% 20% 25% 10%

Why I would come up with this graph? There are a lot of reasons that lead to my time schedule. First of all, work, which is considered as the most important aspect of my time arrangement, looks too enormous that its size shocks me. But in fact, I really regard work as essential for myself, since I have to prepare for so many exams that I cannot pay much attention to other aspects. Rather, since organizational skills are heavily emphasized in my campus, coorperating these aspects is well illustrated. Although work occupies most of my time, its circle overlaps all other three aspects, which could lead to the harmony between work and one of the three aspects. For instance, while I’m working for my research program to reach my academic goals, I’m also doing something helpful for the development of the entire society.

Home, sadly, is not well placed in my schedule. Since there are hardly bad situations that come out of my family, I seldom put emphasis on its issues. Rather, my parents are supportive of many of my decisions, and I could say that home acts as the place which I could develop the relationships with others and also do works. Therefore, home is well compatible to two other elements.

Community is also well-regarded as one of my time arrangement, because everytime I communicate with people may accounts for my life experience that basically develop such relationships that are helpful for my accomplishment of my works. Also, it does help deal with some of my family issues that cannot be resolved merely by myself. It also acts as one of the media of the sharing of my secrets that are not shared with my family.

Then we come to self. Though only occupies small portion of my schedule, it is truly important in my self-interest. I watch some American TV series and cartoons that develop my English skills, and they implicitly help me better involved in my community.

Analysis of the Catcher in the Rye

One of the most well-known novels all over the world is called The Catcher in the Rye, which is written by Jerome David Salinger, a famous American author. There is no doubt that this book is extremely attractive because of its distinguishing plot. The story just happened in a high school student named Holden Caulfield. Although the duration of Holden’s experience is only about three days, David Salinger makes a lot of efforts and they make the story seem not so boring. He uses many rhetorical skills to explore the heart inside a teenager. Since the thoughts and experiences of the protagonist, Holden, identify with nearly all the teenagers at that time, this book became very famous among the readers especially young children and teens.

The main plot of the novel is always surrounds Holden. The reason why the plot is majorly about Holden because the author uses first person to tell the story. This method is very appropriate for us to know the feelings of Holden. Furthermore, every things are narrated by him, and these things are truly happened to himself. “I” is one of the words that usually appears in this novel, it will spontaneously brings some amiable sensation, and it is convenient for the author to express Holden’s emotion. It also reduces the distance between the readers and the protagonist and makes the plot more constructive. However, there are also some disadvantages of using the first person. Because of the limits of narrative, these things can only told by “me” that happened to “myself”. If something just happened to others and it is not be experienced by “me”, it may be harder for readers to understand other characters’ feelings about something. In my point of view, readers are more willing to read the innovative first person paragraphs. Hence, there are still more benefits than disadvantages.

Inside the story, there are also many symbols in not only the backgrounds or settings but also in some specific objects. For example, Pencey symbolizes the mainstream culture in the United States. In 1950s, American is in peaceful situation after so many dangers, and many modern productions make people just look like robots, their life is simple but not so colorful. Pencey is also that kind of production. It makes all the students like the same people. However, Holden is the example who is not satisfy with it. (page 4&5, chapter 1) At the beginning of this book, almost everyone in the school is watching the football game with a team called Saxon Hall. But Holden just stands on the top of Thomsen Hill and watches the crowd yelling or cheering. His attitude shows that he is not care about the mainstream culture, and this is one of the reasons why he will be kicked out of the school. On the contrary, New York is the symbol of subcultures. Inside this big city, many new cultures appear in each corners.

Many people might feel very embarrassed because of their individual appearances so does Holden. (page 11, chapter 2) Because of Holden’s half gray hair, he is a bit hesitated because gray hair means oldness. As an teenager, Holden has already know some adults’ principles and he even has some bad habits which are usually adults’, but he is also a bit childish. This maybe also why Holden feels very different from others.

Sally, one of the supporting characters, also is very important in the development of the plot. (page 138, chapter 17) From “She looked terrific.” to “I swear to god I’m crazy, I admit it.” It just seems that they fell in love with each other because Holden uses positive words to describe her. But after Holden offer to take Sally to be hermit. She can’t well understand what Holden means. They quarrel with each other. (page 149, chapter 17) In the end of this chapter, Holden uses some negative words to mock Sally. After all, Holden’s world is full of Sally, but this conflict makes him depressed. In my opinion, maybe their mind is not synchronized enough, and it is hard for them to communicate with each other. However, this thing really changed Holden a lot, and it tells him not to concern about this thing again, it’s no use.

And, as I can know from the book is that Holden is a very dissolute boy. In his own world, the most important thing is not studying. He just hope for the freedom. Though he often say some words that are not appropriate for us to say, this is his personality, this is him. Maybe some guys in the society are not be accepted by us because of their random behaviors, but we couldn’t condemn them. On the contrary, we have duty to protect them, and we need to lead them to a correct way. Also, from the story, Holden is not unconcerned about everyone. He has a little sister Phoebe. From the novel, almost every chapter has a very clear word “Phoebe”. Maybe the birth of this girl brings him many surprises and he treasures the noble possession—the vigorous life. He has the consciousness to take good care of his little sister, and he tries his best to make her happy. (page 220, chapter 25) From “Dear Phoebe” to”Love, Holden” this is a letter written from Holden to Phoebe. Although this letter is very short, only about fifty words, but it is filled with love and nostalgia. The content of this letter is that Holden wants to say goodbye to Phoebe and initiate his journey to the west. “I will give you your Christmas dough back. I didn’t spend much.” From the sentence, Holden offers some gifts to Phoebe and the diction is very friendly. I think it is fortunate of Phoebe that she has a very kind brother who always care about herself. And wherever Holden is, he always brings a lot of warmth to Phoebe. This novel also perfectly explain the emotion between the older brother and the younger sister.

According to the analysis and report I made, the paragraphs are mainly about the background of the author, the structure, the symbols, some details and some of my feelings about the book. During the course of reading, I can not only catch more literary terms but also know about the plot, and a very special teenager who is in old time. In conclusion, though there may be some inappropriate words such as “damn” or “hell”, after I finish reading, I feel that I become a bit more mature than before. And I believe it will encourage me in the rest of my life.