What is happiness? How does one even go about pursuing it? In the
search for happiness, Ruth Whippman’s article discusses about experiencing
happiness through interaction with people, while Ginny Graves’ article
discusses achieving happiness from within yourself. After analysing both Whippman’s
and Graves’ article, I feel that Whippman presented a more persuasive case for
the audience of The New York Times which could be the younger adults in society
as statistically analysed by Lisa Mahapatra (Mahapatra, 2013, P2). Firstly, Whippman’s
argument was more persuasive in terms of Pathos. Secondly, Whippman’s argument
was more persuasive due to the reliability of the evidence that she has put
forth to support her claims. These points will be further elaborated below.
Firstly, Whippman’s argument was very persuasive as she used
Pathos to sway the youths reading her article. Her article was also very interactive
in terms of how relatable it is towards the audience. Whippman first starts off
her argument by telling the audience about her personal experience of finding
happiness. This allows youths to relate to her story and because of this, be
pulled into her argument, hence, being more inclined to believe her stand. She
also points out information that the audience can easily agree with or relate
to. For example, she explains that people are spending less and less time
together with their families and friends and continues to write that “That’s 24
hours a year, barely enough to cover Thanksgiving dinner, and your own child’s
birthday party.” (Whippman, 2017, Para 9). How Whippman shows the harsh reality
of the current situation in society, instils fear in the youths, further reeling
them into her argument and finally convincing the youth of her stand. Compared
to Graves’ article, Graves does not use Pathos as much as Whippman, hence
lacking that element of persuasiveness. It also has more of a negative tone in
the very start of his article, which puts Graves’ audience of individuals
striving to be healthier down. This is especially so when he stated this part:
“But will all this make you happier? Sure, but only temporarily (sigh)” (Grave,
2017, Para 1). This makes the individuals feel as though Grave is trying to
dictate what happiness means to us, like he is trying to set a straight path as
to how happiness is strived for in every single person. Everyone’s happiness is
derived differently, we hence should not be told what to feel or how much time
should we feel this way if that is not how we originally were. Thus, I felt
that Grave’s tone was very off-putting and did not persuade the individuals to
read on further. Therefore, to conclude, Whippman’s argument was more
persuasive due to the use of Pathos.
Secondly, Whippman’s argument was more persuasive as she presented
evidence which was more reliable than Graves’. Whippman uses very objective
facts to support her claim, which increases the credibility of it and hence
persuades youths even more. She takes evidence from credible websites like The
Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the decrease in time spent hanging out in
America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the “principal
Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working
conditions, and price changes in the economy” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).
Since the source is reliable, we can justify that her evidence is reliable.
However, the evidence that Graves uses is not as reliable as Whippman’s. This
is evident through her non-usage of sufficient evidence to back up her claim.
Such can already be seen in the first paragraph of the article where Graves
states that “According to a growing number of experts…” (Graves, 2017, P1). She
does not cite or give any evidence whatsoever to support this claim of hers,
which makes this point unreliable, hence disabling her of persuading her
audience of health-driven individuals. Furthermore, Whippman even acknowledges
the perks of finding happiness within yourself by providing evidence from
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in paragraph 6 of her
article. This increases the credibility of her argument as she does not
downplay the benefits of solitary happiness, but instead draws a bigger problem
that is caused by the pursuit of solitary happiness. Hence, it increases the
persuasiveness of her argument. Therefore, to conclude, Whippman’s argument was
more persuasive due to the reliability of her evidence.
In conclusion, Whippman’s argument posed a more persuasive stance
as compared to Graves’ argument. Happiness can be found both with interaction
as well as within yourself. It is indeed beneficial for your own emotional and
physical health when you strive to pursue happiness from within. Going out with
your family and friends once in a while also allows you to pursue happiness!
Hence, the biggest takeaway from this article is that moderation is key.