The Company Man By Ellen Goodman Essay

Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in "The Company Man"

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Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in “The Company Man”

In “The Company Man” by Ellen Goodman, throughout the passage Goodman illustrates her feelings of distaste and anger toward Phil, as he in her mind represents Corporate America: routine, indifferent, almost robotic. Goodman uses numerous rhetorical strategies to convey her attitude toward Phil, including tone, repetition, the use of statistics, sarcasm, anecdotes, differing syntax, and irony. From the beginning, Goodman creates a very impersonal tone, letting characters remain nameless and unimportant, identifying them primarily by their age – “Phil, fifty-one years old…Helen, forty-eight years old…”. This mirrors the corporate mindset that everyone has an expiration…show more content…

Finally, toward the end of the passage Goodman again picks up that impersonal tone, using numbers rather than names to describe people to illustrate that corporate way of thinking – the person is unimportant, it’s the age that matters, the age that implies an expiration date. “At the funeral, the sixty-year-old company president told the forty-eight-year-old widow that the fifty-one-year-old deceased had meant much to the company and would be missed and would be hard to replace. This is also ironic, as the company president says that the deceased would be missed, but Goodman clearly tries to show just how little the company would miss Phil through the lack of the use of names. Again, Goodman describes Phil’s habits and routine with a tone of bitter resentment and a syntax of short, impersonal sentences: “Phil was overweight and nervous and worked too hard. If he wasn’t at the office, he was worried about it. Phil was Type A, a heart-attack natural. You could have picked him out in a minute from a lineup.” And for the third time, Goodman repeats the time and nature of Phil’s death: “So when he finally worked himself to death, at precisely 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, no one was really surprised.”, to show just how insignificant his death was to the company, which annoys Goodman. The irony of the last paragraph is not lost as Phil’s company already begins looking for his replacement at his own funeral. While

Presentation on theme: "Focus on The Company Man"— Presentation transcript:

1 Focus on The Company Man
Analysis EssayFocus on The Company Man

2 PurposeSimple: Don’t work too hard. Less Simple: Don’t sacrifice your job for your family. Good: If you focus your life on any one thing instead of people, you will have no one to remember you, no legacy. Better than Good: Relationships with people are what will leave a legacy. Too many people are so focused on unimportant parts of their lives. Great: It is essential to value relationships with people even if we live in a society where a person’s worth is dependent upon their work.

3 AWESOME: (from the internet)
Corporate American is at fault for fostering the development of individuals who, apparently, have little in the way-of-souls: Goodman-paints a-bleak and pronounced portrait of people who have lost touch with their families with their values, and even with themselves.

4 The introEllen Goodman wrote “The Company Man” to show us that _____PURPOSE________. She does this in an obscure way. If we look closely at this piece we can find the underlying meaning. ADD ON? Her essay lets us not only learn about the sad life of a company man who represents many people in a bustling society, but also feel what his life was like. ADD ON? Phil worked himself to death and didn’t know his family. The neighbors didn’t know him either. ADD ON? People work so hard and then die. They are easily replaced. Phil needed to spend time with his family.

5 Great Intro-Ellen Goodman uses an arsenal of rhetorical strategies to demonstrate her sentiments towards the main character, Phil -- one of the few, cold individuals able to march robotically through life, frigidly and indifferently pursuing the forever unseen pinnacle of success. Phil, to Goodman, embodies Corporate America. The descriptions of Phil in The Company Man are sardonically accusatory of the present way people live in society.

6 Body Paragraph?Phil maintains a 70-hour work week and eats egg salad sandwiches at his desk. His death is seen as unsurprising by the people who knew him, and they did nothing more than shake their heads when they heard the news. Phil's character is seemingly insignificant. Goodman mentions that Phil was "fifty-one years old, and a vice president". No one really cared about him even though he seemed important to his company.

7 Revised Body Paragraph??
The author makes light of the fact that Phil is a heart attack waiting to happen, and that he maintains a 70-hour work week, by mentioning the simple fact that he eats egg salad sandwiches. His death is seen as unsurprising by the people who knew him, and they did nothing more than shake their heads when they heard the news. Phil's character is seemingly insignificant. Goodman mentions that Phil was "fifty-one years old, and a vice president". With this, she leads the reader to believe that Phil had a very influential role on his company. The subsequent line, however, reveals that "He was, however, one of six vice presidents." In the ending lines, as well, this portrayal of insignificance reoccurs when the CEO of Phil's company turns away from telling Phil's widow that he will be missed, and immediately begins looking for his replacement.

8 THE REST…When the author makes light of Phil’s life, she shows us the insignificance of any person’s life if that person chooses to be consumed by work. Phil lived to work. Goodman sees this as a problem and shows us that, in the end, things and jobs move on and people live on. This makes us ask ourselves where we are leaving our impression on the world, or rather who we have impressed in the world.

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