“Rhetoric and Competition”

Linda Hutcheon, in her “Rhetoric and Competition”, she addresses the “wolfish” (Hutcheon) behavior in the modern academic world, people develop and adopt an attitude of contempt towards other scholars in the field, looking to demolish their arguments. In today’s society, Hutcheon would argue, one’s success seems to be dependent on another’s failure.

Hutcheon’s tone differs from that of Werron, she uses phrases and prefixes before her statements such as “I plea” and “in my idealist opinion”. This differs from Werron in that Werron is far more neutral and rarely wrote in the first person, and given the fact that Bateson was delivering a speech, both of their arguments seem more convincing. Bateson, since she was giving a speech and is speaking to an audience that has enough background knowledge to know her topics and evidence, carries a colloquial tone and this is also present in Hutcheon’s article. Hutcheon articulates her argument through illustration, as she is far more interactive in comparison to Bateson, who delivered her argument in the form of a speech, containing minimum rhetorical questions whereas Hutcheon asks many questions and demands her readers to formulate their own answers as they follow her argument. Hutcheon’s argument is very well constructed, in detail and carries a distinct format of carrying out her argument: Presents her argument with anecdote, justifies her arguments and even addressing the other side of her arguments and calls to action with words like “Many of you, I believe” 

Werron’s article, on the other hand, comes from an academic journal and thus he gives ample amounts of evidence, narrowing down on the idea of competition. Starting with competition as a social form, as the basic “type of interaction distinguishable from, and comparable from imitation and co-operation” (Werron, 188). His article presents itself as a historical timeline of the growth and evolution of competition from the mid-eighteenth century- as it involves from an “institutionalized modern imaginary” and expands into “non-economic fields”- as an inevitable part of society and develops this idea of competition as academic theories (Werron, 191). 

Competition, as presented in these authors articles, come from the same origin but they take on different routes in presenting their argument. Werron’s article is more about presenting and identifying historical background and the evolvement of “competition”.  Bateson, on the other hand, has a clear goal, she is trying to persuade her audience through biological evidence that humans should exist to cooperate with one another for society’s greater good.

Bateson is speaking to an audience that shares a common ground with her, her audience understands her evidence but Hutcheon on the other side seems as if she is speaking to a larger audience and attempting in persuading them to divert from the modern way of competition; succeeding on others’ failures.

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