Free Critical Analysis: Shooting Dad Essay Example
The essay “Shooting Dad” authored by Sarah Vowell narrates the opposition of Vowell to her father. Vowell attributes the dissonance between herself and her father to her disapproval of guns. However, the witty essay is delivered on public radio. In essence, the purpose of the essay is to demonstrate the inevitable compromise between Vowell and her dad through the radio platform. The purpose of the essay has been achieved through the use of various writing techniques including unusual introduction, provocative title, unusual organization, unusual diction, historical allusion and delayed thesis. This discussion will delineate the extent to which each of the writing skills aids in accomplishing the purpose of the essay.
Vowell introduces the essay in an unusual manner so as to enable the reader to follow through the essay. The unusual introduction writing technique is manifested in the essay in the sense that Vowell draws the attention of the reader by depicting the gravity of the division between her and his father. She says “If you were passing by the house where I grew up during my teenage years, and it happened to be before Election Day, you wouldn’t have needed to come inside to see that it was a house divided”( Vowell 164). Usually, it is expected that information of this kind would be used to emphasize assertions towards the end of the essay. However, Vowell went against the grain and chose to draw the attention of the reader first by the sobriety of division between a daughter and a father in her introduction. Before suggesting that a compromise was needed between the two, it is important for the readers to know the adversities being compromised. In the same vein, Vowell wisely uses a striking introduction as a way of preparing the readers for before the main point of the essay is made.
Vowell also uses a provocative title to achieve the purpose of the essay. The title “Shooting Dad” (164) arouses the emotion of the reader right before even reading the essay. The reader cannot help but wonder why the author would shoot his father. It is against this backdrop that the reader gets to understand the destined compromise between Vowell and her father. In fact, through challenging what the reader perceives the essay to be about as deduced from the provocative title, the reader gets to understand the moral of the essay to a greater extent as compared to when the title is straight forward and decorous.
The organization of the essay is unusual with intent to help achieve the purpose of the essay. At the onset of the essay, Vowell uses long sentences to describe the manner in which her first experience with guns unfolded. In her narration about the gun, she states “It kicked little her back to the ground like a bully, like a foe” (Vowell 166). In this sense, she intended to give the reader her background on how much she detested guns. However, as the story progresses and she goes old, she uses short sentences to allude to her experience about the gun. Vowell uses short statements, such as “It hurt” (169). What this means is that as she grew older and experienced an increase in consciousness, she began to compromise on the division between her and her father on the issue of guns as manifested by the faint and short allusion to the experience with guns.
The diction employed in the essay is unusual and facilitates the comprehension of the purpose of the essay by the audience. Vowell narrates that "Nowadays, I giggle when Dad calls me on Election Day to cheerfully inform me that he has once again canceled out my vote" (Vowell 165). The word “giggle” is not used by coincidence; rather, Vowell uses it to demonstrate that the disagreement between her and her father is less serious than it used to be when she was younger. The transition of the severity of the disagreement is facilitated by the compromise that Vowell has come to terms with as an adult. Furthermore, she states "Dad, and I started bickering in earnest when I was fourteen, after the 1984 Democratic National Convention” (165). The use of the word “bickering” is not happenstance because Vowell intends to make the reader understand that the agreement in question had trivial gravity. As such, the unusual diction utilized in the essay aids in achieving the purpose of the study, that is compromised.
Further, Vowell uses historical allusion to communicate the intention of the essay to the audience. She tells "Some things were said during the Reagan administration that cannot be taken back. Let’s just say that I blamed Dad for nuclear proliferation and Contra aid” (Vowell 167). Through the use of historical allusion, she manifests that she has been wrong all through, and there is no ground for differing with her father because he is not the force behind nuclear proliferation; rather, Reagan is. Vowell’s disapproval of guns that led to disagree with his father is neutralized by the recognition that her father is just passionate about guns and has no bad cause for it.
Finally, Vowell delays her thesis in the essay in order to communicate the moral of the essay. As a rule, the thesis of an essay comes at the beginning of the essay. On the contrary, Vowell purposes to delay the thesis and finally deliver it towards the end of the essay. The thesis of the essay is concealed in her remarks that "Oh. My. God. My dad and I are the same persons. We’re both smart-alecky loners with goofy projects and weird equipment. And since this whole target practice outing was my idea, I was no longer his adversary. I was his accomplice” (169). By so doing, Vowell accomplishes the purpose of the study by postulating that a compromise was destiny between her and her father.
Vowell, Sarah. “Shooting Dad”. Fathers, 2015. Web. 4 March 2015.