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This paper gives a critical rhetorical analysis of Conversational Ballgames and Private Language, Public Language. It does this by contrasting the two great works which are believed to have immensely impacted on the lives of their readers. Conversational Ballgames was written by Nancy Sakamoto while Private Language, Public Language was authored by Richard Rodriquez. These are reputable scholars who are indisputably respected authorities. For instance, she has taught Japan for many years. Currently, she is a professor of American Studies at Shitennoji Gakuen University, Hawaii Institute. These essays are quite educative because they offer the reader an opportunity to understand different subjects aimed at addressing certain issues affecting the society today. The paper offers a deeper analysis on the major themes of these essays and links them to the literary styles adopted by these authors. The coverage unveils the relationship among the writer, reader and the article itself.
To begin with, Nancy gives an account of how conversation can be used to define the interaction of people and mastery of language. Having been born and raised in America, it was obvious that she would be familiar with the American culture. This, as she would later learn, affected her interactions when she relocated to Japan. First and foremost, she was to struggle to know the Japanese language which she had never spoken before. Although it was so challenging, she did not give up. Instead, she decided to come up and participate in conversations. However, this could not work out since she had been inclined to the western culture. In order for her to improve her communication with these people, she had to adopt the Japanese conversation styles. However, as she says, this is so different from the American style which she says is more westernized. This is the situation Nancy found in which Nancy found herself after getting married in Japan.
In order to explain her points, Nancy adopts the use of symbolism and metaphor. She uses a ball game to represent conversation. She says that conversation is like a ball game which involves more than one person each with a distinct role to play. She eludes the American conversation style to a tennis and volleyball which is either played by two or sets of players. She says, ‘A western-style conversation between two people is like a game of tennis.’ Just the same way a tennis player should be acquainted with all the rules and regulations governing this game, individuals intending to use an American conversation style should know all the rules involved. She says that the ball should be hit in turn without any interruption. Each of the players is expected to hit the ball to the opponent and waits for him to hit back before he takes another step to hit back. This is synonymous to American style of conversation which requires the involved parties to chat in turns. While one person is still talking, it is the responsibility of the other one to listen and give him time to finish. After finishing, he is allowed to hit back by answering. However, the answer can be in agreement or disagreement of what was said.
On the other hand, Japanese conversation takes a different approach. Unlike the western style, it requires active participation by both parties. However, just like volleyball, when one person hits the ball, the other should hit back, not by replying, but by saying something different. ‘Whoever is nearest and quickest hits the ball, and if you step back, someone else will hit it.’ This implies that a conversation should move smoothly with each person knowing his role and when to make a contribution without offending others.
This is aimed at ensuring the continuity of a conversation without reminding the other of his role. This is the problem which Nancy faced while she was engaged in conversations with the Japanese. Despite all the efforts made, she later realized that it was not a matter of language, but culture.
In Private Language, Public Language, the author gives a story of Richard, Spanish boy who beat all the odds to perfect his English language. Having been born in a Spanish family, Richard grew up in an environment in which Spanish was the only language. However, after being taken to a private boarding school, it became so challenging for him to use English language. First, he believed that he was not qualified to speak in English. Secondly, he was scared by the level of eloquence of his colleagues. This made him develop a phobia in the language to the extent that he often declined to speak because he believed that everyone would laugh at him. This continued even after his family decided to adopt the use of English in their daily communications. By saying that David, ‘felt misplaced and alone when it appeared that all had almost mastered the language’ means that he had become a lone pair in his classroom. I think this .............
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