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In her article “Beyond Anger,” Martha C Nussbaum discusses the causes and weakness of anger and suggests that people should manage their anger. The article was published in 2016 on Aeon (2018), an independent digital magazine that publishes thoughtful and inspiring articles cover multiple topics. The article targets audiences such as post-secondary students, researchers, and “people” (2018, p. 407) whom experience anger in their ordinary lives and feel a need for having a deep understanding of this strong emotion. In her article, Nussbaum successfully defends her ideas with convincing thesis and effectively captures her target audiences through her solid argument and persuasive discussion.
Nussbaum uses an argumentative pattern to arrange this article, and she presents her idea about the downside of anger, at the very beginning. In the middle section, she uses examples to assist her thesis statement about the irrationality of anger, from paragraph two to seven (pp. 407-409). Nussbaum also has a persuasive discussion and tells readers the real-life example of Nelson Mandela to send a message that anger will not assist them in achieving future progress. She fully states her opposing viewpoints in one paragraph and then disproves them in the following one, providing a transition as well as a connection to encourage readers to understand her claim and identify the reason she made with it. Nussbaum begins the article with her statement that describes anger as a “poisonous” (p. 407) and “destructive” (p. 407) emotion that people use to defend self-pride. She points out anger represents the negative emotion that people deal with every day because it’s our natural reaction to insults and inequality, capturing readers’ attention immediately as it leads them to connect these feelings to their own lives. In the middle section, opinions of Aristotle and other “western philosophers” (p. 407) are used to define anger as people’s desire or hope for payback to wrongdoers, establishing creditability of information she provides. In the following paragraph, Nussbaum states her thesis that payback idea is irrational and “does not make sense” as it won’t encourage people to relieve from the pain they suffered (p. 408).
In paragraph four (p. 408), she uses an example to illustrate the payback idea can’t help a rape victim get out of a terrible situation because it won’t support them to restore everything they lost and prevent future rapes (p. 408). The example supports her idea that rebuilding a broken life and focusing on the future is more important than hoping for payback to wrongdoers. Moreover, Nussbaum lists “three paths” which an angry person may choose after suffering damage and explains their negative influences, supporting her claims the anger is unhelpful for improving people’s future status, and they require a transition and “forward-looking” to remedy their unfortunate situation (p. 409).
In the rest of the article, Nelson Mandela’s example is told to demonstrate the importance of abandoning the payback idea and support her theory of “forward-looking” (p. 410). Fromparagraph nine to fourteen (pp. 409-412), she uses a chronological pattern to demonstrate Mandela’s transition, from “struggling against a demand payback for 27 years’ imprisonment” (p. 408) to eventually rejecting the intention of payback (p. 409), from a prisoner to a great leader who unite South Africa against racial inequality and division (pp. 409-412). Nelson Mandela’s successful example does not only support her argument that forward-looking is “necessary for the future progress,” but also persuade readers to focus on the future rather than payback (p. 410). In the end, she concludes that Mandela’s success is not exclusively working for politics, but also has positive “implications for many parts of our lives” (p. 412), telling readers her belief that anger is weak, and “the voice of generosity and forward-looking well be strong as well as beautiful” (p. 412).
Nussbaum captures her target audience effectively by giving a compelling argument and persuasive discussion. She consistently draws audiences’ attention by stating opposing positions and her arguments fully and clearly. The transition in the article successfully directs readers to move from one idea to the opposite and helps the audiences understand her claim. Nussbaum uses convincing examples and illustrations to support her claim that being angry is not a rational action when we suffer wrongs and injustice. In conclusion, her thesis draws the audience attention because of the popularity of anger and provides us with an invaluable opportunity to understand the causes, negativity, and many other reasons behind anger.
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