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The Company Man by Ellen Goodman

By:   •  April 10, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,504 Words (7 Pages)  •  152 Views

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The Company Man”

In “The Company Man” by Ellen Goodman, the narrator portrays clear resentment and opposition towards Phil, as shown by her use of sarcasm, appeal to pathos, and unpleasant diction. Goodman depicts a hard working American man who lost sight of what really matters in life because he was too busy climbing the corporate ladder. Phil’s life is shown as one without much meaning or purpose, and many rhetorical devices are used to build the satirical tone used by the narrator to criticize his lifestyle.

A sarcastic tone is utilized throughout the essay in order to build the satire. “He worked himself to death, finally and precisely, at 3:00a.m. Sunday morning,” shows the large toll that working took on his wellbeing. Since Phil did not actually die from working too much, this use of sarcasm criticizes him because it implies that he cared more about his job than his own life. He was not able to live a full and happy life because his work constantly took priority over everything else, including his wife and their three children. Another instance of sarcasm is used when the author says, “He had a lot of people working for him, maybe sixty, and most of them liked him most of the time.” Phil was so caught up in the world of capitalism that he lacked the ability to form genuine and close connections with the people around him. This shows the apathetic attitude that he had towards most people, even the ones that he spent almost everyday with.

The author also uses appeal to pathos as a way of further criticizing Phil’s lifestyle choices. “His second child is a girl... they had nothing to say to each other,” depicts the sad and unfulfilling relationship that Phil had with his children. The emotionally charged words reveal that his children were not a priority in his life. Phil’s wife also feels


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