Discuss about rhetorical analysis in which you closely exams the six page except from john Gatton against school.

Words: 1740
Pages: 7
Subject: Education

Assignment Question

Discuss about rhetorical analysis in which you closely exams the six page except from john Gatton against school.



Rhetorical analysis is a meticulous examination of the persuasive strategies employed in a text to dissect its effectiveness in influencing an audience. In this essay, the focus is on scrutinizing a six-page excerpt from John Gatto’s “Against School,” a thought-provoking critique of the traditional education system. Published in Harper’s Magazine in 2003, Gatto, a former New York City school teacher, presents a compelling argument against conventional schooling, contending that it hinders creativity and fails to adequately prepare students for real-world challenges. As we delve into the rhetorical intricacies of Gatto’s work, the analysis will encompass various persuasive elements, including emotional appeals, logical reasoning, rhetorical strategies, audience awareness, and the author’s tone and style. This exploration seeks to unveil the artistry behind Gatto’s rhetoric and shed light on how these persuasive techniques contribute to the overall impact of his critique.

Contextualizing John Gatto’s “Against School”

John Gatto, a former New York City school teacher, provides a unique perspective on education, emphasizing the flaws within the traditional schooling model. His renowned essay, “Against School,” serves as a platform for his critique, arguing that conventional education stifles creativity and fails to adequately prepare students for the challenges of the real world (Gatto, 2003). Gatto’s background as an educator lends credibility to his argument, as he draws upon personal experiences and observations to bolster his claims. The contextualization of Gatto’s stance is essential for understanding the roots of his dissatisfaction with the education system.

Gatto, drawing from his teaching experience, sheds light on the detrimental effects of the schooling system, offering readers a firsthand account of its limitations (Gatto, 2003). His critical examination of the system’s impact on students’ creativity and passion for learning brings a sense of urgency to his argument. The personal touch in Gatto’s critique serves not only to enhance the credibility of his claims but also to humanize the larger issue at hand (Gatto, 2003). By aligning himself with the frustrations of students and educators alike, Gatto establishes a shared understanding with his audience, laying the foundation for a persuasive rhetorical strategy.

 Identifying Persuasive Appeals

Gatto employs a range of persuasive appeals to captivate his audience and bolster his argument. Notably, emotional appeals play a significant role in his rhetoric, as he vividly describes the soul-crushing impact of schooling on students (Gatto, 2003). Through poignant language and emotionally charged anecdotes, Gatto elicits empathy from his readers, encouraging them to connect with the human side of his argument. This emotional engagement serves as a powerful tool in conveying the urgency of Gatto’s message. In addition to emotional appeals, Gatto strategically incorporates logical reasoning into his argument. He supports his claims with statistical data and historical evidence, providing a rational foundation for his critique of the education system (Gatto, 2003). By presenting a compelling case based on facts and figures, Gatto enhances the credibility of his argument, appealing to the logical sensibilities of his audience. The fusion of emotional appeals and logical reasoning contributes to the overall effectiveness of Gatto’s persuasive strategy.

 Analyzing Rhetorical Strategies

Gatto employs various rhetorical strategies to underscore key points within his argument. One such strategy is the use of repetition, a device that emphasizes the pervasive nature of monotony in schools. Gatto repeats phrases such as “boredom is the common condition” (Gatto, 2003, p. 1) to drive home the central theme of his critique. This repetition serves as a rhetorical hammer, reinforcing the idea that the widespread issue of boredom is inherent in the traditional education system. Additionally, Gatto utilizes parallelism when listing the qualities that schools fail to instill in students. This rhetorical technique, characterized by the repetition of similar grammatical structures, creates a rhythmic and memorable impact (Gatto, 2003). The parallel structure serves to highlight the deficiencies of the education system systematically, making Gatto’s argument more accessible and compelling to his audience.

Considering Audience Awareness

An integral aspect of effective rhetoric is an acute awareness of the target audience. Gatto tailors his message to resonate not only with educators and policymakers but also with parents and students. By addressing shared frustrations and concerns, Gatto establishes a common ground with his diverse audience, fostering a sense of unity in dissatisfaction with the education system (Gatto, 2003). This audience awareness is a crucial element in crafting a persuasive message that speaks directly to the experiences and concerns of those who are directly impacted by the issues at hand. Furthermore, Gatto’s awareness of his audience is evident in his strategic use of language. He avoids overly complex jargon, opting for a conversational tone that enhances the accessibility of his message (Gatto, 2003). This choice reflects an understanding of the diverse educational backgrounds of his readers, ensuring that his critique can reach a broad audience and resonate with individuals from various walks of life.

Evaluating Tone and Style

The tone of Gatto’s writing is assertive and critical, reflecting his passion for the subject matter. He uses strong language to convey his dissatisfaction with the education system, describing it as a “daily torment” and a “massive fraud” (Gatto, 2003, p. 1). The choice of such strong words contributes to the overall impact of his argument, evoking an emotional response from the reader. Gatto’s assertive tone serves to underscore the gravity of the issues he raises, compelling the audience to confront the shortcomings of the education system head-on. Gatto’s writing style is characterized by a seamless blend of personal anecdotes and statistical evidence. This combination serves to humanize the larger systemic issues he addresses while grounding his critique in tangible, verifiable data (Gatto, 2003). The use of anecdotes allows Gatto to connect with readers on a personal level, making his argument more relatable. Simultaneously, the inclusion of statistical evidence reinforces the factual basis of his claims, enhancing the overall persuasiveness of his rhetorical approach.

 Addressing Counterarguments

In any persuasive text, acknowledging and addressing potential counterarguments is crucial. Gatto demonstrates rhetorical skill by recognizing the common counterargument that schools are necessary for socialization. He counters this notion by highlighting alternative forms of socialization outside the traditional school setting (Gatto, 2003). By addressing potential objections and providing viable alternatives, Gatto strengthens his overall argument, showcasing a comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding the issue at hand. Gatto’s ability to anticipate and refute opposing viewpoints contributes to the robustness of his argument. This rhetorical strategy not only demonstrates the depth of his analysis but also showcases a willingness to engage with differing perspectives. By preemptively addressing counterarguments, Gatto positions himself as a thoughtful and informed critic, further bolstering the credibility of his overall message (Gatto, 2003).


In conclusion, the rhetorical analysis of John Gatto’s “Against School” highlights the effectiveness of his persuasive techniques in critiquing the conventional education system. Through emotional appeals, logical reasoning, and skillful language choices, Gatto engages his audience and delivers a compelling argument against traditional schooling. The examination of rhetorical strategies, such as repetition, parallelism, and audience awareness, sheds light on the deliberate choices made by Gatto to enhance the impact of his message. The assertive tone and blended style of personal anecdotes and statistical evidence contribute to the accessibility and credibility of his critique. By addressing potential counterarguments, Gatto demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the discourse surrounding education, further strengthening his position. This analysis underscores the power of rhetoric in influencing readers’ perspectives and encourages a deeper appreciation for the nuanced artistry within persuasive writing.


Gatto, J. T. (2003). Against school: How public education cripples our kids, and why. Harper’s Magazine, 306(1836), 34-40.

Frequently Ask Questions ( FQA)

1. What is rhetorical analysis, and why is it important in understanding written discourse?

Rhetorical analysis is a critical examination of the strategies and techniques used in a text to persuade and engage an audience. It helps readers dissect the persuasive elements, such as emotional appeals, logical reasoning, and stylistic choices, employed by authors to convey their messages effectively.

2. Who is John Gatto, and what is the central theme of his work “Against School”?

John Gatto, a former New York City school teacher, is known for his critiques of the modern education system. In “Against School,” he argues against the traditional schooling model, asserting that it stifles creativity and fails to prepare students for the real world.

3. How does John Gatto use emotional appeals in “Against School”?

Gatto vividly describes the negative impact of schooling on students’ creativity and passion for learning, creating an emotional connection with the readers. This technique enhances the persuasive power of his argument.

4. What are some rhetorical strategies employed by John Gatto in his critique of the education system?

Gatto uses rhetorical strategies such as repetition and parallelism to emphasize key points in his argument. Repetition underscores the pervasive nature of monotony in schools, while parallelism creates a rhythmic and memorable impact.

5. Who is the target audience of John Gatto’s “Against School,” and how does he appeal to them?

Gatto addresses educators, policymakers, parents, and students. By appealing to shared frustrations and concerns, he establishes a common ground, making his argument more relatable and persuasive.