In becoming an increasingly needy and often entitled society, we as humans have quickly become less attentive to detail. This sample communications essay explores how important articulation and attentiveness are to one’s intellect and individual success.
Society’s Lacks of Articulation: A critical perspective
In Northrop Frye’s essay entitled Don’t You Think It’s Time to Start Thinking,? the author challenged not only the means in which we communicate in society but the way we are taught. As educational institutions are constantly challenged in terms of how well they prepare youths for relationships and the real world, this essay brings into light a really important issue: being able to articulate ideas and challenge traditional notions of literacy is a misconstrued facet of society. While reading and writing is a skillset that is acquired through the lifespan, most of it is learned while attending high school and college.
However, Frye lamented that these skillsets are not truly acquired as society is trained to teach us only rudimentary skills that barely constitute as literacy. Nonetheless, it is important to challenge such views with criticisms that reflect a real world experience as well. While Frye’s assertion that articulation is undervalued in society is subject to criticism, the skillset is surely indicative of intelligence and individuality.
Language is a lost art
The author’s primary argument was that students do not have a strong grip of “language as a structure” (Frye 1). Mainly, Frye noted that ideas gain substance only as a result of being translated into words. This requires a level of articulation that schools, and society, simply does not train people adequately for. In an anecdotal example:
Frye remarked that students believe that “reading and writing are elementary skills that [are] mastered in childhood…” (Frye 2).
Frye’s remarks reflect the notion that literacy and articulation are skill sets that are not only neglected in schools but are also reinforced by cultural norms (such as social hierarchy) that literacy only requires the bare minimum to get by in life.
Frye’s argument also challenged the notion of thinking as a whole. For instance, the author noted that while thinking is a very important skillset, many confuse it with ubiquitous facets of life such as worrying and basic communication. However, Frye strongly asserted that gaining true intellect requires that one has the ability to express ideas verbally and in writing.
Finally, Frye lamented that because much meaning and substance in society is hidden behind clichés and such, society ultimately “doesn’t have much interest in literacy” (Frye 2).
On the whole, Frye believed that the current state of literacy and articulation has been reduced down to a level that reflects adherence to basic obedience and compliance with society.
Technology’s impact on communication
Frye’s assertion that literacy is undervalued in society comes under scrutiny due to the fact that technology has diminished oral and verbal communication. As more people are using different forms of communication such as texting and email, traditional forms of contact such as letters and verbal communication have become less practiced. Unfortunately, while this offers benefits to society in terms of information transfer, there have been some unintended implications, namely a lack of articulation.
In saying that “young adolescents today often betray a curious sense of shame about speaking articulately” does not account for the fact that technology has overshadowed verbal communication (Frye 2).
Social media has a deep impact on society, and the direct experience of practicing articulation has declined dramatically. Given this, it is only natural that those skills have become more and more deprecated. While this is not a justification or apologist viewpoint of the matter, it is still a reality that has come to fruition in the last five years. Finally, while there are literacy standards that need to be met within school curriculums, the emphasis on language skills are still present. In attending schools, almost every class has emphasized in-class participation as a core facet of classroom activities. While some students may be shy or reserved than others, there are means within school systems that attempt to override the notion that articulation is an individual endeavor.
Frye’s assertion that thinking and articulation are integrated facets of intelligence is wholly true. For example, I have personally encountered many examples where teachers have demonstrated excellent credentials while not having the skillset to effectively communicate it. Whether it was passivity or a lack of energy within the classroom, I felt that some teachers were not properly trained to communicate the vast knowledge that they have accumulated. Consequently, my perception of their intelligence was surely skewed negatively.
“Given this, I agree with Frye’s assertion that ‘there is no such thing as an inarticulate idea waiting to have the right words wrapped around it’” (2). Technology is negatively affecting our communications.
Having knowledge regarding a subject is only a part of the battle; in fact, without proper communication skills to articulate ideas, having the information becomes a moot point. Thinking surely does play an important role in this respect because ideas can only be communicated as a result of articulation. Having the ability to articulate surely defines one as having intelligence and individuality.
Attention to detail is important
As we have seen, Frye’s argument that language is not being mastered today is subject to some criticisms. For instance, in remarking that the skillset is undervalued in society, the author failed to address the technological innovations that have overshadowed traditional forms of communication. As means for communication have become electronic and less personal, verbal and written forms of communication have dramatically changed. However, Frye’s assertion that articulation is indicative of intelligence is wholly supported. As many teachers in my experience have had strong credentials, many have failed to communicate their knowledge effectively because they lacked articulation and language skills. Consequently, Fry’s argument surely has some merit to it while not addressing modern day facets of society that have changed the way in which language is used.
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