Megan Childers Jonathan Smith EN 1103-03 7 October 2011 Unsuccessful Effectiveness: An Analysis on Ineffective Usage on Ethos, Pathos, and Logos If our founding fathers had read the title of C. S Lewis’s essay, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness,’” they would have rolled over in their graves. Lewis leads a vaguely persuasive argument. He believes that because of society’s sinful morality, divorce is legally and socially accepted. Also, he believes happiness is determined by law; therefore, we have no moral right to happiness.
Lewis’s essay on society’s corrupted acceptance on the reasons for divorce provides many admirably persuasive points; however, he leads an unconvincing argument through his dominantly feeble use of ethos, pathos, and logos. Lewis’s argument has mildly effective but mainly ineffective ethos. He has a credible image as a previous professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and he uses clear examples. For instance, he wrote a concise anecdote of Mr. A, Mrs. A and Mr. B, Mrs. B. He uses details such as “Mrs. B had adored her husband at the outset. But then he got smashed up in war” (Lewis 22) and Mrs.
A had “…. consumed herself by bearing his [Mr. B] children and nursing him through the long illness that overshadowed their earlier married life” (Lewis 22). Although he used clear details about the couples, the existence of the couple is questionable because of the lack of timeline and mysterious names. Another reason for his ineffective ethos is his lack of examination of all angles of the reasons for divorce. For example, Mr. A could have beat Mrs. A or Mr. B could have been molesting his daughter. There are many unspoken reasons for divorce besides sexual discontent.
Thirdly, his conversation with Clare seems highly unlikely for several reasons. He never uses much detail about their conversation particularly the time, place, and direct dialogue which makes the reader ponder about the surreal conversation and if he created Clare to amplify the correctness of his argument. ‘ In Lewis’s essay, he provided inefficient pathos. He displays ineffective, demoralizing, marginalizing, and hazardous opinions within his word choice. He states “…women don’t really care two pence about our [men] looks- by which we hold women” (Lewis 25).
He generalizes all men into one category, displaying them as selfish, careless, and having a double standard which does not characterize all men. Secondly, Lewis states that Clare “…believes that behind the laws of state there is a Natural Law” (Lewis 22). After he gives us his opinion on Clare’s belief, he states that Clare and her friends “…meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled” (Lewis 24).
First off, the definition of Natural Law states a body of unchanging moral principles is regarded as a basis of all human conduct. According to the definition and Lewis’s statements, one of his opinions is false because he claims that Clare believes in morality, but then he writes Claire believes everyone should follow his or her unlimited sexual impulses even if it is unethical. Thirdly, he writes “for one thing, I believe that Clare, when she says ‘happiness’ means simply and solely ‘sexual happiness. ’ Partly because women like Clare never use the word ‘happiness’ in any other sense. (Lewis 23). Lewis thinks happiness is determined by law and that happiness may not always be moral. He downgrades Clare and women like Clare by inadvertently claiming that they believe happiness is only defined by sexual satisfaction without proving any evidence. These accusations will damage his pathos because his opinion was irrelevant and unnecessary to prove his point. Even though Lewis has ineffective ethos and pathos, he has some effective logos. He has logical pieces of evidence of Clare’s hypocrisy. In the essay, Clare said “…they [Mr. A, Mrs. A and Mr. B, Mrs.
B] had a right to happiness” (Lewis 21). Later, Lewis writes Clare “…would have been scandalized if anyone had defended the actions of a ruthless man-eating tycoon on the ground that his happiness consisted in making money and he was pursuing his happiness. She was also a rabid teetotaler; I never heard her excuse an alcoholic because he was happy when he was drunk” (Lewis 23). Clare is a hypocrite because not only do the two couples who want a divorce have a legal and moral right, but the men who are greedy for money and drink for happiness also have a legal and moral right to do as they please.
Also, he has good reasoning in his argument. For example, Lewis writes “when two people achieve lasting happiness this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also- I must crudely put it- good people; controlled, loyal, fair-minded, mutually adaptable people” (Lewis 25). Lewis’s reasoning is effective because people, who have admirable attributes like the ones listed above, usually have a successful relationship.
On the other hand, Lewis has ineffective logos because he never provides actual evidence; therefore, the ineffectiveness outweighs the effectiveness. The only evidence he gives is questionable because the reader does not know if Clare and the couple exist. C. S Lewis argues that society is corrupted because society accepts divorce legally and morally, happiness is determined by law, and happiness is legally satisfactory but morally unacceptable. Lewis uses unsuitable ethos through his questionable characters and conversation, and his absence of research on all aspects for divorce.
He acquires defeasible pathos by generalizing all men as having a double standard, faulty word choice about Clare’s beliefs, and his downgrading opinion on Clare and women similar to Clare. In his logos, his missing evidence outweighs his good reasoning because without evidence, reasoning is ineffective. In his essay, Lewis creates an unconvincing argument through his defeasible use of ethos, pathos, and logos. Work Cited Lewis, C. S. “We Have No Right to Happiness. ” Forming a Critical Perspective. Spurlock, Ann. New York: Learning Solutions, 2010. 21-25. Print.