In light of the local law enforcement’s recent need to crack down on violations committed by junior drivers and with the clear misunderstanding of the risks of young drivers shown in the letter from a parent your paper recently published I strongly encourage you to reprint Anna Quindlen’s essay “Driving to the Funeral.” Quindlen’s essay, first printed in Newsweek, is a credible and persuasive article which uses reliable statistics, logical reasoning, and emotional appeal to properly inform readers of the dangers of reducing the driving age of juveniles in their state.
The ethos of Anna Quindlen, the author of this essay, is unrefuted, as I am sure you are aware, Anna is an award-winning novelist, journalist and columnist of some repute, writing for the New York Times and Newsweek magazine just to name a few. As a mother herself, she is passionate about the youth of America and is said to have the ‘gift for expression’ and whose writing is ‘clear and eloquent’. It is therefore pertinent that Anna’s article be reprinted to help parents be better informed and more aware of the dangers for young teenager drivers.
The title of this essay ‘Driving to the Funeral’ immediately draws the reader’s attention as funerals always bring a somewhat morbid attraction, particularly when the funeral is for someone young. Then Quindlen’s opening rhetorical question compels the reader to read on to find its answer. Anna’s essay focuses on the increasing number of teenagers who fail to graduate because they have been killed in automobile accidents and the sad flow-on effect that has on both the parents and their peers. Quindlen maintains the cause of most accidents to be the puerility of teenagers which result with recklessness associated with the naiveite of this age group and any number of ‘rules’ placed on these drivers as well as the increased drinking age having no affect in reducing the death toll. The author suggests a simple nationwide solution to the problem, that the minimum legal driving age should be 18 years old in all states and even suggests that the only reason parents want the age limit to be made uniformly 16 years might well be convenience.
Quindlen uses strong verified logos to strengthen her argument opening with a widely understood statement that car crashes are simply and inarguably the No.1 cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds in USA. Knowing this we are drawn to share her confusion when “few adults” focus on this fact until they are planning an “untimely funeral.” The author uses the rhetorical device of hyperbole when she writes “why not let 13-year-olds drive?” which catches the reader’s attention before driving home her point about these ill-equipped, unfledged young teen drivers with another statistic from the well trusted authority, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which shows that 16-year-old drivers are three times more likely to have an accident than 17-year-olds. Another fact brought into the argument was that of the increased drinking age which has been said to have saved many teenage lives but the author is not convinced by this as there are numerous other factors which could have contributed to this including the improved safety of cars and has in fact ‘lulled many parents into a false sense of security’. Not only does Quindlen believe this is in fact a dangerous belief but she also believes it has caused a ‘forbidden-fruit climate’ which brings with it a new danger, ‘binge’ drinking.
Not only does Quindlen use statistics to validate her argument but she carefully employs pathos to appeal to readers emotionally. The entire first paragraph is emotive, initially in a prudent, understated manner, as she almost nonchalantly adds ‘a funeral’ to the end of the list of milestones a high school teenager might expect to experience, but then the force of emotion grows in intensity as she describes in poignant detail those having to attend a young class mate’s funeral. Quindlen uses emotion to remind the reader that unless they have experienced the death of a teenager in a car accident they are unlikely to think about what age is appropriate for their teenager to drive other then its rite of passage and relief as they no longer need to ‘taxi’ them around.
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