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Ode To Thanksgiving Essay

798 words - 4 pages

The author of this essay, Michael Arlen, in his summary of the holidays, Ode to `Thanksgiving is nostalgic and bitter about the subject. Arlen’s purpose it to break down and criticize every aspect of Thansksgiving in a cloying, annoyed way. Arlen speaks of the “pointless” traditons that go along with Thanksgiving and the bland history of how the celebratory day was formed. The author does this by using strong rhetorical devices such as imagery, syntax, and tone. While reading this one may feel as if Arlen is personally attacking them, and their appreciation of the day of celebration. He adopts a satirical tone in order to convince the reader that Thanksgiving is a terrible day, and that he does not enjoy any particular detail of it.

The essay opens with the assertion that Thanksgiving is not really a holiday because it possesses none of the characteristics of a real holiday. Arlen attacks the imagery of the holiday, the participants, the lack of presents, and the lack of costumary values. Next, the holiday is attacked because it occurs during the "nowhereness of the time of year." The season is characterized as bad in both the "cold and sobersides northern half of the country." Last, the writer moves us to "consider the meal itself." He attacks the starches, the "sacred turkey" and ritual of the carving itself. The author creates a bitter and nostalgic tone, the emotion of the first paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the essay. The tone is set by the specific details the author uses, as well as the diction Arlen expounds. Arlen leaves the reader asking, "Is nothing sacred or important to this man?”
In the second paragraph Arlen demonizes the religious aspect of the holiday, calling Thanksgiving a mockery and references the prayer “ Thank you, O Lord, for what we are about to receive.” Arlen ridicules this prayer by breaking it down word by word, saying one does not technically receive anything, because giving gifts is reserved for other holidays. Arlen attempts to justify that this prayer in unfit for the holiday, and that it makes no sense. The next sentence identifies just how bitter Arlen is about Thansksgiving, when he calls Thanksgiving day “ a vaugely unsettling interregnum of long, mournful walks repast with the dread inevitability of pie following turkey.” The author uses syntax in a strong way in...

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