In the articles “The
secret to deeper happiness in simpler than you might think” by Ginny Graves and
“Happiness is other people” by Ruth Whippman. Graves’s article is more
convincing than Whippman’s article because of the structure and mode of persuasion
to phrase the argument and a usage of credible evidence.
In Graves’s article, the structure
used was more persuasive as it could guide the reader effectively. She clearly
stated the thesis statement, which is the title of the article “The secret to happiness
is simpler than you might think”. Graves further stated three reasons to support
the thesis statement in the next few paragraphs. The reasons were in the form
of headers, “Pursue meaning, not happiness”, “Make your brain a sunnier place.”
and “Stay rooted in the right now” (Graves, 2017). She further elaborated her
reasons and then quoted evidence from credible sources. These reasons are
further elaborated by: a brief explanation followed by evidence quoted from
credible sources. For example, the first reason, “Pursue meaning, not
happiness”(Graves, 2017, P3). Graves explained how to achieve happiness via
pursuing meaning. “To avoid that trap,
allow happiness to bubble up naturally by pursuing activities that dovetail
with your values” said Graves. Following this statement, she then
supported it with compelling evidence, quoting credible resources which will be
elaborate in the next point. This structure, coupled with the uses of logos, is
reflected across the whole article.
Using logos is effective towards the
readers because readers of health.com are health conscious individuals. They want
to have clear and logical tips to improve their lifestyle. Thus I felt that
Graves’s logos mode of appeal is effectively suited for the readers of
In contrast, the structure of
Whippman’s article is unclear. Similar to Graves’s article, Whippman’s thesis
statement is found in the title, “Happiness is other people”. In the subsequent
paragraphs, the reasons however were not directly supporting the thesis
statement. Whippman heavily emphasis on the point ” Happiness is not within one
self” instead. Besides having an article which is not supportive to her thesis
statement, each of her idea is also poorly elaborated. For example, Whippman
mentioned how spiritual and religious practice was shifting from a community
based endeavour to a private one. She then supported this argument by stating
that Americans are spending more than 1 billion on self-help book (Whippman,
2017, P7). By spending more on self-help book, this does not relate that
religious practice was changing. Whippman failed to establish a link from the
argument to the evidence.
Next, Whippman’s pathos mode of appeal
is ineffective to the readers of nytimes. In the article, she mentioned that churches
are being replaced by yoga classes (Whippman, 2017, P7). In yoga classes, which
consist of 72% females showed that her article was targeted more towards
females (Yoga study, 2017). However, the demographics of the readers are spread
apart. By using Pathos mode of appeal, it loses its efficiency against other
group of readers.
Also, credibility of evidence is
another factor that made Graves’s article more persuasive.
Graves used evidence that is more
credible compared to Whippman’s. Graves cited credible sources by professionals
to support her argument. For example, Graves cited Susan David, Ph.D, a famous
psychologist proficient in happiness and achievement (Graves, 2017, P2). David
also wrote a book, Emotional Agility, which enforced on the concept of
happiness in daily lives (About Emotional
Agility, n.d.). Graves also cited Mallika Chopra, MBA, founder of
intent.com, a platform for people to share their goals and achieve happiness by
accomplishing them (About Intent, n.d., P6). Both professionals mention above
are individuals with more knowledge on happiness. By citing professionals with more
knowledge in happiness, the statements
are more credible.
However, Whippman’s article failed
to provide such credibility as Whippman cited unverifiable examples to
illustrate her points. For example, when Whippman cited an inspirational quote
on her Facebook news feed (Whippman, 2017, P3), the credibility was low as the author
of the quote was not properly identified. Another example was when Whippman
cited an email received from a self-help mailing list (Whippman, 2017, P4). she
did not provide more details on where she retrieved the information from.
Sweeping comments such as ” Study after study shows…” (Whippman, 2017, P12) and
“according to research…” (Whippman, 2017, P13) were also not backed by any
evidence. As shown, these examples Whippman cited were unprofessional. Without
any evidence given to a claim, the claim is weak and non-persuasive.
conclusion, Graves’s article is more convincing as she uses a well refined structure
and logos in her argument. By using compelling logos, she
appealed to the readers more effectively. Citing individuals with more
knowledge on happiness also made her article more credible. Thus, Graves
article appeared to be more persuasive compared to Whippman’s article.
Graves, G. (2017, June
6). The secret to deeper happiness is simpler than you might think. Health.
Retrieved January 30, 2018,
Whippman, R. (2017,
October 27). Health is other people. The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/opinion/sunday/happiness-is-other-people.html
About Emotional Agility. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from
About Intent. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2018 from https://intent.com/about/
2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance.
(2017, April 13). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from https://www.yogajournal.com/page/yogainamericastudy