We Exalt Laziness

We abhor writing rhetorical essays which have helped embellish our acquired Laziness. We intend to transfix our thoughts on the happy man. Only the true happy man benefits the world and the quintessence of this man is neglect.  Neglect doesn’t battle the inevitable fashioning of the cosmos. Writing on this amiable topic has irradiated a cloud of enthusiasm and energy is us. We presume sheer Laziness led to the greatest triumphs of our world. Christopher Morley, in his essay “On Laziness”, persuades that success necessitates laziness through repetitive syntax, allusion-prone diction, and an inclusive point of view.

Morley enhances his inductive reasoning with the use of anaphora. Anaphora adds emphasis to a story telling rhythm and theme. Phrases such as “he began”, “he was”, and “he became” string the reader along in a story. Morley then uses these specific examples to end with a crescendo of a conclusion: laziness is good. This example of inductive reasoning adds logos to Morley’s argument that men who do not stand in the way of progress and develop laziness accomplish great feats. To close his essay, Morley repeats “the lazy man” to add emphasis to his actions. The lazy man does not fight the world and applies his energy elsewhere. Morley develops again his idea that acquiring laziness helps a man focus his energies on the important aspects of life and his own enjoyment. Declarative sentences represent another repetitive syntactic style Morley employs. Almost every sentence of the essay remains factual and devoid of command. This structure helps embellish story-telling examples by presenting opinions as factual statements. The break from this declaratory pattern in the third to last paragraph warrants significance. These unlikely imperative clauses reveal Morley’s true message. They command “mind your business” and not to be merely lazy. Morley believes one should be lazy in the sense of not opposing progress. Fight for yourself not against the world. This break in syntactic pattern  highlights this underlying theme. Anaphora enhances the weight that story telling’s emphasis carries while a break in sentence structure helps demonstrate Morley’s deeper message also created through inductive reasoning.

Written after World War One, Morley employs allusion- prone diction to lead readers to consider the benefits laziness could have had on the past and their future. Morley states that the “bumptious push” of the Germans caused a “great deal” of harm to Europe. If they were “laissez-fairish” in their laziness and “indifferent” the world would be a better place. The “push” Morley describes is the German aggression along the trenches into France. The Germans fought the status quo (e.g. free market economy) and this “dangerous mass of energy” of a country saw its monarchy collapse as a result. This specific allusion demonstrates Morley’s belief that our energy is better spent not fighting progress and being “indifferent” and lazy to its buck-like charge. Continuing with specific diction to stimulate allusion, Morley argues “mind your business is a good counsel” using the example of the letter “ascribed” to Chesterfield that was the “greatest triumph” of the dictionary writer’s, Doctor Johnson, life. The lazy man doesn’t “pass the buck” he instead lets the “buck pass him”; here Morley employs the diction strategy of antimetabole by switching the ordering of the words to instill a greater affect on his audience. Pass the buck was a phrase popularized after World War One that described how each world power would pass on the responsibility of dealing with the redeveloping Germany to the next. Morley uses this allusion-diction to project his belief that we should let progress pass us by and not fight it or control it. The responsibility of our own lives is of upmost importance to us. Inevitably this lack of laziness, this ‘buck stops here’ Truman mentality, amongst the super powers leads to a second world war. Lastly, Morley invokes two images of “burning” to mark a “momentous decision”. This “momentous” occasion celebrates the author’s move towards laziness. He burns “bridges” which symbolizes a break from past relationships. Next, “boats” are burned. Boat burning often accompanied death in medieval times. Morley symbolizes his rebirth into this exalted laziness and his break with his connections to his former self. These symbols show readers that they too can celebrate a similar “momentous” transformation. By creating allusions through specific diction, Morley further supports his argument through inductive reasoning; people should not fight progress but focus their energy elsewhere.

Immediately, a reader notices Morley’s use of nosism throughout the piece. This striking replacement of the singular pronoun ‘I’ with the singular pronoun “we” provides Morley a unique medium to present his opinion. Also changing ‘me’ to “us”, Morley employs this unfamiliar point of view to avoid repetition of ‘I’ which helps develop an impersonal tone. This impersonal tone assuages the readers perception of bias in the piece; Morley’s logical argument improves proportional to the lack of bias perceived from the piece. The “we” also creates a tribe; “we” creates an identity for the readers. This rhetorical strategy of including the reader in the discussion and forming an unequivocal co-identity helps Morley persuade readers to “join them [the lazy people of the world]”. The use of “we” juxtaposes with the other prominent pronoun of the essay: “he”. An ‘us’ versus ‘them’ situation emerges. “We” are looking in on “their” world of laziness. Morley builds the ethos of this “he” throughout his essay. For example, Morley employs this pronoun when he states “he lets the buck pass” and celebrates this accomplishment. Morley wants “us” to join “them” in their “indifference” and to not the fight against the “way of progress”. Lastly, Morley employs the inclusive pronoun of “you” in his essay to directly appeal to his audience. Commandingly, Morley states “mind your business” and “mind your idleness” furthering his belief that those that fight progress are doomed. Morley includes the “you” to generate an assertive tone which in turn helps convince his readers to join the ranks of the lazy and partake of the benefits. As a persuasive piece, Morley’s essay is aided by Morley’s stylistic choice of writing with inclusive points of views through multiple strategies (e.g. nosism, identity).

Few people connect laziness and success. Laziness is not “respected” for its “community value”. Morley seeks to change that in his essay “On Laziness”. Through repeating syntax, allusion stimulating diction, and an unconventional point of view, Morley persuades readers to not oppose progress. Anaphora helps Morley build anecdotal examples to support his generalization (i.e. inductive reasoning). By breaking his syntactic structure, Morley’s imperative clauses display his underlying definition of laziness. Morley employs specific diction that evokes allusions. When referencing the Germans, Morley best creates an imagery rich allusion and further convinces readers laziness, in the form of not fighting progress, leads to profitable outcomes. Most uniquely, Morley writes using nosism (i.e. replacing ‘we’ for ‘I’). This use of “we” creates a bias free tone and develops a group identity that Morley takes advantage of to persuade his readers. The use of ‘you’ allows Morley to command his readers while the use of ‘he’ and ‘them’ creates an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ environment. This environment creates a stronger group identity between author and reader while also clearly defining the benefits received by and the qualities of the lazy men. In summation, Morley believes that being lazy, by not wasting energy and letting the buck (i.e. progress) pass, leads to not only a happy man but a successful man. Morley “burns” his “bridges” and “joins” the ranks of the lazy and implores his readers to follow.


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