Humor In Argument Essays

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Luc Brubaker
Professor Kozak
English 110
Reading Journal 8
5 November 2012
Often times argumentative essays can be hard to read because a lot of the time they are stuffed with so much information, which is why adding humor helps keep the reader engaged and wanting to read more. Throughout Steven Colbert’s “Higher Education,” I found myself consistently laughing, making me want to continue to read to see what he says next. On the other hand, during Robert Applebaum’s “Cancel Student Loan Debt,” I found myself losing interest and almost dreading what was to come in the next paragraphs. Humor is a key component in arguments on topics that aren’t too interesting by themselves, such as Steven Colbert’s essay.

Steven Colbert argues that higher education is ultimately dangerous and pointless and gives many examples why. “Just exactly what makes college so dangerous? It’s the fact that their classrooms and lecture halls are filled with poison known as New Ideas(Colbert 120).” Even from this quote explaining his point, Colbert’s informal language comes off as comical, by the way he calls the classroom and lecture halls “Poison.” Just by reading this one sentence in the beginning of the essay, I was immediately engaged because it I knew that the rest of the essay was going to be amusing. The only problem that humor presents in this situation, is that it’s hard to take the argument seriously. Yes the essay grabbed my attention, but at times it got to a point where it seemed more of a joke rather than an actual argumentative essay. From this specific essay, I can infer that humor in an argumentative is beneficial for grabbing a reader’s attention, but too much can hurt your argument as a whole.

Robert Applebaum took a different approach in the sentence that he incorporated no humor in his essay. In “Cancel Student Loan Debt,” he argues that the only way to get the economy circulating in the right direction is to cut the student loan debt because that would allow...
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