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Staying Put Rhetorical Analysis Essay

In the passage “Staying Put” by Scott Russell Sanders, Sanders is responding to Salman Rushdie to challenge Rushdie’s belief that migration is beneficial because migration takes away the idea of home by using figurative language, antithesis and parallelism.
First, Sanders uses figurative language to show the exaggeration on the American Dream and Nationalism’s ideas. Sanders states, “virtues of shifting ground are familiar…to… this nation of restless movers.” This hyperbole accentuates the exaggeration of sanders on the American Dream and to say that the “restless movers” want the American Dream but want more. Sanders also used the metaphor “free of the shackles of nationalism.” This metaphor emphasizes that nationalism ties you down to ideas you might not agree with. He uses figurative language to show how migrants do not respect their land and are “people who root themselves in ideas rather than places.” By this he means that people, who migrate, only migrate for the ideas and stereotypes of a country and not its beauty.
In addition, Sanders also uses antithesis to point out that he disagrees with Rushdie. Sanders wrote, “ the belief that movement is inherently good, staying put is bad; that uprooting brings tolerance, while rootedness breeds intolerance.” He antithesizes to point out Rushdie’s belief and compare it with his and by doing so he shows how Rushdie is wrong.    
Lastly, Sanders uses parallelism to show how migration has brought us to a corrupt and a malevolent society. He first writes in line 3, “From the beginning, our heroes have been sailors, explorers, cowboys, prospectors…” This exhibits that since the beginning our “suppose” heroes are the people who have done other people wrong. Like Christopher Columbus found the Americas and caused a mass genocide of millions of Native Americans. Our society calls him a hero, even have a day to honor his delinquency. Sanders is trying to say that because of the migrants “from the beginning” have made our...

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Ms. Leuschel

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Sanders “Stay Put” AP Analysis Prompt Essay Student Samples
Sample C

In Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World, Scott Russell Sanders’ position on moving continuously is obvious right from the start. He begins with examples of the people we look at as heroes and what they did. His point begins there because all of those people were ones who moved around quite often. People like sailors, explorers, and cowboys were always traveling. He makes a very interesting statement in the essay stating “Our Promise Land has always been over the next ridge or at the end of the trail, never under our feet.” This abstractly says that our strive for happiness is likely to go on forever. It as if we are running in place trying to get to the promise land. He uses examples of situations where people feel like they need to move to a new location and those examples provide imagery for the reader. Sanders states that “if we fish out a stream or wear out a field, or if the smoke from the neighbor’s chimney beings to c[?] the sky why move?” People seem to be under the impression that happiness will be achieved without a struggle, and that’s not the case.

Sanders also uses a lot of parallel structure in his examples of the things American s do in general that involve moving. He says that “Americans have build the most roads, and airports, dug the most canals, and laid the most rails out of any other nation. It’s like we are fascinated with new surroundings. Sanders really starts to unleash the kind of ignorance of the Americans in the middle of his essay. Moving is not always the solution. He states that some people feel like moving will “make a new imaginative relationship with the world.” Some people will just carry bad habits for the rest of their lives.

Sanders also alludes to many historic events that involved the kind of moving for benefit. It alludes to the Spaniards, Central and South America, Colonists of North America and the Dust Bowl of 1930; it’s obvious that this way of thinking has been going on for hundred s of years. He uses a simile comparing the mind of people and the [?] of the world to dough and cookie cutters. “The habit of our industry and commerce has been to force identical schemes into differing locales.” I definitely would say that his concluding paragraph was most effective because of its diction. It really just tops off his argument that people who move don’t have a stable life. It just makes the reader think he says “People who root themselves in places are likelier to know and care for those places are people who root themselves in ideas.” He also says that when we decide to stop moving every time something bad happens, we can learn to respect where we are currently “By settling in we have a choice of making a durable home for ourselves, our fellow creatures, and our descendants. It appeals to ethos and make him sound very credible.



RNA Sample

In Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World,author Scott Sanders tackles the topic of becoming a migrant and if it is a positive idea. Sanders wrote this in response to writer Salmon Rushdie, who wrote a passage claiming mass migration is a very healthy occurrence in mankind. Sanders, in his passage, uses a variety of techniques in order to successfully discredit Rushdie’s theory and support and validate his claim of mass migration being a negative influence on locations in which the migration occurs.

Author Scott Sanders begins his passage discussing the view on migration in American culture. He defines Americans as “…this nation of restless movers,” and describes how “….we have still not shaken off the romance of unlimited space.” He does this to introduce the idea that “we” as Americans have become drunk off the idea of land. He does this in order to set the stage for Rushdie’s argument and already enlighten the reader to the fact that Americans are land-hungry and will simply use it all up, not because of extenuating circumstances that result in migration, but the reason of passing an idea to untouched land.

Sanders in paragraph 2 introduces the argument Rushdie presents. He uses exact quotes from Rushdie’s passage for a specific reason. He does this in order to simply discredit the argument. He introduces the reader to a different perspective and asks questions, of the rhetorical variety, that already hint at Rushdie’s logic being flawed.

Paragraph three in Scott Sanders’ passage marks a major shift in his argument. The whole paragraph basically uses concrete historical examples that refute Rushdie’s view on migration being vital to the assimilation of cultures. He uses facts that detail the death of whole cultures due to migration. That in fact instead of combining the “different views” of the native and the migrants, it actually killed off whole ways of life, forcing the “Old World” habits on “New World” inhabitants. This is a major shift because the audience sees that Rushdie’s logic, which is questioned earlier, is clearly flawed and makes way for Sanders to achieve his purpose in illuminating the fact that migration is horrid.

The final paragraph marks the moment when Sanders comes outright and announces his opposing view but his battle is done with. The previous paragraphs, using definitions, quotes, and historical examples, completely destroyed Rushdie’s idea of migration. The audience sees these flaws and how credible and logical Sanders is and basically will agree with him. Agree that migration loses itself during the process and instead of migrating beliefs, we become entrenched in the systems in place which leaves us better off than stubbornly following our beliefs, which Rushdie agrees is the “benefit” of migration.



Sample 1: A

In response to an essay by Salman Rushdie on the benefits of moving, Scott Russell Sanders refutes “the belief that movement is inherently good” (Sanders). He claims that we should root ourselves in places rather than ideas, that we should care for the earth rather than our own selfish desires. Through his use of direct quotes, acknowledgement of the counterargument, and informal yet respectful tone, Sanders relates his belief that we must settle down and cease our tireless moving if we are ever to “pay enough need and respect to where we are” (Sanders).

Sanders’ essay was written purely in response to Rushdie’s essay—therefore, he quotes Rushdie several times directly and then states his own beliefs in similar ways. For example, Sanders quoted Rushdie in saying that “‘to be a migrant is perhaps the only species of human being free of the shackles of nationalism (to say nothing of its ugly sister, patriotism)’” (Sanders). Sanders asserts this statement by saying “Lord knows we could do with less nationalism (to say nothing of its ugly siblings, racism, religious sectarianism, or class snobbery” (Sanders). In quoting Rushdie directly and repeating his words and syntax, Sanders not only assures the reader of his careful thoughtfulness on the issue, but also states his own believe that moving does nothing to rid us of the unfortunate aspects of humanity of which we all wish to be free. He also quotes Rushdie several other times; for example, he says, “Rushdie claims that ‘migrants must…make a new imaginative relationship with the world” (Sanders). He then uses this quote as a counterexample to one of his main points---how can one create a new relationship with the world when they are constantly altering their place in it?

Sanders use of direct quotes goes hand in hand with his acknowledgement of the opponent’s argument—he quotes Rushdie only to refute his point and bring up his own points. At first he states parts of Rushdie’s argument and agrees with them, such as the “hybridity” (Sanders) of American culture which makes us all the more stronger and wiser. He then moves on to another quote with which he does not readily agree, but to which he “might respond more skeptically” (Sanders). He then moves on to a third quote and completely disagrees with it. Finally, his development of stating the counter-argument is completed when he states that Rushdie articulates exactly “the orthodoxy that [he] wish[es] to counter—that movement is inherently good, staying put bad” (Sanders”). He finishes by asserting that we must root ourselves to a specific place in order to “pay enough heed and respect to where we are” (Sanders).

This gradual movement from agreement to complete disagreement reinforces Sanders’ point and respectfully refutes Rushdie’s point consequently.

His disagreement with Rushdie in principle could have been marked by a condescending and imposing tone—however through his choice of phrases, Sanders tone is informal, yet respectful of Rushdie’s point of view. He connects himself with the reader and Rushdie by using such words as “I,” “our,” and “we” (Sanders). He places himself on our level as well as Rushdie’s; he is conversational and informal. Yet he is still respectful towards Rushdie and admits that even though he disagrees completely wit him, Rushdie articulated his views “as eloquently as anyone” (Sanders). He is respectful of the man whose ideas he is refuting—there is not even a hint of ad hominem argument in this essay, for Sanders never attacks Rushdie himself. This tone develops his point as one that is accessible and easy to understand for all people, as one that we all should hold as a fundamental belief of society.



Sanders does not develop his point of view with viscous slander or disrespectful destruction of Rushdie’s well-thought-out argument. Rather, he uses a respectful as well as informal tone, direct quotes, and acknowledgement and sometimes agreement with his opponent’s argument.