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“Naps” by Barbara Holland: Rhetorical Analysis.

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“Naps” by Barbara Holland: Rhetorical Analysis.   Barbara Holland is an American freelance writer, known for her publications dwelling on the psycho-physiological mechanisms of napping and its importance for the human health and well-being. She has written a few essays, which consider the idea of napping, explain its nature, and provide the readers with intriguing examples and clear evidence from the day-to-day life. The “Naps” is one of the most prominent Holland’s essays. Its main goal is to explain the concept of dozing in the daytime, as well as interpret how different cultures and nations treat napping, particularly at the workplace. According to the author, napping is a significant natural phenomenon, which reflects the physiological characteristics of the human body and remains essential for the maintenance of good health and well-being.   Holland begins the essay with a short example. She employs the first person narration and addresses the readers in a rather intimate and informal style. This strategy adds the subjectivity and makes the essay sound like someone’s recollections or flashbacks. Such an informal introduction aims at attracting the audience’s attention and evoking the interest toward the reading. Moreover, it resembles someone’s diary or memoirs by creating the trustful and friendly atmosphere.   Further, the author continues with the comparison and contrast of the national peculiarities in treatment of the napping in broad daylight. Therefore, the readers get to know that most European and Asian countries commonly accept napping at the workplace, realizing its value. A completely different attitude prevails in the US, which carries on the Puritan traditions and imposes them even nowadays. Such a comparison allows readers to understand the main conflict of the essay, as well as confrontation of various points of view. Moreover, it introduces the main theme, which involves explaining the importance of the daytime sleeping and the factors, which prevent Americans from understanding the significance of napping.   In the following passages, Holland makes a shift from the first person narration to the third one. It helps to make the essay highly objective and reliable. Moreover, this shift allows explaining different scientific and social notions and ideas without any shadow of personal attitude and subjective judgment. As a result, it is possible to say that the main goal of this literary text is communicating the verified information and facts rather than expressing the author’s personal ideas and feelings. Nevertheless, such a style does not make the essay plain and apparent, but rather adds impersonality and impartiality. These features are fully compensated with a rich syntax, various figures of speech, and poetic details, which make the essay a bright and striking example of literary writing.   The body of the essay concerns the American attitudes toward napping and factors, contributing to the formation of such considerations. As it has been already mentioned, the author is not a character of the story herself. Nevertheless, her presence can be noticed throughout the whole writing. The narrator permanently addresses the readers, puts rhetorical questions, and provides relevant answers. The whole text appeals to the readers’ critical thinking and understanding. For example, the author asks “[…] do we indulge in the restorative nap?” and immediately answers that “mostly not” (Holland 345). Such examples are frequent throughout the text and help to hold the readers’ attention and interest while reading.   Interestingly, the author uses examples from both professional and personal life in order to explain the value of napping and its impact on the people’s well-being and good mood. In such a way, the essay becomes particularly interesting and familiar for the readers as they can recognize the everyday situations and analyze their own behavior and habits. The author also provides a couple of advice, which can considerably ease the human lives and improve their health. From this point of view, the essay reflects the personal interest of readers and becomes especially topical and prominent. The author manages to achieve this effect with the help of different stylistic devices and expressive means, which are to be discussed below.   Holland finishes the essay with another historical example, which gives evidence of the fruitfulness of napping and the significance to treat it seriously and responsibly. In general, such a diversity of examples, facts, explanations, comparisons, and contrasts makes the essay vivid, dynamic, and interesting. As it is rather short, it does not contain verbose interpretations and boring passages. On the contrary, with the help of poetic details and figures of speech, the author makes it newsworthy and amusing, at the same time. Therefore, the structure of the essay is perfect and follows the rules of a successful text-writing.   As it has been already mentioned, the essay is rich in literal devices and techniques. In such a manner, it contains a lot of expressive means. Firstly, there are some figurative metaphors and personifications, which add refinement and luxury to the neutral vocabulary, which is mainly employed in the text. Holland uses the following metaphors: “velvet paws of Morpheus lie closely over his eyes”, “bed the haven, the motherly lap, the downy nest”, “thought flagged”. These means make the language more figurative and interesting from the literal point of view. Furthermore, they make the readers think over the main issues and arrive at the relevant conclusions and understand the consequences.   In addition, there are several similes in the essay. They serve for the comparison of the two objects that are not identical, but still have certain similarities. Similes contribute to the expressiveness of the essay and create a special colloquial and informal mood. Among them, one can name, for example, “napper pops back to the surface as from the time travel,” “as regular as clocks,” “voluptuous surrender, akin to the euphoric swoon of the heroine in a vampire movie”, “they see it as goofing off”, and many others.   A crucial role in the text belongs to the syntactic devices, which contributes to the dynamic mood and atmosphere of the essay. Among them, a special place belongs to the rhetorical questions, parallel constructions, inversions, repetitions, and enumerations. For instance, such rhetorical questions as “Some corporations, in their concern for their employees' health and fitness, provide gym rooms where we can commit strenuous exercise at lunchtime, but where are our beds?”; For the self-controlled, it's frightening-how far down am I falling? Will I ever climb back?” help introduce the crucial questions and force readers to reflect upon them, as well as think more precisely over the abovementioned problems.   Frequent repetitions and inversions imply the desire of the author to make the essay more distinct and colorful. They also draw attention to the emphatic words and the most significant phrases and notions. In other words, such syntactic techniques allow the author to stress the particular notions and ideas, as well as highlight the main subject of the whole writing. For instance, “So did Spain. So did much of the civilized world”, “napping is too luxurious, too sybaritic, too unproductive, and it's free”.   Enumerations and plenty of epithets perform the same functions as repetitions and inversions do. They also help emphasize the most prominent passages and add expressiveness. Moreover, they reveal the author’s unique writing style. For instance, “it is blacker, thicker, more intense, and works faster”, “There we lie, visible and vulnerable on our daylight bed, ready to cut the strings and sink into the dark, swirling, almost sexual currents of the impending doze”.   Moreover, one should pay special attention to the utilization of irony in the essay. It is a common knowledge that the irony is a deliberate shift of the word’s meaning according to a certain context and circumstances. It is used to convey a special message, which can be understood only in the context. For example, the expression “Americans are afraid of naps” cannot be considered seriously since it implies a certain absurd and impossibility. Readers cannot believe in this statement and, therefore, develop an extra interest to reading further and discovering the reasons behind this claim. The other example of irony is “a couple of recent presidents famous for their all-night energies kept up the pace by means of naps; other presidents, less famous for energy, slept by day and night”.   In general, the essay is aimed at wide audience; it excites both literary and scientific interest. The theme of the essay is associated with the interpretation of napping and its value while the central idea is the assertion that the daytime sleeping is essential for human beings and normal functioning of both physical and mental processes.   To sum up, the author managed to express the main idea and subject, in a quite accomplished way. The essay is entertaining and educational at the same time. It holds the readers’ attention on the topic and combines the objective information with the rich syntax, diverse vocabulary, and the variety of literal means and techniques. All in all, I believe that this essay is a brilliant example of literary writing, which leaves place for both critical thinking and further educational development.   This essay was done by the writer from and you go through this link where you can find different other posts written by Simona Bright and her colleagues.

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