Can someone help me out with answering the questions that follow this essay? What is the main claim of the...

Can someone help me out with answering the questions that follow this essay?

What is the main claim of the essay? (What is the author trying to persuade us of?)

Describe two ways in which the author seeks to support the essay’s main claim.

What is your critique of the essay?

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main claim of the essay is that bullying is reprehensible and should therefore be denounced but also marginalized. 

Overall, the argument is cogent in its consistent persuasion that bullying is a problem that needs to be dealt with. The author provides examples of both the political right and left using bullying tactics to support their rhetoric. Criticizing both sides, the political right and left, gives credence to the argument because all too often these days, a person's political agenda dictates and can even bias an opinion/argument on an important social issue such as this.

The author gives further examples of online bullying and its potentially disastrous, and sometimes tragic and fatal, effects. These are also powerful points that bullying needs to be dealt with. 

The offered solution is that since people follow "social norms" and emulate those norms, especially when displayed by celebrities or those in the media, that we should "tune out the loudmouth boors" who act like bullies. This returns us to the initial claim: that bullying should be denounced and also marginalized. This seems logical and ethical, but it does present one problem. We can't have a public and/or private (among families, locally, etc.) discussion about bullying in order to stop the trend - while also ignoring (marginalizing) bullying behavior.

The essay's claim would be more convincing if the author added that bullying needs to be discussed, not ignored ("marginalized" is the problematic term), and that when a public figure engages in bullying behavior, he/she should be denounced more dramatically. The overall goal is to influence the public to emulate nice people; so, part of this solution is to denounce bullying in a way that makes it truly distasteful, no matter who it is. Also, the author could state how we might more effectively marginalize bullying while also addressing the problem. This is the rub: to discuss the problem in order to solve it while simultaneously trying to avoid giving a bully any attention. As the author notes, prosecuting is a way to get rid of bullies, thus they cease getting attention online, in the media, and so on. There is perhaps no easy solution here; the author's argument could be supported with an added note that despite the growing awareness of the problem, we as a public still tolerate in a myriad of ways. (For example, Limbaugh's criticism of Fox is reprehensible but the word "bullying" was probably not used in coverage of his statements.) The point is that it should have been used; this helps to associate the "term" bullying with bad behavior. 

pamrider eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essay's main point is that bullying is a major contemporary problem that can be seen beyond the social media and other outlets of adolescents. The writer demonstrates that politicians and authors employ the bullying tactics of name-calling and making fun of physical attributes in such traditional venues of discourse as publishing.  The conclusion is that society needs role modeling of civilized discourse by leaders and others in the national spotlight. It has been said that rape needs to become as unacceptable as cannibalism. The essayist might posit that bullying needs to become as unacceptable as fratricide. He says that exemplary examples of positive argumentative behavior will help stem the tide of bullying tragedies.