“Progress Built on a Wasteland: Electronic Consumerism & the Dangers of E-waste” Analysis

Essay by Ben Schlusser, Analysis by Nina Freda

Thesis: increased consumption of electronics adds to the amount of waste produced by electronics. It uses a specific structure to help the reader identify the main subject of the essay. By putting this at the end of the first paragraph, it establishes reasoning and authority. The author provides initial factual information, and is ready to back up the thesis with the rest of the essay. 

The target audience is society. The author argues that society is obsessed with new devices and wants to get a new every time it comes out. The author wants society to realize that their obsession is what is causing an excess of electronic waste. The author’s diction addresses society as a whole in the thesis, thus creating more of a sense of authority.

The author uses logic and evidence throughout every paragraph of the essay. This structure is successful at providing enough evidence to support the author’s thesis. The author organizes the essay through separating each tactic companies use to keep customers coming back to buy more electronic devices. These tactics are separate, and then supported with a fact or instance where it has occurred. 

The author constructs authority by the amount of evidence they provide. Simply put, they have enough evidence to support their claim, thus providing them the authority that one would need to make a point. The author’s tone is strong, and they do not doubt themselves. The evidence they use is provided by major establishments, such as The New York Times and Consumer Reports. 

The author establishes emotion in their essay through the seeking of empathy. The author talks about the effect electronic waste has on workers in developing countries such as Kenya, China, Mexico, and Pakistan, using diction such as “disadvantaged workers”.

The author argues for more of a rational argument than a moral one. Because the author is arguing that the mass consumption of new products adds waste, thus creating pollution, it reveals the author’s concern for the planet. The author already created authority through their evidence and reasoning, and the occasion is precise due to this era’s addiction to electronic devices; therefore, the author establishes rationality.

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