The Better For My Foes By Elouise Bell Analysis

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The essay The Better For My Foes written by Elouise Bell. Bell emphasizes the importance of opposition. Relaying common mistakes Americans and Mormons participate in deeming all opposition as pure evil. Bell draws a light on personal and intellectual growth that can be erected from opposition, but demonstrates the consequences of asserting it. Agonism In The Academy by Deborah Tannen reveals the weak link in the educational system. Portraying the combat like atmosphere encouraged and exposing the defective in everything cheered. She displays the dissenting effect agonism has on schools, scientific understanding and policy making. She refutes immediate disbelief of ideas and asserts the intellectual gain that is obtained from genuine listening. …show more content…
Although both writers include political, social, academic and cultural aspects in their essays. Tannen’s essay begins in arbitrary scene within a book club. Tannen is anticipating to obtain valuable and insightful observations from the other readers that might be contrary to her evaluation. Instead the conversation is bombarded with negative and destructive comments regarding the genre and written format of the book. Tennan finds the session unproductive and relates it to her experience and assessment of our academic system. “The way we train our students, conduct our classes and our research, and exchange ideas at meetings and in print are all driven by our ideological assumption that intellectual inquiry is a metaphorical battle. Following from that is a second assumption, that the best way to demonstrate intellectual prowess is to criticize, find fault, and …show more content…
Bell’s central theme of allowing opposition around us is supportive of this selfless listening approach. Bell claims that opposition in our lives can be seen as a positive element rather than a negative. She makes several points she finds in the Mormon culture that hinder progression. Three of which completely discount the benefit of learning from ideas and perceptions other people might have: Opposition as persecution, opposition as counsel for the defense and opposition as airing of personal opinion. The first point, opposition as persecution is described as a defense for opposition. Asserting that opposition is all around us and it is all a matter of the devil. We must fight to attack and destroy this satanic opposition! The second concept is taking opposition from the standpoint of a lawyer. Assuming that we must study all that is bad (opposition) so that we can defend what we already believe and eradicate all opposition with our witt. The last approach, opposition as airing of personal opinion, allows persons to speak their opinion or opposition (different theory) but with the presumption that they are already wrong. All of these perceptions devalue the speakers intentions before he has even said a word. Bell exclaims “Whom we consider our foes can actually be our greatest benefactors. Reaffirming the power of listening

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