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“Fashionable” Idea

“Fashionable” Idea.


         “Do not judge others because one day you can be judged by them,” says Russian proverb. This means that nobody is perfect, and so is the author of “Fashionable Ideas” Barry Estabrook. In his essay, he draws a picture of modern Inuit village. Estabrook shows his readers that European’s fashion is the main factor that makes Inuit people live in constant poverty and hardship; the only way to survive for Inuit people is to continue hunting. In order to make his readers believe him, Estabrook uses historical facts, specific examples, and the figure of young Inuit hunter.

        By using historical facts as a basic proof of Inuit “mistreatment at the hand of Europeans” (153), Estabrook wants to convict “bad” Europeans in all disasters that have happened to Inuit people. His method is very effective because it is very simple: he gives only one part of history, but hides the other parts. He did it on purpose, because by using “partial” history he creates a powerful effect that European’s fashion caused Inuit problems. “The European went home, leaving behind decimated whale and seal populations, diseases, lots of mixed-blood children, and a population no longer able to survive by hunting”, says Estabrook (153).

          The specific examples that author uses in his essay help illustrate the author’s idea about the life in Inuit village. …

          To create a spirit of Inuit people in his essay the author presents us a picture of the young Inuit hunter. The young hunter talks not only to the author of the essay but through Estabrook he talks to us, the readers. The Inuit hunter represents the whole Inuit people. So, when the author quotes the hunter’s phrase “Then tell your readers Inuit need to hunt seal,” he works only like a transistor between the reader and Inuit hunter, giving the hunter right to say his own thought (152).

          By using historical facts, specific examples, and the figure of young Inuit hunter Estabrook creates a picture of the Inuit’s disaster, roots of which came from changes in European fashion. In modern society it become very popular to criticize the past, and support “mistreated” peoples, nations, and races. Estabrook uses the same “fashionable” ideas to catch readers’ attention. He uses the common methods to build the scenario of his essay – “look, what a terrible thing the white people have done!” As Diogenus said: “Nothing is new in the under-moon world”. By using old methodic, Estabrook achieves a great result—he makes me think, use polemic, and read his essay at least five times. I think that the author completely achieved his purpose to tell the readers that “Inuit need hunt the seal”, as it stated in his opening paragraphs. His essay points to larger issues that go beyond our discussion of specific rhetorical strategies.

“Fashionable” Idea

 Work cited.

  • Estabrook, Barry. “Fashionable Ideas” Class Act: Readings for Canadian Writers. Eds. Gary Webb and Donna Kerrigan. Toronto: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997. 152—155.