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The title to be discussed in this essay is Stein’s argument that “Narcissistic behavior in its developmental stages presents the elements of existence”. Although,the essay is effective for its audience because it presentsa clear cut relationship between the child’s experiences during formative period, development and their successive narcissistic behavior, it fails to provide targeted researches to establish the cause of behavior trends that lead to narcissism.
An argument to analyze is the author’s assumption that “narcissism involves a total obsession with one’s self, thus the traits will enable the individual to exclude at its best all the interactional relationship between the individual and the other people in the given set up. In order to determine the effectiveness of the argument upon its intended audience, the essay will examine the claims, types of evidence, assumptions, and audience appeal and tone. These aspects will make it possible to analyze the method of argument creation.
In the essay, the author presents a clear depiction of narcissism in Ahab, the hulking figure in the article, who is driven by self-constructs of desire for revenge. His claim is full of hidden meaning that psychologists have tried to analyze and to enable the users to create value in the great detail presentation of Herman Melville’s character. The author enables the understanding of narcissism through the construct of Ahab in dealing with the behavior approaches that the author depicts. Further, the novel enables the readers to evaluate the inexorable consequences of the inability of the captain to attain the greatest desire of his endeavors – revenge according to the author’s claim.
A critical review of the essay brings out various interesting points aimed at helping the reader understand the type of evidence that shows how Ahab was an extreme narcissist. Psychological and ideological evidences were used in the essay. For instance, audience would be quick to acknowledge the credibility of Melville’s style of theme articulation. Using this evidence, psychologists proved that Melville was perfect in providing sufficient information that enabled the documentation of his article. Normally, the fact that the unborn child is exposed to the influence of the external environment from conception brings an ideological perception that he/she will develop particular behavior. The basis for this ideology draws a lot from the psychological studies that create understanding about prenatal influences and the resulting behavioral experiences.
One of the basic assumptions of egotism is that when the child is born he/she approaches the world in a state of primary narcissism. Parents take it as prior duty to supply the child with all his/her needs, thus making the child feel that he/she could control the whole universe. The other assumption is that all powerful state will continue in the mind of the child until such a time when parents are not able to supply all the commands of the child. As a result, the child will be raged and may begin to treat parents with a lot of despair resulting in the ego ideal that promotes narcissism.
The constructs appeal to the audience because they enhance the formation of ego ideal that fosters narcissism. The use of Freudian concept of ego ideal to enable the understanding of Captain Ahab’s narcissistic formations also appeals to the audience (Stein, 2000). Therefore, it is interesting to note that the early egocentric ideal could be more than ideal as it sets the individual towards failure and misery.
Regarding the method of argument, a theoretical approach was used to support the usage of the word ‘narcissism’. In her review, Stein suggests that the use of the word ‘narcissism’ refers to the fact that Ahab will change the perception of many readers of the novel, especially those who subscribe to the narrator’s disposition of heroism in Ahab (Stein, 2000). Author’s reactions employed deductive reasoning to facilitate the proceeding reviews into considering Melville’s work as perfect since it enabled varying and detailed interpretation of the work by various psychoanalysts. For instance, Stein argued that “the psychologist analogy of marketing terms spin and packaging enabled the readers to employ a powerful and enriched perception of both the primary and secondary institutions of narcissism” (2000). The reasoning helped the author put more meaning to the word ‘narcissism’, showing that such methodology could dissect an argument and determine with confidence that it effectively persuaded its intended audience to have greater understanding.
It is clear that the author effectively connects the evidence to the claim to give it an intended meaning. Basically, psychological and ideological evidences were used in the essay to connect all the ideas about narcissism including the claims, evidences, assumptions, audience appeal and tone. The author ideally frames the argument and uses language to appeal to the audience, thus making her essay more interesting.
Stein applied logical reasoning in most of the aspects regarding the issue of narcissism. The deductive reasoning that the author used to drive home her idea about narcissism was presented in a systematical way. This type of reasoning was employed to interpret various psychoanalysts’ assumptions so that the idea could be explicit to the audience. However, it did not consider the differences in people’s understanding by assuming that the audience will have a similar perception. Despite the efforts that one puts to explain a concept, there are others who will think otherwise.
Apparently, the essay is effective for the intended audience because there is a clear cut relationship between the child’s experiences during the formative period of their development and their successive narcissistic behavior, despite limited researches to establish the cause for the behavior trends that lead to narcissism. To this extent, the argument that “narcissistic behavior in its developmental stages presents the elements of existence” is effective and satisfies the audience’s understanding.