Whippman and Graves provides opposing viewpoints on the pursuit of happiness.
Whippman (2017) asserts that “happiness depends on other people” (Para. 12)
while Graves (2017) argues that happiness is attained by “letting your values
guide your actions” (Para. 2). I am more persuaded by Graves’ well-supported and
credible argument that happiness can be obtained through self-contemplation.
Graves is more persuasive than Whippman because she appears
to be more logical based on the structure of her argument. Also, Graves’
argument is further strengthened by the support of quality sources. By citing professional
opinions on happiness by Susan David, a psychologist from Harvard, lends
expertise and credibility to the article. Evidently mentioned in Graves’ (2016)
article, she proposed “pursuing activities that dovetail your values” (Para.
2). This was in agreement to what Susan David mentioned after that” letting
your values guide your action, can lead to happiness” (Graves, 2016, Para. 2). This
action of reasserting would appeal to readers’ logic and reasoning and helps to
justify the arguments made by Graves. In contrast, Whippman’s claims are
ambiguous. The research he references simply states “people who study” (Para.
6), “wide body of research” (Para. 11) and “study after study” (Para. 13).
Furthermore, Whippman (2016) often uses sweeping statements such as “many Americans”
(Para. 6), “Americans in general” (Para, 8) and “people across the board”
(Para. 14). Without specific supporting evidence, the article is merely an
opinion piece without credible arguments. This speculative nature therefore raises
doubts surrounding his method of pursuing happiness. Thus, Graves’ frame of
argument is more objective as compared to Whippman, making her article more
In addition, Whippman’s logical flow of arguments is arguable. Initially,
Whippman (2017) mentions about how the research is “full of anomalies and
contradictions” (Para. 12). Yet in the following paragraph, Whippman (2017) uses studies
GTJS1 to validate “good
social relationships are the strongest, most consistent predictor there is of a
happy life” (Para. 13). Such a contradiction results in the lack of clarity and
weaken the persuasiveness of the article.
Graves use of a call-to-action increases encourages readers to reflect and
increases her persuasivenessGTJS2 . With question prompts such as “What
relationships do I build? What do I want my life to be about?” (Para. 2), Graves
readers to immediate actionGTJS3 and consider the moralsGTJS4 that could aid in
the attainment of happiness. Readers are
compelled to ponder about the questions which appeals to their empathy and
logic. As a result, this method enhances the overall persuasiveness of the
Moreover, Whippman uses a personal anecdote which creates the impression
that using a “happiness”
(Para. 1) application GTJS6 would invoke
negative emotions. Whippman would “snarl bitterly” (Para. 2) when the application
sent a message of “positive affirmation” (Para. 2). The anecdote is relatable to readersGTJS7 , thereby creating
a hook effect; however, anecdotes create cognitive bias by overestimating the
occurrence of certain events. Therefore, unassuming readers may be persuaded at
face value but fail to realise that Whippman’s arguments can be dismissed on
the grounds of faulty generalisation.
Nevertheless, both articles are pragmaticGTJS8 for Americans in the pursuit of happiness. Although each
author argues their own take on the American pursuit of happiness, the validation
of credible sources lends more weight to Graves’ position. It persuasively
asserts that xxxGTJS9 , and though imperfect, is more convincing than Whippman.
Graves, G. (2017, June 6). The secret to deeper happiness is simpler than you might think. Health. Retrieved from
Whippman, R. (2017, October 27). Health is other people. The New York Times. Retrieved from