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Style Analysis of The Company Man

Style Analysis of "The Company Man"

In “The Company Man,” the main character, Phil, literally works himself to death after decades of hard work and dedication to his company. Ellen Goodman, a columnist, wrote this newspaper article in order to show that hard work does not always have its benefits. In life, we must slow down from our hectic schedules to appreciate life itself.

The vivid diction describes the sarcasm that Goodman has towards Phil. Goodman composes her paragraphs with careful rhythm and beat; she repeats “finally,” “precisely” and “perfect” three times. Phil’s constancy and lack of variation are embodied in rigid words such as “always,” “of course,” and “Type A.” Extreme diction such as “overweight,” “nervous,” and “workaholic” convey Phil as a worrywart with no fun at all in his life. These words mock Phil as a man solely obsessed with work that had lost track of his priorities.

The descriptions of Phil in “The Company Man” are sardonically accusatory of the present way people live in society. Goodman makes light of how Phil is a heart attack waiting to happen, his seventy-hour workweeks and egg sandwiches. “Of course,” used thee times, translates as the acceptance that we have towards intolerable living conditions in order to fulfill the American dream. Like many Americans, Phil is constantly obsessed about his work and whether or not he will ascend to the top position. Through these details she describes the monotonous, repetitive way that society exists today.

Throughout the column, images negatively portray the lifestyle that Phil lives. Superficially, all seems well because his family lives a comfortable existence. Emotionally, however, his family has missed his emotional support for years. His wife, Helen, gave up “trying to compete with his work years ago.” All of his children grew up in a so-called normal family with a father and mother. At his funeral, though, they do not have enough memories about him to say a proper eulogy. Phil himself was “overweight” and unhealthy, obsessed with work and negligent with his personal life. Goodman condemns the lifestyle that Phil leads by using negative and poignant imagery.

Goodman utilizes this column as a caveat to the overworked, overstressed characters in society to seize the day. In this day and age, after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001, this article applies even more...

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