Deborah Tannen Analysis Essay
Ap English Tannen Essay Section 1: Theory You Just Don’t Understand Women and Men in Conversation by Deborah Tannen is basically an explanation on how women and men converse. Tannens main goal is to give advice to the different genders in order for them to avoid as much conflict as possible. Tannen’s main ideas are to explain how differently women and men react to each other’s way of being. It’s like they’re in their own little world while living in the same big world. Men tend to try to dominate situations and tend to always want to be at the top.
Women do not tend to want to get into conflict but tend to show understanding. These big differences bring them into conflict. A Tannen explains, “What he wanted conflicted with what she wanted”. (40) Women and men are constantly clashing in opinions. Men are usually trying to be above each other which is something Tannen calls “one-up”. It is like men are always in competition with people around them. For example, in chapter 2, Tannen explains why men don’t ask for directions. She explains, “The fact that you have the information, and the person you are speaking to doesn’t, sends a metamessage of superiority.
If reasons are inherently hierarchal, then the one who has more information is framed as higher up on the ladder, by virtue of being more knowledgeable and competent. ” This shows how men are always trying to be at the top of every conversation. They want to know everything, in order to be at the top of everyone. Women have a completely different view point then men. They aim to be accepted by others, they try to avoid conflict, and they tend to show that they understand what the other person is trying to say.
For example, in chapter 6, Tannen begins to explain how in a comic, the two boys are fighting while a girl named Debbie is trying to be the peacemaker. She claims that she is looking for someone but the boys say that the person isn’t there. Even though she knows the person is there, she acts like she doesn’t know anything to avoid conflict. Tannen explains, “Females play the role of being peace makers. ”(162) This shows how women basically try to avoid any conflict with anyone. Section 2: Setting The setting of the conversation is at lunch in a restaurant for a reunion.
There are three women: Cathy and Jeanne are sisters and Mary is their mom. The conversation is taking place at a restaurant called The Cheese Cake Factory at around 12:45. The women are having lunch because Cathy came down to visit them from Venezuela. The women haven’t seen each other in two months. They basically discuss their life styles and explain how their children act. Section 3: Analysis In this conversation, there are no men. Since there are only women, there is no conflict and they basically agree with each other in everything.
They talk about their children’s behaviors and no one speaks more than one another. However, even though Mary does talk, she speaks less than her daughters do. The women only interrupt each other twice in the entire conversation but it is to add positive feedback to each of their issues. For example, Jeanne interrupts Cathy to say “of course”, when Cathy is talking about her conditions in Venezuela. Throughout the conversation, the topic basically stays the same. Unlike men, these women don’t try to be “one-up” from each other in anyway. No one brags about anything and they don’t try to put each other down.
In fact, they agree with each other when they share different anecdotes. For example, Jeanne agrees with Mary when Mary says that it was hard to have 3 teenagers at once. Jeanne specifically says, “How the heck did you do that! ” I think Tannens theory of women is proven by this conversation. Since there are just women, they each agree with each other and are very understanding of their concerns and opinions. Section 4: Reflection In this conversation, I completely agree with what Tannen would think of this conversation. Women always tend to agree with each other and then add feedback to the conversation.
Also, men like to be straight to the point while women like to be detailed and concerned. This is exactly what the ladies are doing in this conversation. They do not try to be better than each other in any way; they are simply having lunch. No one tries to take the lead role of the conversation and neither one of them tries to act like they’re better than another. This book has opened my eyes to many things I never noticed. I never noticed why men and women clash so much with each other. Men and women are very different. For example, this book made me feel the need to analyze my parent’s relationship.
They do fight because they have different views on how to deal with things. My mom seems to overreact to things in my dad’s eyes. However, my mom feels that my dad doesn’t care so much about her since he feels this way. I agree with her when she compares the genders. However, at times I felt that she would exaggerate. As a woman, I notice that I do many of the things she says in her book. I’m never looking for conflict and I don’t like to brag to people that I don’t really know because it seems like they’ll judge me. However, in this book, I feel that women look weak in her eyes.
She feels that they are always willing to avoid conflict but this is not always the case. Women fight as well for what they want. At times, I felt her book had been inaccurate because the ideas were more stuck in the past. For example, the newspaper example in chapter 3. When I read this example, the first think I thought about was my grandparents. They always fight due to the idea of my grandpa always reading the paper rather than talking to my grandma. A lot of couples, nowadays, don’t have this problem. This to me shows that it’s inaccurate information.