The Company Man

|Ellen Goodman uses an arsenal of rhetorical strategies to demonstrate her |
|sentiments towards the main character, Phil — one of the few, cold individuals|
|able to march robotically through life, frigidly and indifferently pursuing the|
|forever unseen pinnacle of success. Phil, to Goodman, embodies Corporate |
|America. The descriptions of Phil in The Company Man are sardonically |
|accusatory of the present way people live in society. The author makes light of|
|the fact that Phil is a heart attack waiting to happen, and that he maintains a|
|70-hour work week, by mentioning the simple fact that he eats egg salad |
|sandwiches. His death is seen as unsurprising by the people who knew him, and |
|they did nothing more than shake their heads when they heard the news. Phil’s |
|character is seemingly insignificant. Goodman mentions that Phil was “fifty-one|
|years old, and a vice president”. With this, she leads the reader to believe |
|that Phil had a very influential role on his company. The subsequent line, |
|however, reveals that “He was, however, one of six vice presidents.” In the |
|ending lines, as well, this portrayal of insignificance reoccurs when the CEO |
|of Phil’s company turns away from telling Phil’s widow that he will be missed, |
|and immediately begins looking for his replacement. The article is also |
|littered with statistics. Like many Americans, Phil is constantly obsessed |
|about his work and whether or not he will ascend to the top position. He worked|
|overtime — 6 day weeks (mostly of 10+ hour days). The 51-year-old was the vice|
|president of a company run by a 60-year-old and was widowed by his 48-year-old |
|wife, who was a simple housewife and mother. Phil’s oldest child was a |
|hard-working executive in a manufacturing firm; his second child, a 24 year old|
|girl-newly married; and his youngest, a high-school graduate who worked just |…