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Analysis Assignment: Jonathan Kay’s Love/Hate Relationship with Scrabble 

Throughout Jonathan Kay’s “Scrabble is a Lousy Game,” he expresses his strong disliking of the game. He is “a passionate board-gamer,” but Scrabble does not interest him at all. Furthermore, he finds it interesting that the game has so much attention to it and does not understand why. Kay’s article has many distinct aspects when you look at it closely. To express his thoughts, he writes in his article starting with some background about the game, moves on to his hate for the game, then mentions some accomplishments people have made in the game, and, finally, ends it with more of why he does not like Scrabble. 

At first, it does not seem like Kay hates Scrabble, but that impression quickly changes. He begins the article by talking about the background of the game Scrabble. It seems as if Kay could be interested in the game for a period of time, but it gets boring too quickly. Kay includes some of the new possible words that can count in the game Scrabble. By choosing to mention words like “zomboid” and “qapik,” he draws the readers in because it makes them wonder what he is talking about and where those words even come from. Then, he says, “there are many other gaming options out there,” hinting that he would rather play any other game besides Scrabble. He says, “Scrabble, to put it bluntly, is a lousy game.” Clearly, Kay does not believe there is any good reason to play Scrabble except if it is a habit. He believes that Scrabble is only played to earn the most points with words, while he would rather know the meaning of the words and their etymology over getting the most points. Moving on, he compares the game to a math contest assuming that most readers should know a little bit about math. By comparing what he is talking about to something most readers are familiar with, he keeps the readers engaged. He explains that it is interesting to see a lot of letters or know “pi to the 1,000th decimal,” but it is even more interesting to know where a word originates from and what the true meaning of it is. With some background, Jonathan Kay does not enjoy Scrabble because he likes to see the deeper meaning of “just knowing things.”

Next, Kay brings in some of his experiences with the game. With his friend John Chew, he helped teach elementary school students how to play Scrabble. However, he expressed that one of the handouts his friend made was “a total turnoff” because it proved the game is not fun and is just work. He then mentions some exciting events and facts about people throughout the history of Scrabble. For example, the majority of the world’s best Scrabble players speak other languages besides English. Kay even brings in some humor about the “New Zealand Scrabble legend Nigel Richards.”  Nigel Richards memorized a French dictionary because he got bored of memorizing English Scrabble words. Then, Richards went on to win the “French-language Scrabble championships.” Kay continues to compliment some of the best Scrabble players and says they “have very sharp minds,” yet he continues to hate the game. It seems that Kay has respect for the players and acknowledges the intellectual demands of the game. However, he has no interest in playing the “lousy game.”

In the final segment of his article, he, again, expresses his thoughts about hating the game, Scrabble, while also giving it a few exceptions. Kay says, “it’s basically a memorization test that makes you feel smug when you pass and stupid when you fail.” At this point, Kay should have nothing bad left to say about the game. He points out that this game is only there to make people feel bad about themselves if they cannot come up with the best words or words worst the most points in the game. It seems as if he believes that games “should have some mix of skill and luck” and Scrabble does not have that. However, he gives readers a few options of other games for those who enjoy Scrabble, such as the 2015 breakout hit Codenames or Paperback. As much as Kay criticizes this game, he likes to give many reasons why and other suggestions of “better” games to play.

Overall, Jonathan Kay does not like Scrabble whatsoever. He believes “deep in [his] gaming heart, [that he]’ll never concede that Scrabble is OK.” Kay has come to realize, along with his friend, that having different interests in games is perfectly fine. Not everyone has to enjoy the same games, nor will everyone like the same ones. Still, Kay believes Scrabble is one of the worst games to be invented. Everyone has their own opinions on which games are good or not because of their own interests. Jonathan Kay has come to accept this and has no hate toward the people playing the game, just the game itself.


One response to “Analysis Assignment: Jonathan Kay’s Love/Hate Relationship with Scrabble ”

  1. I believe this essay was very well written and did not have a lot of mistakes at all. I wrote about a run on sentence that happened to have a comma splice. the sentence itself was very well written and even though I fixed the error I made the wording less fluent. I made the sentence much shorter with only one comma. The sentence I though was well done was ending in a quote and had no problems.


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