Chronicle Of An American Execution
“ Chronicle Of An American Execution”, written by Dan Barry, is a very powerful and descriptive writing which illustrates an cruel execution by electrocution that took place in the state of Tennessee in 2007. Third person narrative, imagery and word choice are the three techniques Dan skillfully uses throughout his essay as a result to create strong and unforgettable impressions and pictures in the reader’s minds; These rhetorical devices not only lively portray physical characteristics, but also directly present the concrete ruthless details of the execution and effectively contribute dominant impression upon the readers. Dan uniquely starts off his essay with a brief description talking about the surrounding environment and atmosphere of the execution. Then he uses flashback to inform the readers about the background details of the main character, Mr.Holton, such that why he is being arrested and sentenced to death. In this descriptive piece of writing, Dan aims to closely present and demonstrate the cruelty of American executions especially ones by electrocution, and he urges the readers to think about abandoning executions since they are no difference than murdering. Dan begins his essay with a relaxed description of Mr.Holton’s outlook and expressions before his death; Dan’s choice of words immediately captures the reader’s interest; He states “ He looks almost like a young child buckled into a car seat, with his closed eyes and freshly shaved head, with the way the black restraints of the electric chair crisscross at his torso. He yawns a wide-mouthed yawn, as though just stringing from an interrupted dream, and opens his eyes. He is moments from dying ( 66)”. In here, the author uses words like “young child” not only to contract Mr.Holton’s death with that of his four children’s, but also to foreshadow Mr.Holton’s crime of killing his own children for revenge. Furthermore, the words “stirring”...
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