English 102 G2
Elliot Ness: Hero or Great Story Teller?
In Elliot Ness’ memoir The Untouchables, the author personally narrates the story of how the name “Untouchables” came to be. After being released from prison, Al Capone was starting trouble again in the streets of Chicago. Capone tries to bribe the police officers trying to take down his operation but Ness and his team refused the bribes. Being proud of this accomplishment Ness immediately goes to the press and told the story, and the press in turn coined the trio as the “untouchables” because of their inability to be bribed. Through his usage of tone and dramatization, Ness achieves his purpose of hooking his audience into his story and depicting himself and his team as being larger than life.
Ness is extremely effective at hooking the audience in through his tone. He depicts himself and his team as the purest and most incorruptible group at the time. It is evident that he wants to convey that message by saying, “Listen—and listen carefully,” I told him. “I want you to take this envelope back to them and tell them that Eliot Ness can’t be bought—not for two thousand a week, ten thousand or a hundred thousand. Not for all the money they’ll ever lay their scummy hands on” (7). His tone here shows how passionate he was about not being bribed and that his unrelenting belief in what is right and wrong could not be bought or broken. He continues to use this tone when describing how his men refused the bribes stating, “These two men earned the sum total of twenty-eight hundred dollars a year. They had been tempted with the better part of a year’s salary, yet had scorned a bribe which probably would have been impossible to trace” (8). His tone depicts a joyous and proud person who wanted to relay the message that no one that worked for him could be bribed. By the end of the story, people would hold Ness and his team up on a pedestal for being...