Michael Moore Loves Rhetoric

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Jeffrey Lee
Professor Lewis
English 2
10 February 2010
Michael Moore Loves Rhetoric
One of the most effective ways Moore draws our attention is by using real testimonies. By interviewing Americans who have been wronged by the health care system, he cleverly intertwines rhetoric to create a strong argument for universal health care. For example, after he presents the audience with a logos appeal, an ethos and/or pathos appeal will follow, or vice versa. Like a chain reaction, the appeals go hand in hand, making the viewer feel as if what they are seeing is real and not exaggerated. From the beginning, “Sicko” relies heavily on ethos and pathos to show that the health care industry is not sympathetic to the medical needs of Americans. One example of this is the story of a man named Tracy who had kidney cancer. His hospital refused to perform surgery on him and Tracy died soon after his wife challenged the hospital on the issue. Tracy’s wife, Julie, says that Tracy wanted to know why a good person like him had to be put into such an unfortunate situation. Here, Moore uses different techniques to get the audience to feel sympathy for this family. When the film first introduces us to Tracy and his family, we see segments of home videos depicting a happy family. As Tracy’s wife gives the interview, she tells an unfortunate story of Tracy’s death and how their health insurance failed them which further grabs the audience’s sympathy. She is interviewed in such a way where we feel as if she is in the living room with us; she seems like a friend or neighbor, and we sympathize for her loss. We are made to feel that his death was preventable. Further, we learn that despite Tracy’s wife being employed in the very hospital that provided them with so-called health care, they were denied treatment even though Tracy’s brother was a perfect donor. Essentially, she was working for the very people who were denying her family the care they need. Through the use of...
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