AP Lang. 3B
19 December 2014
Benny Paret Rhetorical Analysis
Norman Cousins “Who Killed Benny Paret” in 1962 essay fixates on a barbaric boxing match at Madison Square Garden between Emile Griffith and Benny Paret, which led to Paret’s brutal demise. Millions of people worldwide take part as spectators to the sport of prize fighting. Cousins uses diction, syntax and figurative language to communicate how, “You put killers in the ring” (3), and people pay to gawk at a murder. Throughout the essay Cousins employs ethos, pathos, and logos, which evokes ethical appeal, emotion, and logic to reason with the readers resulting in Paret’s death. It was not the alone act of the crowd that killed Benny Paret, but the managers, referees and physicians doing as well. The crowds of people that attend these matches don’t go to see the sport of boxing, but the brutality of a knock out. Cousins argues that prize fighting is a display of violence and that boxers essentially kill themselves in a ring for the basic intention of entertaining a crowd. All through the essay he attempts to validate why Paret was killed, specifically questioning his manager, the referee, the faulty physicians, and the crowd.
Cousins uses diction to express his opinionated views on prize-fighting. Even though Cousins was new to the sport he begins interviewing Mike Jacobs, an influential prize-fighting promoter. He describes Mr. Jacobs speaking of promoting boxing by using the word, “colossus (2), and when he speaks, he was no longer mild-mannered and gentle-looking. Instead, he had the authoritative and commanding voice of Napoleon, the famous military leader in French history, when he inspected a battle. Thus, showing us that he was very meticulous in the matter of prize fighting, but specifically engaging the crowd. Mr. Jacobs knows how to sell a match in conjunction with comparing their scrupulousness. “Colossus” (2), is also comparing their height. “He was no longer a bland little man” (2), through this, referring to Mr. Jacobs and Napoleon being minuscule suggests that both men are short, and vigorous, but, “Number One” (2). During the investigation they found many possibilities of what could have killed Benny Paret except the fact that the force of a human punch can indeed cause major brain damage and even death. “It has a lacework of millions of highly fragile nerve connections” (8), which emphasizes how intricate and complex the human brain is. The application of “lacework” (8), describes how the brain, and the nerves are viewed collectively instead of two separate parts, just like how it wasn’t just the punches from his opponent that killed him, it was also the crowd, his manager, and the referee. Since it wasn’t solely Emile Griffith’s fault causing Benny Paret’s death the investigators have to inspect the referee’s role. “He should have intervened to stop the fight” (9), which is ironic because the violence, “to see a man stretched out on the canvas, is the supreme moment in boxing” (9), and because of his death they are now trying to blame the referee. To have, “intervened” (9), on the referees part would be to have him interrupt the match, and to prevent Griffith’s relentless beating on Paret. You cannot blame the referee alone because his manager knew Paret was not physically ready to fight, but through him in the ring anyway. Though the referee did not intervene it can also be said that the crowd killed him by coming to see such orthodox brutality. Nevertheless it was not one factor that killed Benny Paret, it was the whole arena.
The syntax of the passage contributes greatly to the reader’s shock because of the way it manipulates time. Mike Jacobs discusses the important components in a triumphant prize-fighting promoter by explaining how, “you put killers in the ring and people filled your arena” (3). The main ingredient in doing so is hiring, “boxing artists”, (3) one who will put on a good show. When you...
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