AP Language and Composition
“Sicko” Rhetorical Analysis
“Sicko” is a documentary produced by Michael Moore that focuses on health care in America.The documentary provides an in depth understanding and analysis of the unceasing health care problems in America. Most of these problems result from the corruption present in the American health insurance industry. The message that Michael Moore is trying to get across to his audience is that of the immortality within the American health care system. Michael Moore is able to get his message across to the public by incorporating the three rhetoric techniques of logos, pathos, and ethos. He uses logos by comparing America’s health insurance to those of other countries, pathos by evoking both feelings of sadness and laughter, and ethos by personally visiting different countries and seeing for himself the profusion of apparent differences.
In Part one of the documentary, Michael Moore mainly focuses on establishing the corruption and deception present in America’s health care industry. He built upon this corruption by conducting multiple interviews with previous and current employees of the industry. This established a strong sense of ethos as all the people being interviewed were people who have personally experienced work in the health care industry. One particularly significant interview was with a woman who currently worked in the health care industry. Her job required her to help people who were applying for health insurance. Although this may seem like a simple job, the interviewee talked about having to help applicants of health insurance, whom she knew would eventually be rejected. Even though the health insurance companies are supposed to try to help people, the process of even attempting to get health care is a challenge in itself. The interviewee stated that the list of certain illnesses that prevents one from getting health insurance is long enough to “wrap around [her] entire house”. The credibility Michael Moore attempts to establish is further emphasized as he conducts interviews with actual victims of the American health care system. These stories along with credibility also utilize the rhetoric device of pathos. As these interviewees are all victims of this system, their stories are all very tragic and mostly result in awful consequences. One story followed the story of an American woman who was notified of a tumor in her brain. As she applied for a surgery to remove this tumor, a letter came back from her health insurance company stating that the surgery will not be conducted as “the circumstances [were] not life threatening”. This woman, who could not afford the costly surgery on her own, had to make the decision not to have the surgery. It turned out that the tumor in the brain continued to grow, and she eventually passed away. The pathos present in this story and all the others are crucial for the audience to clearly understand Michael Moore’s point. In order to see the health insurance companies in the way Michael Moore sees them, the audience must see the numerous victims’ personal stories of tragedy. Along with ethos and pathos, these specific interviews also employ the device of logos. American health care, which American politicians renown to be one of the best in the world, is supposed to help the victims of health problems. However, by interviewing people with health care that are still treated with neglect, Michael Moore shows the logic behind his hatred for the American health care industry. If even people with health care suffer, it is clear that the system is not working at all. Part one of the documentary ends with these numerous stories and eventually integrates into Part two of the documentary, where Michael Moore introducers a much lighter atmosphere.
The second portion of the documentary follows Michael Moore’s journeys in three different countries: Canada, France and Great Britain. These countries and their...
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