"Lockdown" by Evans D. Hopkins: A Rhetorical Analysis
According to the Webster Dictionary, rhetoric is defined as the art of speaking or writing effectively. Rhetoric is made up of three separate appeals that can be used individually or collectively in an attempt to persuade a reader. Ethos is the credibility and qualifications of the speaker or author. Pathos is the author's use of emotions and sympathy to urge the audience to agree with his or her standpoint. And lastly, logos is applying sound reasoning (logic) to attract the typical ideas of the audience and to prove the author's point of view. "Lockdown" by Evans D. Hopkins is a fine example of an author using these appeals to persuade his audience. Hopkins uses of the three appeals are easy to locate and relate with throughout the entire passage. He undoubtedly uses rhetoric to try and keep his audiences focus and to persuade them to feel the way he does about the treatment of prisoners. We can identify and trust that he is making reasonable assertions because he was a prisoner and went through actual lockdowns. The fact that Hopkins was an actual prisoner proves his credibility to provide evidence for his thoughts.
Hopkins proves his credibility (ethos) right away in his opening sentence and also gains the trust of his audience. "I know something serious has happened when I wake up well before dawn to discover two guards wearing armored vests and riot helmets taking a head count" (298). As he goes on to express that this is not the first time he has encountered a lockdown. "I have endured lockdowns in buildings with little or no heat, lockdowns during which authorities cut off the plumbing completely, so contraband couldn't be flushed away; and lockdowns where we weren't allowed to shower for more than a month" (300). The details Hopkins share with his audience about the lockdowns he has been part of, helps him to exhibit his credentials for telling this story. He continues to reassure...
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