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Black Men and Public Space

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by

Lorenzo Ortiz

on 16 July 2013

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Transcript of Black Men and Public Space

Black Men and Public Space
"My first
victim
was a woman--
white, well dressed, probably in her twenties.

I came upon

her
late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighborhood in an otherwise
mean, impoverished section of Chicago.
Rhetorical Devices Used:
Diction
- The word "victim" conveys sarcastic tone, also to imitate the thinking of the general public. The effect is to make the reader feel as if they were in his shoes, in that situation.
Tricolon
- "white, well dressed, probably in her twenties"
Imagery
- "I came upon her late"- Allows the reader to visualize what other people think about him. Also makes the reader feel as if he is really the predator, that people presume him to be.
"As a
softy
who is
scarcely able to take a knife to raw chicken
- let alone hold one to a person's throat- I was
surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed
all at once."

Rhetorical Devices Used:
Imagery
- "to take a knife to raw chicken"- The quote makes the reader think about the inconsequential act of cutting chicken, thus making them realize the extent of Staple's nonviolent attitudes.
Hyperbole
-"who is barely able to take a knife to raw chicken"- An overstatement about his attitude towards violence. Also appeals to Ethos, making the reader know that he is not inclined to attack people.
Connotation
- The use of the word "softy" is connotative to being a nonviolent person.
Colloquial Language
- "softy", The use of the word relates the author to the reader with common mundane language.
"I grew up one of the
good boys, had perhaps a half-dozen fistfights.
In retrospect, my shyness of combat has clear sources. "
Rhetorical Devices Used:
Connotation
- "half-dozen fistfights" This allows the reader to understand what kind of fights he got into. But also lets the reader know that he participated in feeble fights, nothing serious.
Colloquial Language
- "good boys" This brings to mind for the reader what they perceive as being a "good boy" without any more connotations than the one he intends.
"At dark, shadowy intersections, I could cross in front of a car stopped at a traffic light and elicit the
thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk
of the driver-
black, white, male, or female
-
hammering down the door locks
."
Rhetorical Devices Used:
Onomatopoeia
-"thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk" The statement brings the reader into the situation Staples has experienced. The sound makes the reader realize how the sound means more than what it seems.
Tetracolon
- "black, white, male, or female"
Connotation
- "hammering down the door locks" The word hammering is the most important, because it reveals the frantic state of the car driver. Also it reveals the way Staples views their reactions.
"They were
babies
, really--
a teenage cousin, a brother of twenty-two, a childhood friend in his mid-twenties
-- all gone down in episodes of
bravado
."
Rhetorical Devices Used:
Hyperbole
: "They were babies, really" This lets the reader know he has been affected by the violence that people fear from himself, and other African- Americans like him. It also appeals to the Pathos, making the reader feel the emotional connection between Staples and his fallen friends.
Tricolon
: "a teenage cousin, a brother of twenty-two, a childhood friend in his mid-twenties" This short list of fallen friends presents to the reader a short list of important people he has lost; it establishes his Ethos about street violence.
Expletive
: "-- a teenage cousin, a brother of twenty-two, a childhood friend in his mid-twenties--" The hyphens that surround his list of people let the reader know they are important.
Diction
: "bravado" This word choice reveals much about Staple's tone, which is that he feels they died for nothing but trivial matters.
"It is not altogether clear to me how I reached the
ripe old age of
twenty-two without being conscious of the
lethality
nighttime pedestrians attributed to me. "
Rhetorical Devices Used:
Oxymoron
: "ripe old age" The terms "ripe" and "old" seemingly are contradictory, but nonetheless explain how old he is to the reader.
Formal Language
: "lethality" This not being an everyday word heightens the readers knowledge of how people thought of Staples.
Overall effect of Rhetorical Devices on Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
- In terms of Ethos the devices allowed the reader to understand that he had experienced the death and violence that people fear from him.
- A strong use of Imagery works on the reader's Pathos, allowing them to feel bad for Staple's situation, and think that things need to change.
- His "raw chicken" remark fulfills Logos, because it confirms he is not a violent person, as some people take him to be.

Other Rhetorical Devices Used:
Anecdotes: Staples used this many times to establish his Ethos on the subject to the reader.
Inductive reasoning: He used this to imitate the way that people assumed because he was black, that he would attack them.
Full transcript