Division In The Prison System: Documentary Analysis

1073 Words5 Pages

Kaleigh Hannigan
Professor Ayala
EN 104
3 April 2023
Division in the Prison System The Netflix documentary, 13th, captures the ongoing division between justice, race, and mass incarceration in the U.S. The film develops its argument through authors, professors, activists, and political figures. The film is named after the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery except as punishment for a crime in the U.S. After the passing of this amendment, African Americans assumed their life would change for the better, and they could finally feel like real human beings. Over 100 years later, African Americans are still enduring hardships solely based on their race. While 13th presents a clear argument, to pass an evaluation, it needs to meet a certain …show more content…

A sufficient criterion of an effective argument is to include a counterargument. The documentary, 13th, passes the evaluation because it effectively utilizes rhetorical devices; however, it fails in meeting the sufficient criterion by omitting a counterargument. The appeal to pathos was the most often rhetorical device used throughout the film. This increases the effectiveness of the argument because it evokes emotion in people watching the documentary. During the film, the director includes clips and photos of violent events to show the torture African Americans went through. Raw footage of lynchings and abuse were shown to connect to viewers’ emotions. These graphics successfully portray the suffering people went through rather than only hearing about it. The pain and heartache viewers feel supports the argument because it creates a sense of sorrow for how horrifically these people were treated compared to the privileges we have now. Although Americans have more freedom now than years prior, racial discrimination is ongoing. 13th further uses pathos by including …show more content…

A multitude of authors, professors, activists, and political figures are shown throughout the documentary as credible sources. Many presidential speeches were shown including ones by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as trustworthy appeals to ethos. The use of historical figures enriched the audience’s trust because they are recognizable individuals amongst society. Furthermore, some of the speakers included are: Attorney and Founder of Essie Justice Group, Gina Clayton; Grandview University Professor of History, Kevin Gannon; and formerly incarcerated activist, Glenn E. Martin. The director strengthens their argument by using individuals who have strong credentials as well as connections to the disturbances of African Americans. One quote that stuck out throughout the film was spoken by American lawyer, Bryan Stevenson. He said, “the Bureau of Justice reported that one in three young black males is expected to go to jail or prison during his lifetime” (37:15). As someone who studies this topic as a profession, it makes his statements more profound to the viewers. With the addition of pathos and logos, ethos effectively persuades the audience with an effective

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