Just Walk On By Brent Staples Analysis

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Brent Staples, in his literary essay “Just Walk On By”, uses a variety of rhetorical strategies. The devices he uses throughout his essay effectively engage the audience in a series of his own personal anecdotes and thoughts. He specifically shifts the reader 's perspective towards the unvoiced and the judged. Within the essay, Staples manipulates several rhetorical strategies, such as perspective and metaphor, in order to emphasize the damage stereotypes have caused against the mindsets and perceptions of society as a whole. Staples illustrates how the nature of stereotypes can affect how we perceive others around us in either an excessively admirable light or, in his and many other cases, as barbaric or antagonistic. In his introductory paragraph, he begins his anecdote with seemingly vicious words: “My first victim was a woman” (Staples 542). This …show more content…

By specifically choosing to identify this woman as his “first victim”, he makes himself out to be a villain at first glance. He takes on the perspective of something much more dangerous than the simple street-walking insomniac he actually was. If he had introduced this paragraph using different or more mild word choice, it would lose its initial threatening impression and fail to hold any proper significance to his claim. The first impression of the essay disguises the truth; his appearance, character. No sooner than in the second paragraph do we get a glimpse of his personality in actuality: “[I’m] a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken-let alone hold it to a person’s throat” (Staples 542). He uses a more humorous route to admit to the audience of his harmless nature, shifting the perspective drastically from a stalking ominous figure to a misunderstood soft hearted person. Most omnivores are familiar with the task of cutting up raw meats to prepare for meals, and by stating the

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