Author and editorial writer, Brent Staples acknowledges this issue as well as experience many situations in which people distinguish him from others. Brent Staples message in his essay titled “Just Walk On By” is conveyed to the audience through many rhetorical devices in which he suggests that stereotypes of race and gender can impact someone 's life in the easiest ways. Brent Staples use of pathos creates an emotional connection and pulls the reader into his essay, through his anecdotes and diction. His intro paragraph tells an interesting story, in a way that readers often forget what type of passage they are reading. Staples uses of phrases such as “my first victim”, “seemed menacingly close” “picked up her pace” and notably “running in earnest” (1-2).
Society in today’s world is very alike to society years ago, with different social classes and stereotypes. In “Just walk on by” by Brent staples, a variety of rhetorical devices are used in order to convey the message of how a black man is trying to show society that he is so much more than the color of his skin. The author explains how the character was characterized as violent and dangerous because he was black. Staples continues on a sort of journey with the character to show how he overcomes that stereotype, by whistling classical music to give the idea that he is mature and less threatening. Throughout the piece, Staples uses devices that will help the reader better understand the struggles that the character has to face on a daily basis.
In this essay, he demonstrates to the reader using his own experiences, how stereotypes based on sex and skin color can change the mind of one person and how it can influence many other people. Staples fears about how his appearance and his color make people think of him as a harmful person. a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket- he also mentions that he possesses an indulgent
His point of view is that of a man who feels that he has done wrong, when in reality, it is society that has done the wrongdoing. Staples knows that the stereotypes that he faces for being black are wrong but also understands that he has to accept them. His opening lines in the essay are “My first victim was a woman” (Staples 542). This simple line initially makes Staples look like a killer. He makes the reader view him this way initially as it is the way that he views himself.
Brief Summary Staples speaks of his experiences being a six foot tall, young, African American male in a city filled with poverty and crime. He had never truly been exposed to the stereotypes and discrimination in his younger days, of course he knew of it, but he never truly experienced it. When he was twenty-two years old, he was out walking at night due to a bad case of insomnia. Apparently, he was following a little too uncomfortably close to a white woman and she felt endangered. She began to run from him in a defense mechanism, opening his eyes to the discrimination he was born into.
The women’s racism caused her reaction of “running in earnest,” “worried glances” and her eventual getaway, exemplifying the prejudice of a black male. He further demonstrates his “ability to alter public space” when just crossing “in front of a car stopped at a traffic light.” He hears the “thunk” of the driver locking their car regardless of them being “black, white, male, or female.” Staples understands the world is dangerous and people have the right to fear those around them, however, he continues to endure discrimination. But I am the person making those judgements.
In his memoir, Staples writes about racial profiling he has personally experienced in the New York and Chicago area. He talks about himself walking down a deserted street with just the woman (238). Staples then talks about the fear he could feel in the woman with the distance she kept away from him (238). Eventually the woman started running until she disappeared into the cross street (Staples 238). He writes about another time he was racially profiled in a jewelry store (241).
In Brent Staples essay "Just Walk On By: Black Men and Public Space" Staples uses a lot of diction to puts emphasis on the tensions between the black and white races. It was very clear to point out and say that his target audience are the scared white women and people that get frightened when they see a person of color. Staples knows that there are good and bad black people but regardless of what he thinks of himself others will always look at him different. So to change their ideals he uses strong diction to get them to feel different. Staples believes white people see him as a "mugger" or a "rapist". He uses these words to let the people see that they are verbally aggressive towards people like him and its bad. He would never do such a thing,
That it is reality and not just a concept based off of racism. Within these anecdotes Staples uses hyperbole to create suspense and kind of overstate the real issue at hand in order to show how terrible his position truly is. Such as in the opening sentence, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties…(542)”. The woman is not an actual “victim” to any physical harm. Nothing happened to her except she feared for possibly her life.
In their defense, Staples asserts that he could not blame them since young black male had occasionally been involved in violence. Staples continues to give more examples of extreme situations in which he found himself in trouble for being mistaken
(1). He uses the rhetorical device of figurative language to give the reader a strong image of his feeling
The non-fiction novel ‘In Cold Blood’ interestingly begins as a fiction novel would-with the author setting up the scene of the gruesome quadruple murder about to take place, unbeknownst to the victims. Capote describes the isolated flatlands of rural Kansas, and introduces the victims and their killers as if they were the main characters of a fictional murder mystery. What immediately struck me is how Capote uses literary techniques like the simultaneous narration of the lives of the killers and victims, and the fragmented retelling of the story not specifically in the order of events, which makes the story read more like a work of fiction than of pure journalism. As one gets engrossed in the book, it gets easier to forget that the story is based on truth and is not just a fictional story born in Capote’s head. Capote also demonstrates his mastery over the ‘thriller and suspense’ genre, detailing the Clutter family’s everyday lives, emotions and experiences but with progressively higher levels of anticipation as the pages go by, employing versions of the omnipresent phrase, ‘and that was their last’ for dramatic effect.
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.
One would think prejudice is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that is not the case, prejudice is still a common factor in todays society. Vincent N. Parrillo’s essay “Causes of Prejudice,” helped me to understand how we are affected not just psychologically but in a sociological way as well, as John A. Camacho explains in his A Few Bad Apples opinion piece published in the Pacific Daily News. Both forms of prejudice are continued to be explained through Stud Turkel’s “C.P Ellis,” he gives us an understanding of psychological and sociological prejudice through C.P Ellis’own experiences. This furthers our understanding on how we can be affected by both psychological and sociological prejudices.