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Stereotypes In 'Just Walk On By'

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“Stereotypes, they 're sensual, cultural weapons. That 's the way that we attack people. At an artistic level, stereotypes are terrible writing.” - Junot Díaz, an American-Dominican author. Stereotypes have the ability to make or break an image of any one person who fits the requirements of any single stereotype. In “Just Walk on By” by Brent Staples, Staples writes about his experiences as he tries to overcome the negative stereotype he is perceived to be as a black man in Chicago. Throughout the writing, it is evident that stereotypes heavily impact the way people in society view others although Staples shows how he overcomes the obstacle despite the disprovement of society. Brent Staples creates a trusted, hopeful persona for himself…show more content…
Staples creates an emotional approach with his use of anecdotes and diction in order to be able to connect with the readers on a more personal level. Staples uses anecdotes throughout his writing to provide real world experiences of his own life. The opening paragraph of the writing paints an image into the reader’s mind of a woman as “[s]he cast[s] back a worried glance.” This image alone allows Staples to connect with his reader by showing what he saw first-hand. This anecdote creates a sense of sympathy and pity for Staples from the reader, which, consequently, builds their trust for him. Furthermore, Staples uses gloomy diction throughout the writing to create a sense of dread when approaching the subject of black men in public places. He uses terms such as “fearsomeness” and “frightening” in his anecdotes. By doing so, the reader can infer the tough experiences Staples had to endure even though he was an innocent man. The diction creates pity in a reader because it has strong negative connotations. Because the words are being connected to the author’s life, the audience is brought to imagine a “fearsome” and “frightening” world. Staples use of anecdotes and diction furthered his use of pathos by creating dreadful worldly images in the minds of the readers, which allowed him to connect to the audience on a personal
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