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A Rhetorical Analysis Of

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"Lockdown" by Evans D. Hopkins: A Rhetorical Analysis

According to the Webster Dictionary, rhetoric is defined as the art of speaking or writing effectively. Rhetoric is made up of three separate appeals that can be used individually or collectively in an attempt to persuade a reader. Ethos is the credibility and qualifications of the speaker or author. Pathos is the author's use of emotions and sympathy to urge the audience to agree with his or her standpoint. And lastly, logos is applying sound reasoning (logic) to attract the typical ideas of the audience and to prove the author's point of view. "Lockdown" by Evans D. Hopkins is a fine example of an author using these appeals to persuade his audience. Hopkins uses of the three appeals are easy to locate and relate with throughout the entire passage. He undoubtedly uses rhetoric to try and keep his audiences focus and to persuade them to feel the way he does about the treatment of prisoners. We can identify and trust that he is making reasonable assertions because he was a prisoner and went through actual lockdowns. The fact that Hopkins was an actual prisoner proves his credibility to provide evidence for his thoughts.

Hopkins proves his credibility (ethos) right away in his opening sentence and also gains the trust of his audience. "I know something serious has happened when I wake up well before dawn to discover two guards wearing armored vests and riot helmets taking a head count" (298). As he goes on to express that this is not the first time he has encountered a lockdown. "I have endured lockdowns in buildings with little or no heat, lockdowns during which authorities cut off the plumbing completely, so contraband couldn't be flushed away; and lockdowns where we weren't allowed to shower for more than a month" (300). The details Hopkins share with his audience about the lockdowns he has been part of, helps him to exhibit his credentials for telling this story. He continues to reassure his audience that he is reliable by writing about the restrictions that were imposed due to this particular lockdown at Nottoway Correctional Center in Virginia, such as stripping the prisoners of their most personal property; televisions, tape players, personal clothing, and type writers. "Many of them have done ten or fifteen years, like me obeying all the rules and saving meager pay from prison jobs to buy a few personal items-items that we must now surrender" (301). He is now not only informing his audience of his real experience with prison life but he is also calling upon their emotions (pathos) to try and persuade them to feel that the prisoners should not be punished if they, themselves, didn't do anything wrong.

One of Hopkins most valuable talents is his use of pathos. He does an exceptional job at altering the audience's feelings causing them to feel sympathetic for him. "Sitting at the edge of my bed while considering my plight, I look at photographs of my family. My eyes rest on the school portrait of my son, taken shortly before he died from heart disease ten years ago, at age twelve. Sorrow overwhelms me, and I find myself giving in to grief, then to great, mournful sobs." (301). The story about his son is sure to trigger some feelings of compassion from the audience and that is exactly what he wants at this point.

Hopkins sense of logic is very unique. When describing his crime and the sentence he was given he makes very logistical confirmations to aid in the audiences understanding of his thoughts. Hopkins makes a very logical comparison between the crime he committed and the defeat that he feels after the



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