Essay On Racism By Brent Staples

1694 Words7 Pages
Racism is not only a crime against humanity, but a daily burden that weighs down many shoulders. Racism has haunted America ever since the founding of the United States, and has eerily followed us to this very day. As an intimidating looking black man living in a country composed of mostly white people, Brent Staples is a classic victim of prejudice. The typical effect of racism on an African American man such as Staples, is a growing feeling of alienation and inferiority; the typical effect of racism on a white person is fear and a feeling of superiority. While Brent Staples could be seen as a victim of prejudice because of the discrimination he suffers, he claims that the victim and the perpetrator are both harmed in the vicious cycle that is racism. Staples employs his reader to recognize the value of his thesis through his stylistic use of anecdotes, repetition and the contrast of his characterization.

Staples’ claim is made clear through the series of chronological anecdotes that make up his essay. The snippets of his life range from a short story about crossing a street at night in Chicago to being mistaken for a burglar while rushing into his office to turn in a deadline story - all because of the color of his skin. The anecdotes in his essay are meant to show the reader what to believe instead of merely telling them. Staples has a clear reason for writing and has strong beliefs about racism, however the stylistic devices he uses are meant to guide the reader into developing their own opinion on racism, which Staples in turn knows will persuade. Instead of stating his biased opinion from the start, he invites the reader in through his stories, even though the images themselves are hard to stomach. Staples wisely avoids a...

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...use in us.”, to choppier and abrupt sentences such as “It was useless to try to do anything.” and “The struggle was over.” The transition to shorter, breathless, syntax when the moth is about to die mimics death itself: breathless and abrupt. The transitional structure of Woolfs piece allows her reader to experience the journey of finding the meaning of life with her, instead of merely explaining a realization she had one day while watching a moth die.

The relationship between life and death is explored in Woolf’s piece, “The Death of a Moth.” Woolf’s own epiphany is presented in her piece; she invites her reader, through her stylistic devices, to experience the way in which she realized what the meaning of life and death meant to her. Woolf’s techniques allow her audience to further their own understanding of death and encourages them consider their own existence.
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