Rhetorical Diction In Lee Jenkins's 'A Good Man Down'
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Lee Jenkins explores the elements of the rhetorical triangle, tone, diction, and structure in his exceptional piece, “A Good Man Down.” Jenkins writes an article about Ed Thomas, a football coach in Parkersburg, Iowa, who was shot and killed on June 24, 2009. Jenkins looks at how Thomas led the town through the hardships that they faced, and how they reacted to his death. Jenkins starts the article with a section that sets an optimistic tone for the piece. “What makes it special, what makes it sacred, is the love that Thomas poured into the turf,” is an example of how Jenkins places a thought of determination into the reader’s mind. Throughout the article Jenkins explains how Ed Thomas helped the town of Parkersburg through many disastrous moments, such as the tornado that hit thirteen months before. Thomas keeps hope by putting back together the football field, which brings the town together. Towards the end of the piece, Jenkins goes back to the optimistic tone and writes about forgiveness and how the people of Parkersburg are sticking together. He includes a quote that Ed Thomas’ oldest son told the team about what was going to happen. “Don’t use this as an excuse. Nothing is changing here.” By including this quote, it lets the reader know that the citizens of Parkersburg are not giving up and they are going to move on through the tough times, no matter how hard it is.
The rhetorical triangle makes a strong appearance in Jenkins’ writing. By using pathos, he connects the audience to the people of Parkersburg by interviewing people that knew Ed Thomas. He includes a quote from the police chief, who said “He was the rock that this community was built on,” which connects the audience to the article by making them realize how much of an impact Thomas had on the small town. It makes them reflect on who has had significant meaning in their life. Jenkins also links the readers of Sports Illustrated to the article by discussing the details of Thomas’ daily life, such as coaching and teaching. These two tasks are some that many of the readers can relate to because they have played, coached, or are interested in sports, and have all been taught by someone who they admire. Jenkins also uses word choice to create