Communication Skills Essay 4


A response to John Grisham

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What if every murder movie was really just a lesson to the viewers on how to get away with it? Sounds silly, right? Well, John Grisham argues in one of his essays that there is a link between a film called Natural Born Killers and two heinous crimes that just fit the storyline. He argues using his own credibility, his own way with words to make people feel what he is trying to explain, and his own assumptions of what common logic would prove. Grisham uses many different methods to prove that there is a connection between the film, “Natural Born Killers” and the two homicides he reviewed,  he uses ethical appeals, emotional appeals, and logical appeals to show his audience why his argument is valid.

The author persuades the readers of his main argument by using ethical appeals. Grisham uses his credibility as an attorney, a writer, and a politician to prove his belief that there is a connection between the film Natural Born Killers and murderers. Grisham explains, “The crime scene yielded few clues. There was no signs of a struggle. Other than the bullets found in the body, there was little physical evidence” (Grisham 344). When Grisham uses the phrase “Crime scene” it shows that this quote has the characteristics of an ethical appeal because someone with a credible background would be the only one who could assume that there isn’t much physical evidence. This quote is persuasive because it tells the expertise of the killer. It persuades the readers on how much Ben has learned from the film Natural Born Killers. This quote proves that there is a connection between the film and the murders because with each crime committed in the movie the killers got better at being inconspicuous. The credibility the author has helps prove his argument because the killing followed the storyline of the movie. Grisham also says, “Authorities in Louisiana had no knowledge of the murder of Bill Savage, and authories in Mississippi had no knowledge of the shooting of Patsy Byers, and neither state had reason to suspect the two shooting were committed by the same people.” (Grisham 345). He uses the words “Neither state had reason to suspect” to show that the credible officers didn’t see any connections between the two murders. Different states may  not know what goes on in other states; usually if they see a pattern between multiple murders, all states are on the lookout. This quote is persuasive of the author’s argument because it shows that all the crimes that were committed didn’t look connected, which shows the author’s correct assumption that the movie Natural Born Killers led the two teens to commit these heinous crimes. This quote proves the authors argument because it has credible proof that the professionalism of the crimes was so good, that it was barely traceable to other crimes in different states.

Additionally, Grisham uses emotional words and phrases to convince the audience of his argument by making them feel as if they were affected by the crimes. Grisham tries to make the readers understand what it was like to be related to one of the victims; he also makes the audience see how crazy the two teens were. Grisham says, “Ben loved Natural Born Killers, as they drove to Memphis he spoke openly of killing people, randomly, just like Mickey spoke to Mallory. He mentioned the idea of seizing upon a remote farmhouse, murdering all its occupants, then moving on to the next slaughter” (Grisham 347). When the author says that he “Spoke openly of killing” and “moving onto the next slaughter” it gives the audience a feel of how crazy someone can be. It also shows the readers that sometimes people joke about things like this and people don’t think these thoughts or ideas are real.  This quote is persuasive because it lets people feel scared or creeped out by the idea of somebody being passionate about killing people. I think that this quote helps prove Grisham’s argument because without giving the audience a chance to see what Ben openly speaks about they wouldn’t be able to pick a side. This quote shows how crazy Ben was and how he thought it was normal to speak his heinous thoughts out loud. Another example of emotional appeal Grisham uses is when he states, “This was the place where they would kill, he said, and told Sarah to stop the car a short distance away so he could test-fire the gun. It worked. They then drove to the gin, parked next to Bill Savage’s small office. Ben told her to act ‘angelic’, and then they went inside.” (Grisham 347). When Grisham shows the audience phrases like “Place where they would kill” and “To act ‘angelic’” it shows the reader how controlling Ben was, and how scary it is being told what to do. This quote is persuasive of Grisham’s argument because it shows how psychotic Ben was and the audience can feel just as scared as the victims were. Grisham’s argument that the movie and the killers in his essay are related is proved in this quote by getting the audience to understand how it feels to be told how to act, and by how scary it is that Ben planned where he would kill.

Lastly, Grisham uses logical appeals such as common knowledge to prove to the readers that the film and the two crimes were related. The author explains, “The film wasn’t made with the intent of stimulating morally depraved young people to commit similar crimes, but such a result can hardly be a surprise.” (Grisham 349). The author states the phrases “Intent of stimulating” and  “morally depraved”  to show that the film wasn’t meant to teach people how to kill. This quote is persuasive because it shows something that everyone with a brain could assume; the film wasn’t intentionally made for people to use the ideas in the real world. This quote shows the audience that Grisham sees the simple logic that everyone else sees too. This quote helps prove the argument because even though it wasn’t intended to make people hurt others, some people still took it to the next level and committed serious crimes. To further prove his point Grisham also stated, “But there is no humor in Natural Born Killers. It is a relentlessly bloody story designed to shock us and to further numb us to the senselessness of reckless murder.” (Grisham 349).  When Grisham says “No humor”, “Relentlessly bloody”, and “Reckless murder” he is showing the audience words that show common logical. Anyone could identify that murder is reckless, and that there is no humor in it. This quote is persuasive because it shows the audience that it is well known by most people that there is no humor when talking about murder. It is common knowledge that there is no humor in a movie titled Natural Born Killers that proves Grisham’s argument because normal people would find it sad and scary that these tragic crimes could actually happen, while the two teens were happy with hurting people and found humor in it.

In conclusion, John Grisham proves his argument that there is most definitely a link between the movie Natural Born Killers and the crimes that two teenagers were convicted of. Grisham used various different ways to persuade his audience, he uses ethical appeals, he uses emotional appeals, and he also uses logical appeals. All of his points seem to be backed up by valid evidence.

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