Sunday, June 3, 2007

An Analysis of Jeff Jacoby's "Bring Back Flogging"

Melanie Woldt
June 3, 2007
An analysis of Jacoby’s “Bring Back Flogging”

Jeff Jacoby starts off his essay with a clear argument. His title “Bring Back Flogging” states clearly what he is trying to persuade his readers. In fact, I could go as far as to say that his thesis is directly in his title. His title is eye-catching and draws the reader in.
Jacoby’s thesis is strongly stated in the title. His thesis is simply to: bring back the puritan style of flogging as capital punishment. By starting off so clearly, it gives the reader a better understanding of what to look for in Jacoby’s essay that will support his thesis. His thesis is easily found and is supported by the main points of the essay.
The purpose of Jacoby’s essay is to persuade the reader that flogging is a better capital punishment than sending criminals to prison. Jacoby states that many of the offenders in prison are there for nonviolent crimes, yet they are subjected to the prison life where they are “beaten, raped, or murdered.” His point is simply to bring back the Puritan style of flogging a person for his or her first offense and chances are more likely than not that the offender will change his or her ways quickly.
Jacoby’s method of argument is to first give examples of the puritan style of punishment, then to bring in facts that supports the evidence that it would be a better method of punishing offenders. He gives some examples of punishments that were popular over 150 years ago. Jacoby then goes on to say specific statistics about the cost of imprisoning a person and how imprisonment affects an offender. Jacoby assumes that the reader knows that the rate of crimes has gone up since the puritan days. He assumes that it is due to our method of punishment.
Jacoby presents himself as a professional. His language is clear, but very professional. He states a multitude of facts and statistics to persuade his readers. He writes as though he is an expert of this field of study. This being the case, it is easier to take his opinion more seriously. The knowledge he presents is very understandable.
Jacoby’s closing paragraph restates his thesis. It is not stated the same way, but it implies the overall gist of the thesis. Jacoby’s concluding paragraph is wrapped up nicely with his ending sentence, “Maybe we should readopt a few,” leaves the reader thinking and considering his ideas. My personal impression is that Jacoby knows his stuff. He understands the need to express himself in a manner that is easy to understand and read. By doing this, he is able to more easily persuade a person to his side of thinking. I am not a fan of the public flogging, or private flogging for that matter, but I agree that the capital punishment needs to be rethought. Jacoby expresses his opinion in a way that enables me as the reader to understand his point of view. Jeff Jacoby’s essay was easy to read and understand.

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