Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police"

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Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead (Gansberg 86). Martin Gansbergs essay, Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didnt Call the Police, describes a true account of witnesses allowing the death of a neighbor and friend. In this essay Gasberg uses various techniques, including language and tone, to catch the readers attention.

Martin Gansberg begins his essay by luring the reader through the use of manipulative techniques the author attempts to make the reader angry, shows the reader an apathetic public, and also forces the reader to consider what he/she would do. Chief Inspector Lussen said, If we had been called when he first attacked, the woman might not be dead now, (Gansberg 86). Gansbergs use of this dialogue works specifically to try to make the reader furious. The author then demonstrates how much time elapses and how many times the killer leaves and returns to prove that the woman dies because no one steps in. In addition, Gansberg reveals that Miss Genovese is not a stranger to the witnesses or an unknown neighbor; she is a friend who most knew as Kitty. Still, Gansberg shows an apathetic public by emphasizing that not just one person, but several hear and even watch this heinous crime without making the effort to help. There are no calls to the police and no heroic attempts to aid, simply Gansberg asserts, because no one wants to become involved. We went to the window to see what was happening, he said, but the light from our bedroom made it difficult to see the street. The wife still apprehensive, added I put out the light and we were able to see better,(Gansberg 88). Gansbergs characterization of the couple reveals that they even turn out a light to accommodate their view. Next, Gansbergs technique of writing leads the reader to wonder what he/she would do if he/she ever faced the same situation. For more than half an hour 8 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens, (Gansberg 86). After the reader finishes the story and realizes the outcome, the reader reflects back to this initial passage and automatically judges his own character according to the behavior of these law-abiding citizens, asking; what would I do?

In addition, Gansbergs language to grasps the readers attention in terms of specific details, emotional language, and factual concrete images. First, the details of the crime scene. Gansberg specifically states the color of Miss Genovese car, the location in which she parks and the approximate distance her parking space is from her apartment. Gansberg also incorporates dialogue so the reader can feel the emotions of Miss Genovese. Im dying! she shrieked. Im dying! (Gansberg 87). These words alone display how frightened Miss Genovese is, which allows the reader to also experience some of her fear. His final use of language is factual language, which allows the reader to recall the events as they happen. For example, Gansberg recounts what the police confirm as the exact times the attack begins and the moment it ends in death.

The final method that cathces a readers attention is through Gansbergs use of changing tones; the author displays a mixture of sarcastic, authoritative, and objective tones. But the Kew Gardens slaying baffles him not because it is a murder, but because the good people failed to call the police (Gansberg 86). Gansbergs use of sarcasm towards good people is effective, because the reader also contemplates why none of these good people help in some way. Quickly the reader forms and opinion of the foolishness of these witnesses. Next Gansbergs use of specific time frames as; It was 45 a.m. when the ambulance arrived to take the body of Miss Genovese, and his addition of excerpts from police reports, allows him to set an authoratative tone. The last type of tone Gansberg demonstrates appears to be objective. The author projects this false objectivity by sticking to the facts and times throughout the entire essay. He also never directly states his very clear opinion. It was 50 by the time the police received their first call, from a man who was a neighbor of Miss Genovese. In two minutes they were at the scene, (Gansberg 87).

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In conclusion, throughout this essay language and tone become the authors primary method of capturing the readers attention. Martin Gansberg wrote the essay, Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didnt Call the Police in 164. After the publication of this article in a newspaper, one would think that people would be more willing to help, but even today events like this still occur. Gansberg, Martin. Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didnt Call the Police. Patterns for College Writing A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. 7th ed. Ed. Laurie, G Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. New York; St. Martins 18.

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