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A Piece of the Action

In: English and Literature

Submitted By symbolic123
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A Piece of the Action

Norman Mailer’s sports article on boxing, The Death of Benny Paret published in 1984, claims that Paret was a powerful young boxer who had his life cut short when he fought for keeping his welterweight title against Emile Griffith. Mailer supports this by explaining how vicious Griffith was throughout the entire fight, ending with Paret’s tragic death. He goes into extreme detail using similes and a large amount of commas to show imagery. Mailer connects with his readers by showing the tragic sorrow of a death happening right in front of their eyes, but also showing that Paret did not die in vain, but in glory. The fight was cast as brutal and vicious, and with every crowd, there comes a story. The certain sportscaster who wrote this attempts to place readers into his seat as if they were there, viewing the fight in all its glory their selves. In doing so, the writer makes sure that his words keep up with the rhythm of the battle, his words having as much impact as the punches thrown. Descriptive words that the writer uses include “clubbing” and “whimpering” accompanied by similes which simply explain the impact that each one of Griffith’s punches had on Paret.
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“Griffith was in like a cat ready to rip the life out of a huge boxed rat…right hand whipping like a piston rod which has broken through the crankcase, or like a baseball bat demolishing a pumpkin.” These phrases use extensive use of both diction and imagery to bring the battle to life all on its own. Commas are also in extensive use throughout the article. Run on sentences continue on with the assistance of commas to symbolize the fight and Paret’s desire to stay in the fight and step out of humiliation. The conflict however, is not all battle; this fight still has humans with real emotions. Paret lost the fight at one point, but the fight was not over, a new one had begun, making sure he himself was not humiliated. He withstood many punches from Griffith but managed to take his pride with him into the grave. The referee had sorrow upon his face; the audience felt the impact of the battle has changed from one of awe and astonishment to one of sorrow and despair. The tone of the story took a dramatic shift to symbolize how the entire room’s focus shifted so suddenly. The writer’s message got through successfully, bringing readers into the fight and showing how emotions took a turn for the worst. All the viewers must’ve had a change in mood. Happy-go-lucky fans Paret felt rage and sadness towards the fight, people in the stands their selves wanted a different outcome, not death in front of their eyes. While he couldn’t defend his own title, Paret still died with honor, taking Griffith’s terrifying punches as if saying “At least I’ll still have my pride and humility with me.”

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