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Free «Big and Bad» Essay Sample


Malcolm Gladwell writes from a perspective that draws much attention from the audience. He captures his audience through structuring a delivery style that relates to the reader’s inner fears, thoughts and attitudes. This makes his writing to carry a very significant toll on the readers. His writing is accompanied with credible evidence from different areas of authority, and he also integrates personal experience to make an emotional connection with readers. This writing style is very efficient, and readers are drawn in to the areas of discussion not only as passive readers, but as active participants in the events displayed. In this article, Big and Bad, Gladwell explores the dangers presented by the SUV’s. Consumers are drawn by the imposing size of the vehicle, and they assume it will provide safety to them (Gladwell 21). However, in this essay, Gladwell makes it clear that consumers are driven by an illusion of safety; big vehicles, SUV’s, have many things that make them unsafe.



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Rhetorical Appeals in the Essay

Malcolm Gladwell integrates the three levels of rhetorical appeals in this essay. He makes sure that he writes from a professional view point while at the same time maintaining a connection with the readers. First, Gladwell makes an ethical appeal to readers. He starts by giving the background of the issue being discussed, and this sets the ground for the following discussion. In so doing, he brings the learners to his ground, and they set out together to explore the concerns of the essay. Gladwell also gives some facts about the building of different models of vehicles. This is a true account of the procedures of building vehicles; smaller vehicles are light, and this makes them easy to handle (Gladwell 21). Small vehicles are also fuel and cost effective, and this gives them more credit than the big vehicles. Gladwell contrasts big vehicles, like the SUV’s, with smaller vehicles, and he clarifies that big vehicles are the opposite of the small vehicles. This connection prepares the audience for the ensuing discussion. By this time, Gladwell has already established some connection with the readers, and he can move on to other areas. In the essay, Gladwell also describes a study that describes learned helplessness, and this makes his essay credible.

Gladwell also appeals to the reader’s emotions by drawing firsthand experience in the topic under discussion. The firsthand accounts with different models of vehicles make the readers integrated in the fears and concerns of the author. The audience feels that the experiences of the writer are real, and they start to form an opinion about the big, heavy vehicles. The setting of the vehicle testing is also emotional. Gladwell constructs a scenario that involves a boy on a bicycle, and when the cone (boy) is knocked down by the SUV, Gladwell presumes that the boy is dead. This is an emotionally appealing scenario, and the readers feel that driving a small car is easier to maneuver that driving a big, heavy vehicle. Gladwell also tells the readers that people, often, get illusions that imposing vehicles are safer than small vehicles. He says that this is wrong since big vehicles have been associated with people who feel insecure. He also says that most people who acquire these vehicles do not even need them. This makes people feel that small vehicles are not bad; they are safe.

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Lastly, Gladwell employs a lot of logical appeal. He describes situations that make the readers, logically, draw conclusions. For instance, Gladwell says that SUV’s take a longer time to stop than a smaller vehicle (Gladwell 22). This could have disastrous outcomes in case of accidents. He also presents figures on accidents, and the reader can logically deduce that big vehicles cause more accidents than smaller vehicles. The whole of this essay is constructed on logic, and readers can draw clear conclusions from the inferences made in different scenarios.

Style Used in the Essay

Gladwell uses a persuasive style in this essay. He seeks to persuade the readers that not all big things are good. In fact, the title of this essay clearly shows the concerns of the paper; SUV’s are big, but they are also bad. Gladwell explores the main theme in a manner that makes the reader look at the big vehicles from another perspective. This is because the author, Gladwell, explores the issues in this paper using a style that appeals to the readers. He also integrates the scholarly style of the essay using some firsthand accounts in the events of the essay.  This makes the readers draw assumptions, arguments and conclusions about this issue.

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Evidence used in the Essay

Malcolm Gladwell’s essay is laden with a series of evidences that combine to support the main theme of the essay; that small vehicles are better than big vehicles. The main hard evidence in this essay is the table showing the accidents involving different models of vehicles, big and small. This list shows that big vehicles cause more accidents than small vehicles. Gladwell also uses figure showing that a big vehicle, when brakes are applied, takes a longer time to stop than a smaller vehicle. Gladwell also includes a firsthand experience in handling these vehicles. He visits a vehicle testing center, and he drives a SUV and a small vehicle. He says that managed to handle the small vehicle better than the SUV. Gladwell also includes views of experts, and these experts tend to support the notion that small vehicles are safe (Gladwell 22).


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