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Textual Analysis of "Violence of the Lambs"

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In the essay “Violence of the Lambs”, John Jeremiah Sullivan, a reporter for GQ   magazine, tries to show his audience how easy it is for the media to manipulate their perception of reality. This article is about the attacks on the animal kingdom and mankind by the animal kingdom. His article begins as a curiosity turned investigation and ends with a shocking twist that pulls readers out of the story to evaluate the validity of what they’ve been told and the validity of any similar article. John Jeremiah Sullivan uses tone, diction, and symbolism to create a satirical hoax to bring to light how easy it is for people to believe in fear-mongering theories.
Sullivan’s essay is one that depicts the world ending not in nuclear warfare or even by human hands whatsoever, but rather by the animal kingdom’s animosity towards human beings. He cites several instances of “far-out animal-attack stor[ies]”(Sullivan 1) that aren’t your typical “Species self-protection + everybody loving the outdoors = occasional kills”(Sullivan 1) stories, but rather the rare oddities of instances where normally docile or tamed animals are acting out aggressively towards human kind. Sullivan does not just list hoards of animal attack stories to convince you, he reaches out to the scientific community to reinforce his theory. Sullivan contacts Professor Marcus Livengood to add credibility to his argument, as well as more examples of this bizarre phenomenon. Except not. At the very end of his essay, Sullivan comes clean to the audience that his reliable source is in fact a fictional person “Big parts of this piece I made up… I made up Marc Livengood. I made up the trip to Nairobi.”(Sullivan 4). This leaves the reader in a state of confusion about the piece in its entirety. By creating Livengood with such detail of his physical appearance “He looks like a young George Lucas. Same head shape, same beard, squint, everything, only taller and not pudgy yet and without the gray.”(Sullivan 1) and his...

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  • on December 3, 2013
  • Category: English
  • Length: 990 words
  • Views: 504
  • Popularity Rank: 143286
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