Narrative And Reflection In 'Hellhole' By Atul Gawande

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Essay writers generally approach a piece of writing with a persuasive purpose in mind. The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince readers to believe, or at least consider, some proposition that the writer has developed throughout the piece. To accomplish that task writers have at their disposal two fundamental tools—they can use narrative, which is purposeful storytelling, or they can use exposition, which is a detailed explanation of an idea, theory, or finding. Studying how both narrative and exposition are employed in an essay yields deep insight into how writers (a) ultimately develop their claims and (b) suggest new ways of understanding issues and problems. In “Hellhole,” Atul Gawande, a writer for The New Yorker, explores the effects …show more content…
Gawande interviews Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war. He asks McCain on how was like to be detainment as a prisoner during the state of war. McCain answered, “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.”. Further into the interview with McCain and others who were also prisoners of war, Gawande found that they all described their experience of solitary confinement as absolute torture. This lead Gawande to wonder in front of the reader why if we as Americans understand solitary confinement for a prisoner of war as an awful thing, that we allow solitary confinement in the United States prison system. This contrasts Gawande’s opening story about the Rhesus Monkeys. In that story, Gawande is using a story as a way to get the reader coming up with their own ideas and conclusions, while in the second Exposition through interviews, Gawande is being more up front by showing you first hand what those who have experienced solitary confinement feel about their experiences. This method is much more up-front and …show more content…
By using the narrative of Robert Felton, Gawande again gets us to try and put ourselves in the shoes of others to better understand what isolation is like. Gawande then transitions into more of an exposition. Gawande points out how the British prisons have changed over time to become more humane, starting from the mid seventies on forward. Gawande points out that just like the United States, Britain was choosing to using solitary confinement for their most dangerous criminals. This then made the costs of running prisons very high. British taxpayers were paying thousands per prisoner. This then caused the public to take notice which led to citizens to raise their voice and protest this harsh treatment. Later in the nineteen eighties, the British started change their policy of excessive use of violence on prisoners. They decided to take a different approach and give prisoners more control instead of less. They provided them with better cells where they got more comfort. Later on, the use of solitary confinement in British prisons was much less than before and they started moving toward treating those prisoners instead of torturing them. Prisons in Britain chose to take the approach of rehabilitating people rather than treating them as a lost cause. This exposition is used to show that there are

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