In, “The Death of Benny Paret” (1984) Norman Miller describes the suspension of the fight between Griffith and “proud club fighter” Paret determined to fight for the championship title. Mailer’s descriptive details provide a strategy used by Paret in his career as a fighter, actions of the fight that are expressed through imagery, and explanation to Paret’s death. Imagery aids to reflect Paret’s feelings during the fight to demonstrate Paret could “take more punishment” to prove that he has a hope of winning even though Griffith is close to defeating him. The use of descriptive syntax and a tensions tone supports to acknowledge that the speaker who witnessed the event is able to effectively recounter the experience establishing a sorrowful and astonishing mood.
Mailer suddenly shifts from a simple diction to a highly figurative syntax. The rapid shift describes the course of events, it supports to comprehend the fight through the speaker’s perspective establishing an appeal to pathos. The audience are supposed to feel amused due to the results of the fight.
Figurative language such as similes and metaphors in the excerpt plays a vital role. The similes symbolize the muscular strength utilized by Griffith against Paret: “like a baseball bat demolishing a pumpkin” and “like a cat ready to rip the life out of a huge box rat.” It portrays Griffith as a violent attacker out of control. A wild animal who is ready to eat its prey contrast to fighting as an opponent.
Paret turns out to be an “innocent” victim as Griffith slowly becoming inhumane knocking Paret to the floor astonishing the audience. Sympathy for Paret is generated by the audience.The descriptive syntax and diction through the use of metaphor display the speaker’s and audience reaction “I was hypnotized.” Hypnotized makes the readers recognize that the levels of interest in the fight were greater than any other ever experienced by the world. “Down like a large ship… by second into its grave” portrays Paret’s pride, emphasizes the loss of an admired fighter, and lost of Paret’s championship title. The epic battle through Griffith’s brutality and the author’s words choice led Griffith to be the former champion. Nevertheless, the fragment sentences portray the speed of the events leading to Paret’s death contributing to the descriptive details provided in the excerpt.
All rhetorical elements applied creates the horror overview of the fight. As a result, the elements have an impact on the reader’s comprehension of the text.