?hetorical analysis – sicko

June 7, 2018 Music

Rhetorical Analysis on Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko. Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko is a very controversial yet entertaining and emotionally compelling film. The documentary draws attention to several flaws in the health care system in United States of America. It exposes how profit-based healthcare insurance companies in America exploit the people; and argues that for the people of America, socializing healthcare would be much better than the current system.

The controversy of the film is restricted to those whose interest would be affected, that is, Profits of insurance companies where universal healthcare is accepted would suffer greatly, and so would investors and corporations. He travels to other parts of the world such as Canada, Cuba, France and the United Kingdom to show that yes, indeed-universal healthcare does work well in other countries. He does well in using emotional appeal, guilt and humor to articulate how there is conflict in the American healthcare system between profit maximization and the desire to provide good quality and affordable health care for all.

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While Michael uses logical and ethical appeals to show how healthcare systems in France, United Kingdom, Cuba and Canada are better than the United States of America, his use of emotional appeal seems to be most effective. Moore begins his documentary with a man who had an accident, but had no health insurance and therefore had to stitch his wound himself. The soundtrack used in this scene depicts sadness and sympathy. Moore uses this kind of song to introduce empathy for people without health insurance. With this kind of music, viewers are able to feel some connection between them.

He increases the volume of the sound when he finds something to be dangerous and brings the music down when someone has lost a loved one. He uses emotional appeal best to convey his argument that the healthcare system is not beneficial for all. The film shows a young lady living in the United States of America with her daughter. Her daughter has a medical condition and she needs surgery however, her Insurance Company denies her financial help to treat her daughter because they believe the treatment is experimental. This young lady finds out that Canadian residents and citizen’s benefit from free health, so she crosses the border to Canada, marries her old Canadian friend and her daughter finally gets to be treated. Moore showed how excited Canadians are visiting the hospital because there is no stress attached. However, the media in America doesn’t think so, they believe that Canadians have to wait long hours in order to treatment. Moore refutes these claims by interviewing few Canadian citizens who testify that indeed healthcare system in Canada is free and stress free. Throughout the documentary, Moore tries to make people who do benefit from health insurance feel guilty of their actions.

That is, denying people money for one reason or the other. Betty, a medical officer who had previously denied patients health insurance because their pre-existing illnesses didn’t allow them to qualify for assistance, felt remorse and guilt after several years of working for the insurance company and confessed in court. He does well to highlight individuals’ emotions to argue his points; he stages and elaborates situations in the lives of individuals to prove a point. For instance, the camera was drawn closer as a worker in the insurance company cried for all the malpractices she was compelled to do in her field of work.

To emphasize the long list of pre-existing illnesses insurance companies look for in order to deny applicants who request for health insurance, Moore used special graphics and sounds to draw our attention to the absurd list, here, he is appealing to humor. Others might think that he overly appeals to the emotions of his audiences and exaggerates the information he presents to appear factual; however, I believe he articulates his information using more emotional appeal because it is able to grab the attention of the audience in a manner where one leaves the film understanding that there is a problem in the health care system.

Ethically, victims talked about how morally wrong the practices of the insurance companies were. For instance a nurse who lost her husband cries whiles she talks about how insurance companies are not being far in their practices. Another way he tried to convince us by using ethical appeal is by showing us personal experiences of people who have been directly affected by the healthcare system, this also helped him establish credibility. Insurance companies preach their vision about how they want to help people, but when the need arises they deny individuals applications.

Even Hilary Clinton’s proposal for health reform died after several debates on how that would not work. Moore pointed out that people in power did not like this new proposal because it wouldn’t bring as much money to them. He shows the corruption in the American government and Congress and he wonders why the “right” people never get elected. Insurance companies pay off those in power, so laws made would be in their favor. Statistics on how people have and do not have insurance shows logical reasoning.

The documentary throws light on how there are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance and how 18,000 Americans will die this year just because they are uninsured. Moore wonders how America the most powerful country in the world would rank 8th in healthcare that is even below Cuba, a developing country. Maybe Americans concentrated more on other things such as socialized education and jobs. He pointed out that a baby born in El Salvador is likely to survive than a baby born in Detroit because it is more costly to give birth in America.

Because of universal healthcare in Salvador babies are likely to be given more attention and therefore their chance of survival was higher than that of Americans. Using logical reasoning he said due to socialized education a baby however in America is more likely to be properly educated and trained than a baby in Salvador, but as the child in America grows, goes to school and gets a job when he falls ill, one job would not be able to pay for the bills and therefore end up getting three to four jobs in the name of paying for their healthcare, whereas people in Salvador enjoy this freely.

Moore tries to tell us that what is free education when one would not be able to enjoy good health services in the future. Moore’s work in this documentary is to try to make his point dramatically and I believe that even opponents of his claim would believe that the documentary was meaningful. He is heartbroken at the poor American healthcare system and points out that something must be done about the situation.

The documentary is to make us aware of the bad healthcare system in America and although he uses emotional appeal most effectively to convince the audience that healthcare system as compared to other countries such as France, United Kingdom and Canada, his use of ethical and logical reasoning is also well demonstrated. This paper constitutes only my thinking and my ideas. Where I have used any other materials I have clearly identified and attributed them. TRACEY NYANBA KITTOE


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