“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system. ” -Martin Luther King, Jr. Imagine going to work every day, arriving early and departing late- simply due to your absolute passion for the job you so diligently worked to obtain.
Now picture being abruptly fired because that very company you love could no longer afford to eep you as an employee; that is what capitalism has done to thousands of Americans. Michael Moore’s film Capitalism: A love Story utilizes the four modes of persuasion in order to gain audience awareness on how destructive he believes America’s love for capitalism is. The film takes place in Middle America then later travels to Washington and Manhattan. Moore focuses on the impact of corporate dominance on the daily lives of people in America by talking to those whose lives have been turned upside down.
More specifically, he states how the extreme loss of 14,000 jobs daily is a direct result of capitalism. Capitalism: A Love Story leaves the viewer with a vision of what a better future could look like if the government can get back on track. The film emphasizes the rhetorical appeal of pathos (an appeal to the audience’s emotions), logos (a logical appeal), and a fair amount of ethos (an appeal to credibility). In the first several minutes of the film an apparent use of pathos is established through music. Moore opens the film with mournful music while displaying families being evicted from their homes.
This is an important aspect to having an emotional effect on the viewer because music is proven to impact one’s mood whether t is positive or negative. After this scene Moore begins his interview with one of the men evicted. These personal interviews with direct sources is an appeal to pathos because the audience not only sympathizes for these people but can connect with them too- what if this same thing happens to us one day? This man was told he had at least ten days to move out and was utterly distraught when the foreclosure officers showed up early, forcing him to pack up all of his belongings and move out of the only home he knows.
While talking to Moore, the man states, “There’s the people that got it all and the people hat got nothing. ” This quote demonstrates what capitalism has boiled down to according to Moore: the wealthy population who have excessive luxuries and the poor population who barely have enough money to put food on the table. Later, after the same man receives only $1000 dollars in return for his house being forclosed states how he “could see why people would want to shoot and kill when stuff like this happens. ” This statement places fear and sorrow in the mind of the viewer.
It causes fear because nobody wants to see anyone get hurt but sorrow because one can imagine how this situation would spark feeling similar to this. An appeal to feelings are used again further into the film when Moore discusses the republic doors in Chicago “abruptly firing its entire workforce where over 250 people were given only three days notice before hand” with a former employee. When he asks how the former employee felt about losing his job, the interviewee’s teary response was that “this (job) was my second family.
This statement gives the viewer a sense of how distressed the now jobless employees are as well as their families who lost what could be their only income are. The last main use of pathos is the teenagers nterviewed who were wrongly sent to juvenile court, sentenced to prison where they were stuck for months over their original sentence (6500 children in total). The four teens interviewed each were sent to jail for petty mistakes, such as throwing food at a dinner table or starting a Myspace page that innocently teased a principle. How did this all happen?
The judge received mass amounts of money for sending and keeping these children locked up. One of the teenagers interviewed expressed, “time is money. lots of money. ” This plays on the viewer’s feelings on a personal level. It places a sense of anxiety in their minds; if something like this could happen in the past, it could easily happen again. Logos is apparent later in the film to further Moore’s opinion on capitalism in a more professional way. The first example of logos in the film is a positive one. When capitalism first began: “rich people had to pay a tax rate of 90% and the money was used efficiently. The statistics took a turn for the worst when Moore states the amount of jobs lost since capitalism has taken its course: “In 2013, it is near 7. 5 percent.
That is 50 percent higher despite the last six years of so-called ffective policies to address unemployment. ” The use of quantitative data backs up previous statements, making the film more credible. Later, a real estate agent who sells foreclosed homes for exceptionally cheap reveals the statistic that “3,400 homes are being foreclosed by Bank of America. All of these statistics are meant to frighten and inform the viewer on how real this issue is. Ethos is also used to seize the viewer in the film. This rhetorical appeal is obvious through Moore being a known filmmaker and interviewing sources who many look to for advice and then later his own personal source. Religion, specifically Christianity, is a huge part of many American’s lives. Moore played off this by including private conversations with Priests to ensure credibility in the film.
Moore interviewed the Priests about their opinion on where America has gone due to capitalism; each one had the same answer, “capitalism is a sin, it is an evil. it is contrary to all major religions. our holy books remind us it is unjust. ” By displaying the Priests shared negative view on capitalism with himself, Moore is attempting to gain agreement from the viewers. Lastly, Moore uses his father to how a personal connection on how capitalism has affected him. His father worked for over 30 years at GM Motors when it was shut down.
During the interview with Moore he expresses, “I think the people were my best memory there.. it was a good place to work. ” He was not only left jobless like thousands of other people victimized by the downfall of capitalism, but lost dear friends as well. This personal connection gives the film more of a real and honest distinction. The film, Capitalism: A love story, uses the three rhetorical appeals in order to gain and capture the audience’s attention. Pathos, logos, and ethos are ll displayed in order to demonstrate Moore’s view on capitalism: that it is extremely destructive.
Pathos is used the most throughout the film. It is first demonstrated through tear- jerking music and then through heartbreaking interviews. Logos is shown through positive and negative statistics of capitalism over the years. Lastly, Ethos is used by providing clips featuring Priests opinions on the topic and Moore’s father experiencing capitalism first hand. Overall the use of each rhetorical appeal causes the audience to agree with Michael Moore’s negative opinion on capitalism and hope for a better future.