Crack in the Box
Essay by Pete Hamill
To summarize the essay, Crack in the Box, you have to understand the writer and what he is saying, or the point he is trying to make. In the article Crack in the Box The writer Pete Hammil compares the difference between Television and the common street drug known as Crack Cocaine. The essay starts with a story of a young lady hooked on drugs and living in poverty with a couple of children. The children are almost hypnotized by the television as Hamill is interviewing her. As Pete Hammil is walking back to his office he is thinking about all the drug problems in the world and how there affecting society today and comes to a claim which is a claim of cause. Hamill’s claim is actually a whole paragraph when he is thinking about the drug problem and the 60,s to the present and concludes that there was one major difference between that time and this, “Television”.
The claim that is made in the essay Crack in the Box is simple, which is a claim of cause along with sub claims of facts. The claims of cause is stated by relating the 60’s to today when the drug movement started. The facts with that claim are that in the 60’s the drug problem was small and insignificant, now the drug problem is huge. Pete Hammil states a fact that The united States represents only 2 percent of the world’s population, yet, it consumes 65 percent of the world’s supply of hard drugs. Now Pete Hammil also questions politics and the George Bush presidential campaign, How Bush offers the traditional American excuse “it is someone else’s fault”. Bush never asks why so many Americans demand the drugs. There is nothing to back those statements up in the paragraph.
There is allot of comparison to back up the claim such as The increased sales of televisions from the 1960’s to the present. In the 60’s there were 31,700,000 television sets in the country, which has doubled 6 times over to an amazing 184 million T.V. sets . Now the comparison of Crack and Television comes more into play when Pete Hammil suggests that people “embraced it, were diverted by it, perhaps even loved it, but they weren’t formed by it.” That is a good sub claim to link television and Crack cocaine together because when people do crack they become addicts, or want more and more, which seems to be the same thing television is doing. Another claim of fact is that in the 60’s there were only 1,234 drug arrests which climbed to a staggering 43,901 drug arrests in the 80’s. The amounts confiscated by law enforcement has increased. In the 60s there were 97 ounces of cocaine confiscated in one year . Now it’s increased to hundreds of pounds a year.
The support of the main claim of cause is that there are disturbing similarities as stated in the essay by Pete Hammil. How Mr. Hammil states that “Television itself is a consciousness altering instrument.” That says that you can escape reality with the touch of a button, which, is something you can do with Crack Cocaine. In the essay Pete Hammil states that he has interviewed many people with drug problems and that none of them know why they do it they just give him a look like “it makes me happy.”
The essay was very informative I thought, but I fail to see where the writer effectively sets forth ethos, pathos, and logos. There was not enough evidence to back the story up to make it believable. It was more of an opinion paper that might convince people that are looking for something to believe about the drug problem and why it exists. Although there is a connection between the two. Television is an escape from reality as are drugs. But I don’t think that they can be linked to each other because they are 2 different world’s. The facts that are stated throughout the essay are a good way to apply ethos, pathos, and logos, although , they are not convincing enough to make a believer out of everyone who reads the paper. Hamill’s claim is inferred in my opinion, it is in the middle of the paragraph and it is Hamill thinking and he then comes to a conclusion that seems to be the claim. Now ethos is applied when Hamill is telling the story in the beginning about the woman on drugs. The story supports Ethos and makes it emotionally appealing for the reader, so the reader will be interested right away. The warrants are stated as facts throughout the essay, by stating facts when analyzing TV and drugs. The end of the story also has a sub claim of policy, by asking the question “what can be done” referring to the drug problem and TV addiction. The sub claim of policy is backed up by suggesting ways to better people’s understanding on TV and it’s effect’s ,the drug problem , and taking action on the issue’s that Hamill presents. The end of the story has a sub claim of policy as stated earlier. Which is a stated claim when Hamill states “for years the defenders of television have argued that the networks are only giving people what they want. That might be true. But so is the Medellin Cartel.
Hamill, Pete “Crack in the Box” in Perspectives in Argument. Nancy. V .Wood.
2nd edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall , 1998. pg. 599-603
Word Count: 933