Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mencken/The Death Penalty

Questions on Meaning

1. Mencken's main reasons for his support of capital punishment are that the work of a hangman is just as unpleasant as that of a plumber, that the whole aim of punishing criminals is to thwart other potential criminals, that there is no public demand for the death penalty on ordinary crimes.

2. Some other reasons for punishing offenders of the death penalty include justice - the justice system advocates it, feasibility - its easier than keeping them in prison for life, economicality - it saves money, etc.

3.  Mencken advocates offenders that have committed a crime greater than just murder, such as mass homicide.

4. Mencken's real objection to capital punishment is the 'brutal American habit of putting it off so long.' The fact that the appeals process take so long that those on death row wait years before they are put to death.

Questions on Writing Strategy
2. Mencken employs many fallacies in order to argue against the two 'most common' arguments against capital punishment. An example is when he compares the job of a executioner to that of a plumber in terms of how 'degrading' it is.

4. I do think the author expects his audience to agree with him because he makes his points very agreeable so that people will not debate the logicality of it and he slips in his most debatable points between his solid ones, as to urge people in to agree with it. He recognizes that some people may see things differently throughout the essay and constantly addresses their side and ways to refute it.


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