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Prompt: What is the authors purpose and how is it achieved?

Article: The Boston Photographs Ephrons purpose is to argue that the Boston Photographs should have been published and further makes a more general point about the purpose journalism should play in our lives by using syllogism, using powerful imagery, and establishing a dichotomy in how the issue can be viewed. First, Ephron establishes her argument that the Boston photographs should have been published through the use of two syllogisms that arent explicitly stated but implied throughout the article. The first of these syllogisms is as follows. Newspapers ought to report on lifes events and show us what goes on in the world. Death happens to be one of lifes main events. Thus, as Ephron writes, it is irresponsibleand more than that, inaccuratefor newspapers to fail to show it. This syllogism doesnt necessarily mean that newspapers must report on all instances in which people die, no matter how insensitive the issue is this syllogism merely makes the argument that newspapers are justified in portraying death. As Ephron wrote, Im not advocating that newspapers print these things in order to teach their readers a lesson. All this syllogism does is justify addressing the issue of death in the newspaper, and makes the printing of the Boston Photographs excusable at best. It doesnt address the reader concerns that photos may be too dramatic or sensitive. However, Ephron develops a second syllogism which extends the point to the role of journalism and makes the argument that photojournalism in this case, the Boston Photographs the best way to address this issue of death. As Ephron writes, That they [the photographs] disturb readers is exactly as it should be: thats why photojournalism is often more powerful than written journalism. Here, the point is made that having more power or emotional impact on the reader should be a goal of journalism, its exactly as it should be. Thus, since the pictures are very impactful and disturbing for readers, they deserve to be published and regarded as legitimate efforts at journalism, not ways to earn more money or gain more readers. Because newspapers and the media should be powerful in its reporting, and photographs are more powerful, the media should use photographs. Working in tandem, these syllogisms justify addressing death directly in the media through the use of impactful photographs such as the Boston Photographs. These syllogisms, however, dont sufficiently address the criticism that these photographs are not genuinely powerful or impactful they are merely sensationalist and only have an impact on readers because of how rare such photos are. However, Ephron makes it clear just how genuinely powerful of an image is created for the reader with her imagery in the first paragraph. She writes, The first showed some people on a fire escapea fireman, a woman, and a child. The fireman had a nice strong jaw and looked very brave. The woman was holding the child. Smoke was pouring from the building behind them. A rescue ladder was approaching, just a few feet away, and the fireman had one arm around the woman and one arm reaching out toward the ladder. Here, the author makes use of short, rapid descriptive sentences without any descriptive embellishment of her own to draw the reader into the moment, and show that these photographs convey a more objective image of things, the same way an observer would have seen it if he or she were actually there. Furthermore, Ephron notes the power of photography to capture even the smallest of details to immerse the reader that written journalism could not possibly have. She writes that the fireman had a nice strong jaw and looked very brave, hardly

qualities that would have been noted by written journalism. A potted plant was falling too, is a detail that would never have made its way into the memory of somebody writing about the event, but is captured by the picture. All of these small details could only have been captured through photo, lending credence to the idea that photography is the best way to capture the truth and moment of what happened in the event. Furthermore, these small details make readers acknowledge that such events are real and involve real people, while written journalism can distance readers from that fact. The description that the fireman looked brave and had a strong jawline shows how the fireman was a real person who witnessed a traumatic death, not some bystander who might not have even been mentioned. The falling potted plant reminds us that people fall and crash the same way something as mundane as a potted plant can; while the obituary can use such euphemisms about passing away and living forever in memory, the detail in the picture reminds us that we are still present in this world and that we could tumble through the air just as helpless as a potted plant. Her imagery serves to shows us that the photograph is truly impactful, even more so than written journalism, because it really puts readers in the moment and reminds us of the reality of that situation. That helps to support her syllogisms, which work in tandem to prove that newspapers should be able to address death, and that they should do so in pictures because pictures are more powerful. Thus, Ephron justifies that the Boston Photographs should have been printed, and even makes a point that the media and what we see in newspapers should be a reflection of reality and should not only reflect real events, but also real emotions and reactions to those events.