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Year 11 English – “The Truth Part 1”

Model Essay
Question - What is the biased message or opinion being expressed in this text
and how has the author promoted this message?
Three years after the massacre at Columbine High School, left-wing political
filmmaker Michael Moore released his award-winning documentary ‘Bowling
for Columbine,’ which persuasively conveyed his negative view on the
ownership and retail of guns and ammunition in America. Commented [BD1]: Orientation sentence.

Moore’s emphatic use of documentary techniques and fallacies collaborate to


strengthen his biased message, that America’s obsessive, national attitude
towards firearms is the primary cause of the Columbine High School massacre
and other acts of arm-related violence.
Throughout the film, Moore continually utilizes such techniques as Commented [BD2]: Thesis statement.

juxtaposition, where he creates irony to weaken an opposing argument


through disparity. Furthermore, the use of a cartoon segment serves to
satirise the opposing point of view, combined with interviews where hard
hitting questions are carefully chosen to attempt to catch the subject off
guard. Commented [BD3]: List of main points in the essay.

One of Moore’s strongest and most frequently used techniques is the


juxtaposition of montages with music to further his bias against America’s
violent gun culture. Commented [BD4]: Topic sentence – this paragraph is
about the technique of the juxtaposition of music and
montage.
This is perfectly exemplified during the ‘What a Wonderful World’ montage,
where multiple clips portray the US as the aggressor nation in several conflicts.
These are juxtaposed with Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ which
has a deep and touching message describing the beauty of life and the earth. Commented [BD5]: Evidence from the documentary.

Juxtaposing clips with music in this way creates irony, because the war
montage illustrates this to be anything but a ‘wonderful world’. Additionally,
the fact that ‘What a Wonderful World’ was written to bring hope to those
suffering the effects of war, further reinforces this irony. Commented [BD6]: Elaboration and synthesis of the
evidence.
Therefore, it can be concluded that by combining this graphic war footage with Commented [BD7]: A cohesive tie.
a classic peace song, Moore strengthens his argument by creating irony
through disparity. Furthermore, the true meaning of Armstrong’s song
promotes the montage’s irony, and thus, Moore’s negative bias against
Commented [BD8]: Linking sentences that reinforce the
America’s violent gun culture. thesis statement.
Additionally, Moore strengthens his bias by including a cartoon segment from Commented [BD9]: A cohesive tie.

an episode of South Park, which humorously patronizes the opposing point of


view by comparing it to the naiveté and simplicity of a children’s TV program. Commented [BD10]: Topic sentence – this paragraph is
about the technique of using cartoons.
This is illustrated in the ‘Brief History of the United States of America’ cartoon,
which depicts early American settlers committing mass genocide against the
American Indians who were seemingly peaceful. The cartoon also highlights
the fact that the National Rifle Association and the Ku Klux Klan were both
founded in 1871 and sarcastically stated that ‘they had nothing to do with each
other and it was just a coincidence.’ Commented [BD11]: Evidence from the documentary.

The inclusion of this cartoon section spurs doubts about the legitimacy of the
NRA. In fact, the National Rifle Association was founded in New York by Union
soldiers, the faction in the civil war that was opposed to racism and slavery.
Moore relies on the audience’s ignorance of this fact to strengthen his
argument. This illustrates the effectiveness of Moore’s utilization of a cartoon Commented [BD12]: Fallacy – Appeal to ignorance.

segment, which serves to humorously satirise the opposing point of view. Commented [BD13]: Synthesis and elaboration of the
evidence.
It also furthers his bias against America’s arms fixated culture since it implies
that the NRA and the KKK are linked in their goals, when in fact, they are not. Commented [BD14]: Linking sentence to the thesis
statement.

Furthermore, the presence of indirect interviews which include hard hitting Commented [BD15]: A cohesive tie.

questions to strengthen Moore’s bias against America’s violent gun culture by


makesing the opposing point of view appear weak and disjointed. Commented [BD16]: Topic sentence about the
techniques of direct interviews.
Moore demonstrates this technique most effectively in his interview with
James Nichols where clips are shown of him describing what will happen when
the people of America discover the oppressiveness of their government.
Moore then leads Nichols into discussing the right to bear arms, where he asks
if Nichols believes people should have the right to weapons grade plutonium.
Conducting interviews in this way allows Moore to manipulate the audience’s Commented [BD17]: Evidence from the documentary.

perception of the subject. In this case, portraying Nichols as the weaker pro-
gun arguing side, and surprising him with hard hitting questions to make both
Nichols and his argument appear illogical. In addition, for the majority of this
interview, Nichols is looking at the camera and is the only person in frame
further adding to Nichol’s apparently irrational persona. Commented [BD18]: Synthesis and elaboration of
evidence.
Therefore, it can be said that Moore promotes his bias against America’s
violent arms culture by asking carefully chosen hard hitting questions in
interviews in an attempt to catch the subject off guard. This combined with
the camera angle portrays Nichols to be crazier and more eccentric than he
already is. Commented [BD19]: Linking sentence back to the thesis
statement.

In summary, to express his biased message, Moore utilizes techniques such as


juxtaposition, where he combines war videos and statistics with a deep and
meaningful song about the beauties of life to create irony. He then further
strengthens his argument by including a cartoon segment from South Park
which humorously satirises the opposing point of view, and then finally
presents direct interviews which include hard hitting questions to additionally
enhance his argument by weakening the opposing view. Commented [BD20]: Summary of the main points of the
essay again.
Therefore, it can be concluded that throughout the film, Moore effectively
expresses his bias against America’s violent arms focused culture by
juxtaposing clips with music, using cartoon segments and conducting direct
interviews with hard hitting questions. Commented [BD21]: Final answer to the question. What
is the biased message or opinion being expressed in this text
and how has the author promoted this message?