Nell Bernstein's Burning Down The House

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Question 1: Give and explain the major points of the book? The book Burning Down the House by Nell Bernstein at large is how America should not lock up juveniles for committing crimes. On a deeper level though there are plenty more points that the author makes. One main point is how messed up the juvenile detention centers are. The author notes of how in detention centers about “one third of youth...reported that staff used force unnecessarily” and that “38% feared being physically attacked by staff or youth” (pg.83) Bernstein then goes on to add that “among those young people who reported having been abused by staff, 88 percent had been abused repeatedly...33 percent by more than one employee...43 percent by more than one employee.” (pg.…show more content…
Another point Bernstein makes is that these kids can be extremely traumatized or arguably, depending on one's point of view individual versus society, even worse better criminals after they get out of the detention center. Bernstein says that “ no one forgets the withdrawal of home and family” (pg.65) If a kid loses their family they lose a large important part of their life. The sadder thing is that it happens so young “he described the year when he lost his last connection and learned what it was to survive on his own. Nine.” (pg. 64) humans already cannot fully mentally function until the age of about 25, yet they put kids out there without a family, and having to survive on their own. The scary statistics show that “70 to 80% of youth released...are rearrested within two to three years.” (pg. 182) The trauma is also just as bad as the future of these kids. “Only two in every ten youths who get locked up, they are saying, are expected or even allowed to stay free” (pg. 191) This means that only 20% of kids…show more content…
This is an interesting question, which it has more of an opinionated answer more so than a factual based answer. There are two types of arguments that the author uses. These types of arguments were thought up by Aristotle. Logos, which is logical, rational, fact based arguments that people can wrap their heads around. She also uses Pathos, which is to say an attempt to “pull at the heart strings”. Pathos is about an emotional appeal. Although it might not seem logical, its goal is to make you want to Meyer 2 connect to the issue on an emotional level. Depending on the individual, and what they think is more powerful could determine the answer to this question. The Logos is prevalent in most of the chapters for example “26 percent of those surveyed were locked up on assault charges and another 14 percent for a robbery” (pg. 53) or another example “87 percent of youth surveyed had been confined to their room as punishment, 45 percent on ten or more occasions” (pg. 133) or “despite this intimidating facade, however, the majority of kids in these places- 56 percent- also have been convicted of nothing more serious than misdemeanor charges. The logos seems prevalent throughout the book, but it seems that pathos is even more prevalent. From Chapter 1 with “Will” who “spent six years in juvenile prisons” (pg. 24) to “Luis” who “was victimized for years” (pg. 167) to “Jared” who knew that “my parents staying together”

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