Rhetorical Analysis of Jimmy Settle`s “Never Quit: How I Became a Special Ops Pararescue Jumper”

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The Jimmy Settle`s “Never Quit: How I Became a Special Ops Pararescue Jumper” is both an intriguing and insightful book that draws on the depth of determination, humanity, courage, and purpose in life. The author takes his audience on a complex trajectory of events since his childhood through training to what would be an illuminating yet a life-threatening career that led to immeasurable benefits to humanity despite the emotional, physical, and psychological losses Settle suffered. Settle explains vividly in the book that his career was in intimate contact with fatal outcomes whenever and wherever when he says, “The day you danced with death, and she didn’t take you home,” he said. “This is your alive day” (Settle 56). Indeed, “Never Quit” by Jimmy Settle is primarily founded on true events from his journey to become a pararescueman in the United States Air Force (USAF). Most chapters in the book “Never Quit” are about Settle`s training and his life before becoming a Pararescue Jumper (PJ) professional. To exhaustively explore Settle`s “Never Quit,” it is not only essential to discuss the use of ethos, and pathos; but also imperative and regarding this research to demystify the use of logos by the author in the text to effectively pass across the themes to his audience.

In Settle`s “Never Quit”, the author uses ethos extensively to create a common platform between himself and his audience; and hence the reader shares in equal measure the psychological, emotional, and mental tribulations Settle endures in his life-threatening PJ career, as has been portrayed in his character, aspirations, and determined spirit to succeed. As a teenager, a Settle faced family challenges including a mother who was struggling to recover from an addiction. Nevertheless, he was capable of joining the American Naval academy. Contrary to his expectations, he would be diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition, which meant he could not continue with his passionate career (Settle 123). Settle went through heart surgery and came out strong, but he could not become one of the US Navy Seals because of his medical history. Consequently, he dropped out of the academy, and he ended up at the family shoe store in Alaska. This was the lowest moment for Settle, and his readers are emotionally attached to his downfall in life at this particular time. However, through his friend who suggests to him to join the UAAF as a PJ, he would find a place to pursue his passionate career, though in a different segment of the American specialized forces (Settle 34). Settle endure one of the hardest military training on the planet, and after one year he passed the physical stability and stamina test at the PJ Academy “Superman School” in Alaska. Settle must be a hardworking, enduring, and focused person to have overcome all odds despite his earlier heart problems. The additional knowhow needed of the physically demanding and punishing training entailed survival skills, special parachuting experience, and divining among other critical training. After the training, it gets emotional that Settle and come of his colleagues were posted to a war-torn and insecure Afghanistan to begin practicing their PJ career. While in Afghanistan, Settle faced extreme conditions, some of which when he explains to his audience in “Never Quit” sway the reader off the emotional balance to trigger regret, bitterness, fear, anxiety and at the same time happiness and relief because Settle is a such a fighter who lives to face the struggle in every succeeding and tempestuous moment. For instance, the battlefield trauma that characterized Afghanistan operations including at a time when Settle was shot in the head is chilling. The escalated exchange of fire in a nonstop action is terrifying. Despite the dangers, Settle makes it through his career alive. Therefore, use of ethos has been particularly indispensable for “Never Quit” to pass across the core message of the aspirational and determined main character and author.

Use of Pathos in "Never Quit"

Pathos is one of the three core pillars of the rhetorical triangle, and this phenomenon describes the use of a language and diction that delves deep in emotions to win the attention of the audience. Settle create an atmosphere of deep emotions to challenge his audience in recognizing and appreciating what being on the battlefield without an option to retreat even in the face of impending death feels like. Following the death of the author's colleague at the Training Academy for the PJ (Superman School) during the confidence training technique under water, it becomes clear that what Settle experienced was terrible. In fact, if he did not quit at this moment, he stands out among millions who should have given up. In essence, the training was tough (Settle 331). Furthermore, he suffered a repeat of the Endoc course at the academy, because he missed one pull up, a painful experience. He would endure the whole process to complete the second Endoc course. His audience in “Never Quit” thinks he would graduate but he failed by one point. He would struggle through the course and finally making it a successful PJ graduate, thus making it through emotional and psychological distress. While in Afghanistan, at the Watapur Valley, a bullet grazed his head at it was an emotional moment. Perhaps Settle would have died on this awful day. The reader is challenged to realize how risky it gets for one to serve as a PJ in whether in training or real combat (Settle 56). Another incident at the Watapur Valley that sends fear, emotions, anxiety, and curiosity is when the PJs had to leave some of their members in the live combat to go and refuel. The climax of the fear for the audience is whether those left behind would survive the heat of the enemy or otherwise; luckily they did. In essence, Jimmy Settle's “Never Quit: How I Became a Special Ops Pararescue Jumper” uses pathos to gather emotions which enable the author to communicate with ease and effective to his audience about what really happened in his life before he joined the military, the challenges he endured in the training academy, and the dangers he faced in his career both at home and abroad.

Use of Logos in "Never Quit"

Logos refers to the creative, orderly, insightful, and purposeful way of doing things. In his “Never Quit,” Settle has extensively applied the rhetorical principle of logos to challenge his audience about the essence of his life, and how everything that happened essentially contributed toward his successful and fruitful career to humanity. Consequently, his book has been compiled as a “bro manual” with enough life lessons for multiple lifetimes. In fact, he says, “Too many of us are dying terribly slow and painful deaths, letting our dreams wither away without ever taking so much as a step toward achieving them” a compelling statement which triggers the need in the mind of every individual to embark on a purposeful career, with success as the primary focus against all the odds (Settle 244) . Through the hard times that he endures, Settle manifests as a determined and organized person who has mastered the art of never quitting mentally, and he has the resilience to overcome the challenges. The tedious training Settle, and his colleagues underwent reason enough to convince his audience about how he survived in compromising incidences like combating the Taliban, conducting wild rescues, combating Al Qaeda linked terrorists, and finally towering as an American hero (Settle 176). In essence, settles “Never quit” is founded on reason and practical experience, whereby means justify the end. Consequently, a well-trained soldier will always endure odds to deliver. Such is reflective to all Americans in their diverse professional careers that each person has a role to put in the effort before he or she realizes positive results.


In conclusion, Jimmy Settle's “Never Quit: How I Became a Special Ops Pararescue Jumper” is a universal text, meant for generations and would retain its relevance for centuries to come. Likewise, the touching, challenging, and fulfilling story of Settle make him a towering American PJ whose leaves his audience pricelessly indebted to his life. The author uses ethos to trigger the essence of aspiration, ethical uprightness, and determination for realizing success. Use of pathos in “Never Quit” has also played an essential role in creating an emotional atmosphere, an environment which enables Settle and his audience to share deeply about what it means to have a struggling addict parent, a cardiovascular disease, a shoe dealer, a PJ trainee, and finally a PJ professional on the deadly battlefield. Finally, Settle has used logos to stump the purpose, meaning, and reason behind his story and life, to challenge his audience to appreciate determination, effort, competence, purpose, and aspiration in every career that would attract positive outcomes not only for the individual but also for the society.

Work Cited

Settle, Jimmy. “Never Quit: How I Became a Special Ops Pararescue Jumper.” St. Martin`s Griffin 91.5 (2017): 1–567. Print.

August 21, 2023




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