Looking at pathos & ethos & logos, oh
“Rhetoric” is simply the art of speaking or writing
effectively, and by “effectively” I mean the speaker/writer’s ability to
affect her audience in the way she intended. This boils down to many
choices the speaker/writer makes in her language. “Yolk” yellow will elicit
a different response from the audience than “baby chick” yellow. “The war
against Afghanistan” and “The war against evil” also have very different
effects. A good speaker/writer knows that words and phrasing are powerful
and she’ll use them to her advantage. (By the way, anyone notice the pronoun
choices I made?)
Well, guess what? We’re about to learn how to argue
effectively in our own writing.
Many a century ago, there was a famous philosopher and
scholar named Aristotle who wrote about three kinds of rhetorical styles.
These rhetorical styles, pathos, ethos, and logos are useful
when thinking about argument because all three deal with how the audience
perceives the speaker/writer and how believable s/he is.
Since we are about to embark on a study of
argumentative writing, I thought it might be useful to get an understanding
of each of these styles into our heads.
You have been assigned one of the words below.
- You must look up this word and write down a
definition IN YOUR OWN WORDS that clearly shows what this word
means when it comes to argument.
- You must find an example of someone’s written
argument (persuasive piece) that uses, at least in part, that rhetorical
style. I recommend looking at the Op/Ed (Opinion/Editorial) columns of
newspapers for examples. Copy/print it and go onto step 3.
- Highlight a portion of the article you find that
exemplifies the rhetorical style you’re researching and write an
explanation in the margin of why it has that rhetorical style.
ASSIGNMENT IS DUE IN CLASS ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28.
(pāy – thos)
(ā – thos)
(low – gos)