Ethos Essay. Show your understanding of ethos. Literature & Language Assignment. (Essay Sample)
Length: 1 page.
MLA Format *View the MLA videos (Links to an external site.) for more information.
Save your essay with your name and assignment type (ex. Selena Ethos essay).
Objective: To show your understanding of ethos.
Method: Choose a website such as gizmodo.com (Links to an external site.), www(dot)angryasianman(dot)com (Links to an external site.), buzzfeed.com (Links to an external site.), hubpages.com (Links to an external site.) or choose your own. Analyze the details of the website--headings, articles, stories, videos, pics, etc.-- and write an essay discussing how the site does or does not appeal to ethos. As you write your essay, keep in mind the site's purpose.
Short Essay Rubric (2)
Short Essay Rubric (2)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent/Organization: Key elements of the assignment are covered; major points are stated clearly and are supported by specific details, examples, or analysis.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent/Organization: Paper develops a central theme or idea directed toward appropriate audience. Major points are organized logically.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat/Style/Mechanices: Use of paragraph transitions maintain the flow throughout the paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat/Style/Mechanics: Sentences are complete, clear, and concise. Sentences are well structured and varied.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat/Style/Mechanics: The paper follows correct MLA formatting.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat/Style/Mechanics: Rules of grammar, usage, and punctation are followed. Spelling is correct.
Total Points: 100.0
Lecture: Ethos 1
Rhetorical Mode: Ethos
In the previous lecture, three questions were posed about how authors approach their writing. For ethos, the connection is related to the "Why am I writing this" question. Remember this is the mode that addresses a writer's purpose for what is going to be in his or her text. They must think about purpose in order to determine what process they will use to communicate with their intended audiences.
In your text, the authors speak of ethos as a questioning of one's credibility. We may often think about the authority of an author. How much knowledge does he or she have about his or her subject matter? When defining credibility, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz write, "trustworthiness and credibility speaks to a writer's honesty, respect for an audience and its values, and plain old likeability" (43).
Simply put, how do we know we can trust an author? Think about newspapers, magazines, or websites you read. How do you know the person or the topic you are reading about is accurate or trustworthy? What clues do you look for when deciding upon one's credibility or character?
Lecture: Ethos 2
When you see a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. what crosses your mind?
From history class, books, magazines or maybe what we have viewed from various documentaries has given us the image of the man King was. We know he was a minister who rallied for peace and equality for African Americans. We still hear the echoes of his messages in letters and speeches we may read repeatedly, but how does that make himcredible? Let's think about King as a writer to have a thorough answer to the previous question. In his famous letter "Letter From a Birmingham Jail (Links to an external site.)," King responds to a letter that were written by clergymen. They were not pleased with the demonstrations taking place in their city and would prefer the protestors wait for a higher authority to handle the racial matters. King writes about his concerns that he has witnessed happening to the African American people during the 1960's. In this letter, King responds to the waiting that is a prevalent theme, not only for King who must wait out his time in jail, but also for the Blacks who must wait for equality.
At the time, King believed his audience of clergymen were not supporting the cause of Blacks. He believed they were ministers who hid behind the cloak of their churches and sermons while people suffered. King's letter was passionate but stern. He wanted to connect with his audience, because as a minister himself, he understood the need for spiritual order but not at the risk of racial disorder. Rather than alienate his audience, King found ways to address his key points with examples as well as reasons. Consider this statement in his letter, "But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms."
Notice the beginning of his statement. He has a gracious tone and acknowledges that his letter is a response to their criticisms. He is also honest in admitting that he hopes he will be patient and reasonable. The audience is not turned away by this; rather, his statement acts as an invitation for the ministers to continue reading.
In another statement King writes, "I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against 'outsiders coming in.' I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here."
After reading the statement, did you notice his role and the role of the organization he serves? How does this lend credibility to his character? He has more than a role of a minister in his church, he is also a "president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference." Think of King establishing his authority. He is a man who preaches and participates in the gospel of his Christian beliefs. This, we can assume, may have made an impression upon the clergymen. Though they may not have known King personally or heard about the rise of a civil rights leader, the fact that he is responsive to the needs of others should resonate with the clergymen.
Though you have a few examples from King's letter, the key question is whether or not he is believable. When you read King's work or the work of other authors, ask if they are credible. We know this based upon the choices they make within their writing. Pay attention to tone. Think about the kinds of words that are written to convey attitudes of happiness, concern, anger frustration, and so forth. Think about how authors present evidence to support their main points or argument. Do they use statistics, anecdotes, quotes from authorities written by professionals, personal examples, etc.?
Credibility can also be applied to websites you may visit, newspaper and magazine articles you read or various other mediums that call into question of a person's or company's character.
I currently read news about George Floyd’s death from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) website (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52999275). George Floyd is an African-American man who was murdered by a police officer after kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes. This website talks about Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, who was appealing to the US Congress to stop the pain, and it is evident that the author of this news observed ethos throughout their reporting. Firstly, the author cited the exact words said by Philonise in the house hearing. According to the writer, Philonise told the House hearing that his brother could not become another name on the list and advised the congress to be the leader that the country needs. The author also
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