Rhetorical essay. Man and Baby. Literature & Language Assignment (Essay Sample)
Length: 1 page. The goal is to be succinct with your writing.
MLA Format *View the MLA videos (Links to an external site.) for more information.
Save your assignment using your name and assignment type (ex. Selena Pathos Essay).
Objective: To analyze how pathos is used to connect to its audience (How would an audience respond emotionally? What value(s) does the image appeal to?).
Method: Study the pictures, and select one. Note that the images do not have captions. Based on your observations, write your thoughts on how this image appeals to pathos. Think about the emotions that are evoked. Consider what values and/or beliefs are linked to the image. How would an audience feel or think after viewing the image?
This is a short essay; be sure to be selective with your word choices and flow of ideas.
In the Lead
Short Essay Rubric (1)
Short Essay Rubric (1)
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
Rhetorical Modes: Pathos (pgs. 28-39)
Your text addresses how "[Aristotle] identified three time-tested appeals that speakers and writers can use to reach almost any audience, labeling them as pathos, ethos, and logos--strategies as effective today as they were in ancient times" (EA 22). Pathos refers to appealing to the emotions of an audience. Ethos appeals to the author’s credibility, and logos appeals to logic or reason. To define this even further, think back to your English 1301 class. Your professor may have discussed three questions writers ask before they begin writing.
The first question is: Why am I writing this? Am I going to inform, persuade, tell a story, explain how something works, etc?
The second question is: To whom am I writing this? Is my audience comprised of peers? Are they Scholars, single parents, high school students, liberals, white collar workers, etc.?
The third question is: How am I going to write this? Do I write a narrative? Compare and contrast? Definition? Description? Process Analysis? Cause and Effect? Notice how this question ties to the first question.
When thinking about pathos, think about how that is connected to the question about audience. As a writer, you have the responsibility of appealing to your audience’s emotions and values. You may not know your audience on a personal level, so the idea is to think of an intended audience. The choices you make in writing style are tied to your audience. For instance, if you use contractions rather than spelling out each word then this has the appeal of informal language. If you use slang or ‘texting’ jargon, then this connects informally with your audience. If you choose longer sentences over shorter sentences, complex vocabulary, or terminology that relates to a subject matter an audience is not familiar with, then this also has a formal appeal.
Another way to think about pathos is using connotative examples. Connotative words differ from denotative in that connotations symbolize what a word means; whereas, denotative is the dictionary meaning. For example, when defining a home, one may define it as a place people or a household lives. This definition can be found in the dictionary. However, a connotation of home symbolizes safety, warmth, happiness, family, or perhaps it symbolizes solitude. The idea is to use connotative words to connect with your audience and what they value.
Emotional examples are also used to reach an audience. In a famous letter entitled “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. uses this mode in the excerpt to connect with his audience:
Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly in tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
In this letter, King’s specific audience is to a group of clergy men. Notice the impact of the language used (highlighted in blue) and the repetition of "when you." Read this carefully and continue to look for words and examples that he uses to reach his audience on an emotional level. He wanted his audience to know and understand the conditions plaguing African Americans during the time he wrote this letter. He could assume many of the clergy men were married and had children and perhaps, they could put themselves in King’s shoes for a moment. Even to a broader audience, many could relate or empathize for the plight of African Americans. His term “nobodiness” sums up this part of the letter because his examples represent how African Americans were overlooked, dehumanized, and humiliated. They were to be stuffed into the cracks or back corners of society and his examples show how these various acts were repeatedly executed.
Here is one more example of how emotions are evoked. Take a look at this picture:
How does this connect with an audience on an emotional level? Study what is happening in the picture. We may not have an exact story, but these two children could be related or are friends. One is barefoot while the other wears shoes and holds his friend close. They could be looking at the puddles thinking of how to cross them to get to the adults. Though the adults are blurred, we can see them standing as if waiting for something or someone. However the camera focuses specifically on the two children as if they must tell the story of what has happened. They could have survived a war or an environmental disaster; nonetheless, the image of these two children makes the audience stop and think about the closeness they share in the midst of their environment.
For some, this image may evoke comPASSion or sorrow. This also depends on the audience members own experiences and how certain aspects of this image makes the audience feel or value something.
Think about the various ways emotional appeal is used in magazines, various websites, newspapers, commercials, etc. Notice the way individuals or groups use pathos to reach you as a consumer or reader.
Man and Baby
The picture does not have a caption, but it speaks volumes. The picture shows a man and a baby who are smartly dressed and seated outdoors under a tree in a grassy environment. The environment is green though the image is in black and white.
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