Temple University Evaluating Ethos and Pathos Essay


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Essay #1:  Evaluating Ethos and Pathos

APPROACH: An effective argumentative essay has a clear point. However, it will also seek to establish grounds for credibility and to appeal to the emotions and values of the audience. To evaluate the effectiveness of an argument of your choice*, you will need to have a clear introduction, containing the following: 1) the author’s name, their credentials, and the title of the article 2) the author’s main point, implicit or explicit 3) a brief 3 sentence summary of their supporting points and 4) your own thesis statement (which is an evaluation of the effectiveness of the author’s ethos and pathos).

To organize the body of your essay, you will have to 1) evaluate the ethos of the argument (is the author knowledgeable about the issue? Are they fair? Do they build a bridge to their audience? Do they demonstrate professionalism? How? Why? Why not?). It may take multiple paragraphs to discuss ethos and 2) analyze the pathos of the essay (for example, do they resort to the use of concrete language? Use specific examples and illustrations? Use narratives? Use appropriate analogies, words and metaphors? Why? Why not? For what purpose?) For a good discussion of ethos and pathos, please refer to the reading discuss in class, titled “Moving your Audience: Ethos, Pathos and Kairos.”

Remember that this is not a response paper; in other words, your job is not to agree and/or disagree with the author’s argument, points, opinions or claims but rather to assess the effectiveness of its ethos and pathos, based on the notions we have discussed in class.

* You will choose one of the following essays for this assignment (all linked on Canvas):

“The Son my Sister Placed for Adoption Wants to Find her. What Should I Do?”

As you analyze your article of choice, make sure to keep in mind our practice on effective summary, quoting, and paraphrasing to represent the author’s points accurately.

It is also important to keep in mind that an argument may not or cannot be effective in its entirety (in terms of ethos and pathos), so your thesis statement can (and/or should) express degrees of effectiveness as it assesses the appeal to credibility and emotions. For example, you might say that the author’s appeal to pathos/ethos is fairly effective, somewhat effective, somewhat ineffective, mostly ineffective, and so on.

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