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09/04/2019

Should ethos, logos and pathos be the main focuses of a rhetorical analysis?

QUESTION
Should ethos, logos and pathos be the main focuses of a rhetorical analysis?
My english 111 teacher told our entire class that only one paragraph (at maximum) out of our entire rhetorical analysis shoud be about ethos, logos and pathos, but every guide to writing one I find online says that they are major parts of the essay! So, should the main focuses be on the author’s use of ethos, logos and pathos? Or should they be on questions such as “Who is the author’s audience?” and “What info can you find about the author on the internet?” (as my teacher claims)?

ANSWER
Keep this in mind:

1. Ethos, logos, and pathos are the three primary MODES of persuasion. That doesn’t mean there aren’t LOTS of other rhetorical strategies that you could analyze.

2. They are Greek words, and they usually sound silly used in an English essay. Very few students know how to use them properly.

If your teacher told you to do something (even if it’s outright stupid or wrong), I don’t see where you have much choice but to do so.

I’d like to help more—and I’ll be glad to read your first draft of this thing—but I’d like to know one thing: Why on earth would you need to find ANY info about the author?

A rhetorical analysis should focus on (and ONLY on) the words on the page.

Shoot me an email if you’d like more info; I can’t give away ALL my trade secrets for free (at least not for all to see)!