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Logos, Pathos, and Ethos - Can't Have One Without the Other

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Running head: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos—Can’t Have One without the Other
Jasmine Bradley
Marinus Iwuchukwu
ENG/215
08/31/2014

Logos, ethos, and pathos are all important factors to include when writing a paper. They ensure that your paper is well rounded. Alex Keyssar, a professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard University, incorporates all of these in his writing style. “Reminders of Poverty, Soon Forgotten” is an article written by Keyssar that focuses on poverty in America since the late 19th century to today. The main issue with poverty Keyssar points out is how our Nation has had countless reminders of the millions of people that live in bad conditions, yet nothing has been done to help them because they are forgotten quickly (pretty much self-explanatory after reading the title). This essay will be going over what he uses as logos, pathos, and ethos; and how they support each other.
Ethos
Ethos has been defined as authority. An author can establish ethos via tone or research. When looking for ethos in a piece of writing, look for what gives the author the authority to give you this information. Establish the author’s credibility. In his article, Keyssar establishes credibility through his experience and research. Being a professor in History and Social Policy means he is well studied in those areas, both of which are applied in the article. Keyssar is able to see patterns in social history and compare them to the happenings of today. In paragraph 11, he outlines several depressions, or “downturns”, that happened in the 19th century. Even the title of his article is evidence of ethos. His article, as stated above, gives constant reminders of our nation remembering and then forgetting the poor. By staying on track, it is safe to say that Mr. Keyssar is a man of his word. If he says he’s going to talk about something, then he will and he’ll provide you with all the evidence you need to believe it.
Logos
Logos is the logic to an article. When looking for logos, ask the author to prove it. Look for evidence and support. Alexander Keyssar does without too much need for explanation. Although there was not a works cited page provided, in just about every paragraph he has a disaster, dates of depressions, or quotes from well-grounded people. You can tell that he’s done his research, which is to be expected from a Historian. He also pulls information from different News Medias like Newsweek and The New York Times, and often refers to news media in a general sense.
Pathos
Keyssar worked his magic with pathos. Everyone remembers the devastation Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. We all remember the images of S.O.S. signs etched onto the roof of homes with families clinging on for salvation from the contaminated waters flooding the streets. We all remember the stories plastered across the news of the aftermath of the storm. Keyssar’s opening sentence is as follows: “For many Americans, Hurricane Katrina kicked up the hope that the United States might try once again to seriously address the problem of poverty” (par.1). Right here he tugs on the humanist in all of us. Then the urge to help the people who are less fortunate comes. He even closes his article with the same image burned into his readers’minds.
After that it’s pretty much a downhill trip from there, as Keyssar tortures our hearts with reminders of how millions have been left destitute by economic or natural disasters, yet receive little to know help in getting back on their feet. How else are we left to feel, when even private charities are mentioned as “overseers of the poor” who did their jobs, and I quote, “grudgingly and warily” (par.13). In the same paragraph, Keyssar stated that the charities went as far as “conducting home interviews to verify” that people applying for aid had “good moral character”. It could be one way to avoid aid being abused. However, what happens when the interviewers have prejudices or certain biases and decline an applicant’s request for help? (Just some food for thought.)
Conclusion
In an essay, you can have more logos than you have pathos or ethos. Or you can have more pathos than logos or ethos. It all just depends on your audience. In Alexander Keyssar’s case, his audience is those like me; people who have an attraction to pathos. Regardless, without all three it is easy to find flaws in a writer’s argument(s), easy to find bias, and easy to put distrust in his or her authority. All three are needed to maintain an audience, not only that, but authority as well. Ethos establishes trust between an author and his audience. Pathos, or emotion, gives the audience something to connect to. Logos, or logic, provides the support and evidence needed to maintain both. It satisfies the “why should I care” attitude, and the “how can I trust you” attitude any audience may have.

References
University of Phoenix. (2007). Dynamic Argument. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, GEN215 website.…...

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