Appeal is important when trying to share anything, especially ideas. The art of using language to effectively communicate an idea is called rhetoric. Aristotle’s divided rhetorical appeal into three sections; ethos, pathos, and logos. These three subjects of appeal are basically defined as follows; ethos being the credibility of the author, pathos being the emotional appeal of a piece, and logos being the reasoning of it.

In elementary, the books we read probably had a watered down version of these three elements of appeal in them, if they even had appeal at all. Credibility however, probably wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary at that age, although I could see how ethics would be an important thing to introduce to kids. The ethical appeal actually seems to come from whoever is reading the text to us, until we reach the age where we start to read for ourselves. If we respect and like someone it’s more likely that we’ll listen to them, then and now. I know that this can sometimes involve the pitch of our voice instead of our position in the eyes of the listener, my sisters who work with kids were taught to reach high and low peaks in their voice while reading and speaking to kids in order to get their attention. During middle school and more so in high school the credibility of a writer did come up when we read books about important historical moments. The author’s past would usually be directly affected by the subject of his/her writings. When we were beginning to learn about plagiarism, we must have also been taught about credibility because that’s what plagiarism diminishes, our credibility.

Emotional appeal has definitely been my favorite line to bite. In elementary everything seemed to be about happy times. During middle school only one reading comes up in my memory as emotionally appealing. It was an article about a woman who was raped in front of many neighbors and witnesses, and no one did anything to stop it. During a time of self absorbed sorrow and ego-gratifying immaturity we probably needed a sad story like this to remind us that we are all human and are all in this world together. During high school I found some very nice books with stories that involved drugs, sex, death and life. I loved it. Some of these books brought me to tears in pity of the young confused girl, others to a red faced anger towards the antagonist mother who beat her child. High school and teen years are rough, but reminders of how lucky we are keep us sympathetic towards our fellow human beings. These books still had credible and logical appeal but the strength of the story seemed to be in the pathos.

Logic, can it even be possible in fiction? During elementary and middle school fiction seemed more popular, the reasoning  for why horses were flying over earth however, was because they carried a God to heaven. This was interesting but not very logical because we were also being taught that the sun was very hot and could melt anything, even a horse. We must have learned the difference between literal work and fictional work before we learned about science otherwise we would’ve had a lot confused parents wondering what their kids were soon to be diagnosed with. In high school logic was the main part of the class, especially senior year and coming to college I am glad that my teacher introduced the Toulman essay format to us.

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