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Persuasive Writing

Persuasive Writing. Rhetorical Triangle, The Appeals, & Persuasive Techniques. What is Rhetoric?. Plato : Rhetoric is "the art of winning the soul by discourse." Aristotle : Rhetoric is "the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion."

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Persuasive Writing

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  1. Persuasive Writing Rhetorical Triangle, The Appeals, & Persuasive Techniques

  2. What is Rhetoric? • Plato: Rhetoric is "the art of winning the soul by discourse." • Aristotle: Rhetoric is "the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion." • Cicero: Rhetoric is “speech designed to persuade."

  3. Rhetorical Triangle • Audience • For instance, who is your audience? Are they inclined to like, dislike, or be neutral about your argument? Will they understand it? Can you appeal to their sense of logic or emotion? • Message • What is the message? How have you developed it? Is the evidence in the right places to convince the audience? • Writer • What is your position as a writer: an authority, a concerned citizen, etc? How credible are you? Does your style reinforce the message you are sending?

  4. Appeals - Logos • if you are focusing on the content of your message–the facts, logic, and reasoning of an appeal–you are using logos. • A logical appeal uses reasons, facts, and expert opinions to support a position statement. • Inductive: build a case point by point, and come to your conclusion at the end • Deductive: state your principles first, and then give the reasons why you think people should agree with you.

  5. Logos - Examples • “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. “– from MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” • Other examples?

  6. Appeals - Pathos • if you want to move the audience by appealing to their emotions, sympathies, or motivations, you will be using pathos • An emotional appeal arouses the audience’s feelings by means of vivid examples and details as well as words with strong connotations, or overtones.

  7. Pathos - Examples • “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-county 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," 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 at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you no forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” – from MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” • Other examples?

  8. Appeals - Ethos • If you are using your own credibility and knowledge to create a sincere impression on the audience, you are using ethos • An ethical appeal builds credibility with the audience by showing that the writer or speaker is knowledgeable, responsible, and sincere.

  9. Ethos - Examples • “I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.” – from MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” • Other examples?

  10. Diction & Repetition Diction: A writer’s choice of words, particularly for clarity, effectiveness, and precision Repetition: Repeating words or phrases to create emphasis. Example: “[…]until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!” - Patrick Henry

  11. Parallelism / Parallel Structure • The use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar or complementary in structure or in meaning. Example: “If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged[…]” - Patrick Henry

  12. Rhetorical Question • A questions suggesting its own answer or not requiring an answer. Example: “They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?” - Patrick Henry

  13. Analogy • A comparison made between two things to show the similarities between them. Example: “[…]but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me[…]am I to suffer it?” - Thomas Paine

  14. Allusion

  15. Aphorism • A short, pointed statement expressing some wise or clever observation about life. Examples: “The early bird catches the worm” “Don’t count your eggs before they’ve hatched” “Don’t cry over spilled milk”

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