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Rhetorical Strategies: Ethos Pathos And Logos

2481 words - 10 pages

Guns do belong in schools and prospective parents should be required to obtain a license before having kids. These are the dominant themes present in Jamie O'Meara's "Gun, Sex, and Education" and Janice Turner's "Should We Need a License to Be a Parent?" respectively. O'Meara argues that just like sex education arms the youth with knowledge, protecting them from irresponsible promiscuous behavior, gun education would serve the same purpose with respect to violence and guns. Similarly, Turner calls for new legislation but in an entirely different arena. She believes that in order to become parents, adults or non-adults for that matter, should meet a certain required standard and obtain a license in order to enter the most important profession of all: parenting. In order to develop these arguments, both writers utilize the general rhetorical strategies of comparison and argument. However, there is one key difference between the approaches taken to the development of the arguments. O'Meara's article has successfully employs ethical (ethos), emotional (pathos) and logical (logos) appeal whereas Turner's article takes a predominantly rational appeal (logos). Though both articles do an excellent job of conveying their points, all things considered, O'Meara's attempt at presenting a well balanced approach appealing to logic, emotion and ethics is more successful than Turner's attempt at presenting a solely logical argument.

O'Meara is more successful than Turner at utilizing ethos in order to validate his arguments. One way in which to establish ethos is by recounting personal experiences. O'Meara's article in fact opens with a very powerful anecdote; reminiscing about the first time he ever held a gun. He vividly describes the gun and the power he felt as he held it but then he goes on to illustrate his thesis. ."..A box of fifty rounds later, I was no closer

to hitting my target with any regularity and, frankly, my hand was beginning to hurt. I packed the gun away and returned it to my buddy. He after exhausting its cachet among our friends tossed it in a local river. All in all: boring" (O'Meara 387). This anecdote, along with his extensive use of the pronoun "I", give more appeal to his credibility on this subject, as the audience now knows that he has had firsthand experience with gun-boredom. Anecdotes and the usage of "I" are entirely absent from Turner's article.

Another way to develop a good ethos argument is through the choice of words or diction. O'Meara uses imperative sentences. "Lock the booze cabinets with double plated armour and that is not going to save your Smirnoff. Threaten blindness and the wrath of all saints and that's not going to stop adolescents from masturbating. Tell children guns are dangerous and that's not going to stop them from wanting to use one" (O'Meara 387). He continues: "Put a kid on a firing range under strict controls, oblige him to fire hundreds of rounds" (387). Towards the...

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