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Aileen Tabango

Period 3

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Persuasive writing and speaking advances the progress towards social justice and
equality because it appeals to the audience and makes them understand the author’s argument
through different perspectives. A Genetics of Justice by Julia Alvarez explained her Mother’s life
under a dictator’s rule to prove that justice is needed for those suffering. Malala Yousafzai’s
speech included her own terrible experiences to prove how women and children need more
rights. Martin Luther King’s Letter gives his real experiences to demonstrate how segregation
must end. All three texts include ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos is when the author speaks
upon his own character; pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions and beliefs; logos includes
statistics and/or logic. Alvarez’s text used mostly pathos and did not really give the audience
knowledge of her superiority, Yousafzai’s speech used mostly logos which only reflected her as
having much common sense, lastly King’s letter used mostly ethos which showed he should not
be seen as less and he knows what he is talking about. By far, King’s letter does the best job at
advancing his purpose because of how much ethos he included which shows his sense of
A Genetics of Justice included all three examples of rhetoric but out of the three, pathos
was mostly used. Alvarez explains how difficult and dangerous her parents’ lives were under
Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship. “My father and mother were once again trapped in a police state”
(2). Her parents tried their best to stay as discreet as possible so that not much attention was
drawn to them because everyone at that time had their lives at risk. By Alvarez including how
life threatening every move they made at that time, she uses pathos to advance her purpose.
She appeals to the audience’s feelings by making feel bad towards her family and other Trujillo
victims, this causes them to have pity and be more hooked on Alvarez’s argument. Once again,
the author uses her mother’s grueling circumstances to further her point. “The day came when
my mother had to march. The parade went on for hours in the hot sun until my mother was sure
she was going to faint. Her feet were swollen and hurting” (3). Alvarez’s mother was forced to
march in such treacherous conditions against her own will. This is an example of pathos
because tragic events of when her mother was dehuminatized were used. This advances the
author’s purpose because the audience is now provided with horrible things that the victims
have gone through so it shows that help is highly needed. The author’s use of rhetoric is
successful mostly to appeal to the audience’s feelings so that they could acknowledge her
argument but does not show how much of a reliable source she is since her character is not
described well enough.
Malala Yousafzai’s speech uses all forms of rhetoric too, but mostly centrates logos.
Yousafzai uses logic to support her purpose by explaining the outcomes of her help and how
useful it'll be to those suffering. The text states, "And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us
empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and
togetherness" (13). Education is the key to success for those who are being affected the the
world's problems. This piece of evidence shows logos by indicating what is needed to fulfill her
purpose in order to make it work and helpful to the international community. This quote
advances the author's purpose by showing Malala's intended audience how important it is for
justice to be served because it would allow women and children to grow into knowledgeable
people with useful tools for their lives. Not only does she use logic in that quote, but she also
uses it when explaining how women would benefit from her desire to change the world for the
better. “We call upon all communities to be tolerant, to reject prejudice based on caste, creed,
sect, color, religion or agenda to ensure freedom and equality for women so they can flourish”
(12). In order for Women’s rights to occur, the international community must take action to help
out. This quote shows logos because Malala uses common sense by saying the results of
someone actually taking part in helping the women. Yousafzai advances her purpose by
explaining the cause and effect of how her argument is valid in order to help females gain
Lastly, Dr. King’s use of mostly logos out of all three examples of rhetoric allows him to
advance his purpose the best. King's purpose in the Letter from birmingham Jail was to
persuade his audience, the clergymen, to either do something to help end the segregation
towards the colored people and/or allow the colored people themselves to fight for what's right
without getting in trouble for it. "I say it as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who
was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will
remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen" (9). Martin Luther King was reminding
his audience how involved he has always been in his Church. This piece of evidence uses
rhetoric, ethos, which is a form of convincing your audience by addressing your characteristics
and how much authority you have. Therefore this quote from his letter shows how he too is a
Clergyman to show he is equal to them. This way, they will not see him as less and maybe
actually acknowledge his opinion.​ ​Since King’s directed audience were people of the same
religion as him, he believed it was necessary to redirect that in his letter. King said, "But since I
feel that you are men of genuine goodwill and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like
to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms" (1). This quote
shows how Dr. King reminded the Clergymen that he too has a high position as a religious
leader. Ethos is a way of convincing your audience into acknowledging your point of view by
providing information of your sense of character and/or authority. King explained how his
audience and himself are at the same level of authority and neither of them are superior to each
other which was one way of persuading his audience.
Therefore the best example of rhetoric used to advance the author’s purpose is ethos.
This is because giving more of a sense of authority to the audience makes the author seem
more credible. Since Martin Luther King’s letter was the text that mostly used ethos, it makes it
the text that best advance his point. This example of rhetoric allows the audience to view King’s
argument as reasonable. All the texts are successful though because they all do include ethos
at a point. But Alvarez and Yousafzai included more pathos and logos which resulted in King to
advance his purpose the best by using logos.

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