If I told you that persuasion is the key to success, would you agree with me? Wait, wait, don’t leave! Hear me out. From a young age we learn how to persuade. We persuade our parents to give us more money to buy clothes or go out, we persuade our teachers to give us more time to finish an assignment and we’ll persuade our future boss to hire us, right? It may not be the key to success, but it’s definitely crucial in life. Why? Because you want that money, you want more time, and you want that job and you’re determined to get it. Yet, persuasion isn’t always a piece of cake. Imagine this: a cake has three main ingredients. Those three main ingredients represent the three elements of persuasion, which are ethos, logos, and pathos. Your goal is to make a cake everyone wants to eat. In this case Ayaha’s goal is to write an essay about “World Mythology” (Donna Rosenberg) that everyone wants to read. How? By using those three main ingredients. Yes, yes, don’t worry. I am going to tell you now if her cake was successful.
The first main ingredient: Ethos. Ethos is an appeal to ethics. It’s a way to refer to the writer’s character, credibility, authority, trustworthiness, and believability. Now the question reads: Did she use that ingredient? The answer to that question is yes. Her essay did contain ethos, but it was all very subtle. She used ethos to answer the question: How could individuals relate to the universe in which they live in? Individuals can be kind or they can be mean and arrogant, but all of them have one thing in common: they all make mistakes. Ayaha stated in her diary “let’s mistake, clean it, and try again. And make changes. That is our growth” (Ayaha) . The fact that she understands that humans should make mistakes in order to grow and become a better person, tells me she has a good conscience. Your conscience determines how you come across in life, and in your writing. To improve in ethos you should not only be trustworthy, but you should also have a certain expertise in the topic you’re talking about. Ayaha read the book and understood it, which makes her trustworthy and which makes her diary credible. Another way to persuade through ethos is to analyze your audience. Who are you trying to persuade and by finding similarities between you and your audience, you can adapt towards that. “The key for any speaker is to establish his own point of view for the audience, so they can see the game through his eyes.” (Ronald Reagan). Ayaha used that nicely by including the famous Emma Watson into her writing. I mean, everyone knows Emma Watson, right? The talented and smart Harry Potter actress with the amazing quotes? Oh yeah! By using what other people said as evidence for your thesis is one of the ways to use the second main ingredient. Don’t leave just yet. The reasonable part is just about to come.
Literally reasonable. The second main ingredient is logos. Logos is used to appeal to the mind, intellect, reason, and logic of readers. You persuade your audience by being logical. Hey you, go be a failure in life! Because being a failure is being a better person. And everyone is a failure anyways, so you should be too. Does that make sense? Mweh, not really. Why? Because there’s no explanation or evidence or reason or facts or specific and clear information. The things that are necessary to appeal to the reader’s logic. “The quote of Emma Watson: “But it's a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn” (Ayaha). Does that make more sense? Hm, yeah probably. Ayaha used Emma Watson’s quote as back-up for her thesis. Only by making mistakes, we can learn. “Cowardice to mistakes will lead us to nothing” (Ayaha). Also, fairly logical. If making mistakes is the only way we can really learn, being a coward and not making mistakes will indeed lead us to nothing. Logos is the most important technique of persuasion. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and can’t be emphasized enough. When you ask your parents for more money to buy clothes, they would always ask to give them a reason why you need it. Parents usually look past those puppy eyes and the “innocence” that is shown in them, so the use of ethos is diminished. Pathos is usually diminished, too. Sometimes, parents can feel like it´s mandatory to give what their child desires and children use advantage of that, but when that doesn’t work, what’s left? Exactly! Logos. “Why do you need more money to buy more clothes?” “Because Winter is coming up and I don’t have enough thick and warm clothing, because all my winter clothes are too small for me now.” This is a logical reason and it also hits the emotional aspect, for your parents most likely don’t want you to freeze and they’ll feel guilty if you do. This brings us to the last main ingredient. Yes, I promise, this is the last one. After this the cake is done.
The final ingredient is pathos. Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions, feelings, values, morals or beliefs. The purpose of pathos is to provoke an emotional reaction from your audience. “Zeus will come back someday to destroy us, if we do not change our way” (Ayaha). “Words have power” (Mira Grant, Blackout) and this statement of Ayaha is very powerful. When I read it, I felt some sort of guilt, because it reminded me of the bad things I did in life. By stating it like that, the reader might think that they’re obligated to change, but her point behind it is valid. Sometimes by putting too much of a certain ingredient into something makes the taste stronger, which isn’t always a good thing. To ameliorate your persuasion skills, ameliorating your use of pathos is an important step. But keep in mind, this ingredient can be rotten. Pathos is really easily abused, for it’s easy to play on people’s emotions. Emotions are a powerful thing and it can overthrow logic anytime. If you do so, you ruin your entire cake, for it overthrows ethos and damages your ethos. So pathos should be used legitimately and without manipulation. Also, language has a significant effect on emotion. By using different words while saying something can trigger different senses and feelings. If I were to say the cake was pretty good, it would sound different to you, than if I were to say the cake was absolutely amazing. Now, the final answer to the question: How was Ayaha’s cake?
I must say, analysing a cake for the three main ingredients was harder, than I thought, for you don’t think while you’re eating. Making a perfect cake simply doesn’t exist, but by using the three main ingredients, the possibility of it being pretty good is feasible. Ayaha’s cake was “pretty good”. She used all the three main ingredients. Yet, the usage of the ingredients determines how your cake will turn out. It could become a plain sponge cake, an apple pie with some whipped cream on top or a three-layered, red velvet wedding cake. It all depends on how you want it to be. Anyways, what is your favorite type of cake?
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