Whenever examining a non-fiction text, I ask my students to examine the purpose of the piece. Once they are able to determine the purpose, I ask them to figure out how successful the author is at achieving the stated purpose. Many times, literary elements are what my students focus...
Whenever examining a non-fiction text, I ask my students to examine the purpose of the piece. Once they are able to determine the purpose, I ask them to figure out how successful the author is at achieving the stated purpose. Many times, literary elements are what my students focus upon. Specifically, in non-fiction, my students turn to the modes of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethos. Both authors use the modes of persuasion to address their audiences.
Logos is the use of logic and reasoning. Franklin's logos appears in his inclusion of letters from both Mr. Abel James and Mr. Benjamin Vaughan. He includes these two letters in his autobiography in order to illustrate his use of logic and reasoning in obtaining the American Dream. He states that he represents the ideal man in this search, and both James and Vaughan agree.
Pathos is the use of language whose purpose is to evoke an emotional response in the reader. Equiano's text is filled with images with are meant to evoke emotion in the reader. His description of what life was like in the belly of the slave ships allows readers to almost smell the putrid odor of excrement and hear the choked voices of the chained slaves. It is this type of language that appeals to a reader's emotions.
Both Franklin and Equiano use ethos in their texts. Ethos is where the writer uses language to convince the audience that he or she possesses authority on the subject he or she is speaking about. Franklin was well-known by many people. His autobiography was published one year after his death. By being so well-known, most works that he created were accepted based upon his authority of being a well-known and scholarly man. Equiano's ethos comes from the fact that he lived the experiences he writes about in his "interesting narrative." Given that each text recalls the events of each man's life, who better than the man himself to write upon such a personal subject? Given that their stories belong to them alone, one would be remiss in stating that their ethos is not present.