What are some examples of ethos, pathos, and logos in Chapters 17 to 19 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ethos is an appeal to ethics, where the persuader's character and credibility are emphasized to convince another person of the given argument. In chapter 17, Sheriff Tate takes the witness stand to testify in front of the jury about the events that took place on November twenty-first. Being that Heck Tate is Maycomb's sheriff, his trustworthy, honest reputation are taken into consideration when he testifies. Atticus also uses ethos to convince the audience that Tom Robinson is an honest man with nothing to hide. Atticus initially questions Tom about receiving thirty days in jail for disorderly conduct to illustrate that he is a noble person, who will tell the truth.

Pathos is a persuasive appeal to someone's emotions. In chapter 18, Mayella Ewell uses pathos by crying hysterically after Atticus questions her. Mayella hopes to garner support and empathy from the jurors by crying. Mr. Gilmer also uses pathos by attempting to convince the jurors and audience that Tom is a haughty, disrespectful black man by repeating Tom's honest answer. Mr. Gilmer knows that Tom's comment about feeling sorry for Mayella will upset the prejudiced jurors and audience, which is why he repeats it several times. Mr. Gilmer says, "You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?" (Lee, 201).

Logos is an appeal to logic and reasoning. Atticus appeals to logic by questioning Bob Ewell about why he did not call a doctor when he initially saw Mayella in distress. Atticus also appeals to logic by indicating that Bob is left-handed and capable of inflicting wounds to the left-side of Mayella's face while Tom Robinson is handicapped. In chapter 18, Atticus has Mayella identify the man who supposedly raped her and Tom Robinson stands up. When Tom stands, it is evident that he is a cripple and could not have raped her. Atticus appeals to logic by simply asking "How?" (Lee, 189).

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ethos involves establishing the credibility of the person making the statement to convince others that the person is reputable and trustworthy. When Heck Tate appears in court wearing a business suit rather than high boots and a lumber jacket in Chapter 17, he is trying to make an appeal to the jury through ethos. After Heck Tate testifies that he found Mayella Ewell beaten up, Atticus asks Heck why he didn't call a doctor if Mayella were so badly off. This is an appeal to the logos, or logic, of the jury that is trying Tom Robinson. If Mayella had been so badly beaten, it would've been logical for her to call a doctor. Atticus is using logic to cast doubt on Heck Tate's testimony about Mayella. Atticus also tries to show that only Mr. Ewell could've beaten up Mayella because Mr. Ewell is left handed, and she was beaten on the right side of her face. This is also an appeal to logos.

When Mayella Ewell appears on the witness stand at the beginning of Chapter 18, she appears afraid of Atticus. This is a way to appeal to the jury's sense of pathos, or emotion. If they feel sorry for her, they might be more willing to listen to what she says. In Chapter 19, after Tom Robinson testifies, Link Deas stands up in court and says that Tom has worked for him for many years and has never caused any trouble. This is a way to bolster Tom's credibility through ethos.  

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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