Examples Of Ethos In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch employs pathos and diction in his closing argument to the jury and the people of Maycomb in order to persuade them to see beyond their prejudice and free Tom Robinson. Atticus informs the jury about the evil assumptions that society makes about Negroes. Pathos is used to persuade the jury when Atticus says, “Some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men” (Lee 273). In saying this, Atticus tries to convince the audience and jury that everyone is capable of making mistakes, and differences in appearance does not mean that groups of people are superior to others. From this, the jury feels as if they have been mistreating Tom. …show more content…

Atticus’s diction strengthens when he says, “Gentlemen, I shall be brief . . .” (271). When he uses the word gentlemen, he obtains the jury members attention and acknowledges them. Atticus appeals to the jury’s sense of dignity and propriety, while subtly saying that they need to make the mature, honest, and respectful decision regarding Tom’s case. Also, while Atticus preaches that all men are created equal, he connects with his audience and court members. When Atticus says, “A phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the Executive branch in Washington are fond of hurling at us” (274), by applying the word us Atticus uses a statement of solidarity, while linking the jury and the community. As a result of using this diction, the jury can infer that Atticus binds himself to them to strengthen the validity of his plea. Therefore, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the use of pathos and diction in Atticus’s closing argument is used to persuade the jury and people of Maycomb to see beyond their prejudice and free Tom

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