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Rhetorical Analysis Between the World and Me Pathos and Ethos Paper

Rhetorical Analysis Between the World and Me Pathos and Ethos Paper

Question Description

in the writing bellow :

-What struck you in regards to ethos, pathos, and logos in each article? Which one is stronger? Who do you trust more and why?

-What did you find offputting or weak in the articles? Are there any aspects of rhetoric that are missing or create confusion?

-What do the websites themselves tell you?

at least 2-3 pages of writing


Coates writes Between the World and Me to his teenage son explaining to him the hardships that a black man faces while living in the United States. He discusses the challenges he faced as a young man and how he fears his son will experience the same, and he won’t be able to protect him. Coates talks about five themes: the Mecca, the Dream, the Body, Racism is real and Fear. In the letter, he explains how he faced brutality from policemen and how it changed his perception of the American Legal system and how black people suffer racial discrimination in the hands of white Americans. He is convinced that discrimination of black people is engraved in American society. Coates uses ethos, pathos, and logos all through the book. This paper will conduct a rhetorical analysis of how Coates uses the three rhetoric to reveal how African Americans suffer under white supremacy.


Ethos is a type of rhetoric where the author convinces his audience that he is credible. Coates is seen trying to convince the audience that he is worth being listening to. In his writing, he states how he was admitted to Howard University, which he views as his Mecca and how it shaped and formed him (Coates, p. 40). In Howard, he received higher education, but it also helped him realize that he was not alone in the struggle against white supremacy. It acted as a unifying body that linked Africans and increased their knowledge and awareness. While at Howard University, he learned a lot of things about society, which influenced him to become the man he was. I believe Coates tries to convince the reader that he is attended school and, therefore, literate. He demonstrates his love for books, which empowered him. He states that when he joined Howard, he read Chancellor William’s Destruction of Black Civilization. He states that the theory of multi-Millenial European Plunder gave him answers to questions that had previously bothered him. He also read about Queen Nzinga, Children of the sun, and the African Origin of Civilization. Coates proceeds to state that it reached a point, and he needed more books that he visited the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.

Coates increases his credibility by showing his reading style and how it improved his vocabularies.He states that “I would open the books and read while filling my composition books with notes on my reading, new vocabularies, and sentences of my own inventions.” He then goes ahead to state that, “I would arrive in the morning and request three call slips, the work of every writer: Larry Neal, Eric Williams, George Padmore…” (Coates, p. 46). He ensures to list many writers whom he has gathered information from. By showing that he is learned, Coates manages to convince the readers that he is a knowledgeable person whose work is not only based on his opinion but also based on knowledge from different books. However, this might not increase his credibility to the reader because many readers are more inclined to skip over the names.


Pathos is a type of rhetoric that is based on emotions. The author tries to persuade his audience by capturing their emotions. Coates uses pathos throughout the letter. He uses emotion striking adjectives and occurrences that help the reader connect to the letter on a subjective and compassionate level. This emotional connection causes the reader to yearn more of the story, and he dives deeper into the book. A perfect example is his topic of police brutality towards Prince Jones. Coates describes to the audience how he found out about Jones’s death. He states that “His face was lean, brown and beautiful, and across that face, I saw the open, easy smile of Prince Carmen Jones.” (Coates, P. 77). The way he describes Prince Jones prompts the reader to imagine how beautiful Jones was and then relates to how brutally he was shot by the police. The reader will definitely sympathize with Jones and grow resentment towards the police.

Coates proceeds to state that he asked the girl with the long dreads if the news on the prince’s death were the truth, but she just screamed in shock. He felt rage towards the streets of West Baltimore. He overwhelms the audience with emotions by sharing his own emotions. Coates states that “Prince Jones was a one on one, and they had destroyed his body, scorched his shoulders and arms, and ripped his back, mangled lung, kidney, and liver” (Coates, p. 79). This statement is very deep as it portrays how ruthless Prince Jones was murdered by the police. He continues to stir resentment in the author towards the white policeman and his society.

Coates also uses his personal experience to lure the reader to side with him. That is, his words cause the reader to sympathize with him and, in the process, persuades him to view the American supremacy from his perspective. Coates reveals that as a young boy, he had to wake up every morning knowing that every promise can be broken; even waking up was not guaranteed for an African American. He often found himself struggling and hoping for a better tomorrow. He makes the reader wish he could help him when he mentions the struggle he had to persevere. He also states that he ought to live one day at a time, and as if it was his last. He states that being a black American meant that you had to be twice as good as the white Americans. One hard to be alert at all times in order to keep safe. The states that, “to be black in the Baltimore of my youth was to be naked before the elements of the world, before all the guns, fists, knives, crack, rape and disease.” (Coates, p. 17). He makes the reader sympathize with him that he had to deal with such torture at such as early age. Pathos is the most effectively used rhetoric and engages the reader all through the book.


Coates uses logos in his letter, as well. Logos is a type of rhetoric that is based on logic. Logic is seen when Coates states that “Life should be better and richer for everyone with the opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” (Coates, p. 106). Coates feels that it is not logical that the Americans have to depend on the African Americans to build the American dream and yet deprive the black Americans of the privilege to enjoy the dream as well. He also uses logic when he talks about the body. The body is something everyone should be able to control because it is personal. Therefore, it does not make sense that Coates should suffer brutality from society without legal reasoning. He should not be enslaved and denied his natural rights (Coates, p. 48). Using logic, he gets the reader to reason with him.


Coates uses pathos, ethos, and logos in his book to persuade his audience to understand white supremacy and the struggles of black Americans from his perspective. However, he uses pathos more successfully than logos and ethos. Through pathos, he is able to share the emotional experiences a black American goes through and unveil the white supremacy and its hatred for the black society. Coates’s letter cautions his son about the challenges he is likely to face, and also acts as an eye-opener on the challenges people face due to racism in American society.

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