Ms. Quinson's 2011-2012 9H Blog

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“A More Perfect Union”

May4

Please consider the Rhetorical Triangle we discussed in class today.

Next,  review Atticus’ summation, pp. 271-275.  As you reread, consider:  what elements of the rhetorical triangle can you see in Atticus’ speech?

Then, please read the speech entitled “A More Perfect Union Speech,” by then Senator Barack Obama, from March 2008.  It is posted on the handouts page of our website, as well as on the links page.  You can actually watch the video on the links page if you prefer.  As you read or watch this speech, consider:  what element of the rhetorical triangle can you see in this speech?  How do the ideas in this speech relate to our discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Then, blog!  On the blog please discuss your observations about the rhetorical triangle and the themes of both President Obama’s speech and Atticus’ summation.

54 Comments to

““A More Perfect Union””

  1. May 4th, 2012 at 6:55 pm      Reply johnk4 Says:

    The logos of Atticus’s summation is Tom Robinson’s left arm. It does not make sense for a person with only one arm to male ten finger marks on the neck of Mayella. It is simply not possible. Also Atticus’s discovery that Mayella’s testimony contradicts her father’s could be put into this category. Also this would fit in ethos. Atticus tests the witness’s testimony and finds inconsistencies in their stories. This proved if the witnesses are or are not biased. Then the pathos is Atticus’s beliefs on slavery. In his summation he goes on about the equal rights and the fair justice the jury is supposed to give. In Barack Obama’s speech you can see the elements of pathos. He is calling on the American people to put aside their resentment and create fairness in the American government and America’s true troubles some which include are the two wars and the economy. obama is appealing to the people’s feelings of unfairness to the economy’s problems. Atticus pleads to the jury in court to put away their prejudices and judge Tom Robinson as a white man. Both Atticus and Obama are telling their audience to do this simple task to achieve a desired goal. I thought that both of Atticus and Obama’s speech were very motivational.


  2. May 5th, 2012 at 12:21 pm      Reply johnw2 Says:

    In Atticus’s speech he is trying to convince the jury for the last time, that Tom Robinson is innocent. He points out the fact that this man has been brought into court for no reason other than his color of skin. He has been simply accused of something by a white trash man who wants to cover his own abusive actions up. The only evidence that the prosecution had was the wrecked up room, and the marks on the girl’s face and neck. What the prosecution claims is that Mr Robinson was able to grab her from behind, and grab her around the neck. However, there was one major hole in their case. Tom Robinson had only one hand, that was not enough to grab her neck from both sides like they claimed. Atticus was trying to use the logos side of the rhetorical triangle. This can be gathered because of his wide use of facts and evidence to attempt to get people to see that even though he was African-American, Tom was clearly innocent. In President Obama’s speech, he was attempting to show America how evil and unfair racism was. He showed points such as racism can cause families to lose jobs, friends, houses, and even lives. Like most of Obama’s speeches he used the pathos side of the rhetorical triangle. He used this in an attempt to connect with his audience to show them why racism should be stopped. However despite their efforts, racism still thrives in both societies. Racism is like a bad habit, unless you focus your entire being on getting rid of it will still stay.


  3. May 5th, 2012 at 12:24 pm      Reply Ben E. Says:

    The theme in both of the speeches was change. Both talked about ending racism. President Obama’s speech also talked about health care reforms. Atticus’s speech also talked about the trial of Tom Robinson, and how he was innocent. Both of these speeches are well written. They both include all three parts of the rhetorical triangle. The first is Logos. Atticus uses logos to prove that Tom Robinson is innocent. He says that it is imposible to choke someone with only five functioning fingers. President Obama uses Logos when he tells about our countries history and about how he grew up. They also both use Pathos. Atticus uses pathos when he talks about the unfairness of racism and about how some ladies bake better cakes than others. He tried to appeal to the crowd. President Obama also did this. He talked about the emotional strain of his growing up, and of all the racism in the 50s and 60s. Thirdly they both used Ethos. Atticus used Ethos to disprove the credibility of Bob Ewell and Mayela Ewell. President Obama also uses Ethos by proving that the credibility of the people who are making these claims is very little. He states, “We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.” All three of the parts of the rhetorical triangle are key to writing a speech.


  4. May 5th, 2012 at 12:32 pm      Reply nikital Says:

    In Atticus’s speech, he demonstrates a fine blend of the elements in the rhetorical triangle. His logos (rational appeal) is evident in Tom Robinson’s right arm. Having lost his left in Dolphus Raymond’s cotton gin, it is hardly believable that he could create finger marks all around her neck with the sole hand he possesses. Also, someone who led almost exclusively with his left had blackened Mayella Ewell’s right eye. Bob Ewell, her father, is proven to be left-handed, as well as a drunkard who frequently turns to violence due to his condition. An example of Atticus’s pathos (emotional appeal) is his belief in equality for all men throughout the numerous courts of America, the only human institution that “makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president.” A good court should be devoid of prejudice, grudges, and discrimination. Though many of that time believed that all African-Americans lie, cheat, are not trustworthy, and represent “basically immoral beings”, Atticus also realized that while some are, many are not, and that this statement applies not only to people of a specific skin type, but to the entire human race. Atticus’s pathos (ethical appeal) was brought in previous to his speech by his cross-examinations of the witnesses. The jury and spectators witnessed how he slowly built up the evidence against the prosecutors, and turned it against them, revealing his skill in law. They saw how he was polite and fair to all who spoke with him, the credibility of his claims, the reliability of his conclusions. To the very end, Atticus Finch begged the jury to put away their prejudices and judge Tom Robinson and others not by the color of their skin, but by credible evidence.
    In Barak Obama’s speech, pathos is a major element. He calls on the American to remove the obstacles of prejudice and resentment from the path of unity, and to create a better world for the generations to come. Both Atticus and Obama plead their audience to recognize that a person’s qualities and mindset do not depend on their race or skin color. It is not a simple task they so truly desire, quite the opposite: a long, hard struggle to show the world that racism is wrong and can be overcome. And in doing so, the world will, in fact, become a “more perfect union”.


    • May 5th, 2012 at 6:55 pm      Reply leonl2 Says:

      Nice post! I like your explanation on how both Atticus and Barack Obama used different elements in the rhetoric triangle.


  5. May 5th, 2012 at 6:37 pm      Reply carak1 Says:

    Both speeches are very well-written and powerful. They employ all elements of the Rhetorical Triangle. I think something can be well-expressed with only one or two of the elements but when a message applies all three, it is much better. Both speeches speak to racial inequality and give a way to fix it. Atticus’ summation is a much subtler plea than Obama’s, yet both make one question his or her beliefs long embedded in his own mind and the psyche of his society. Like Miss Merriweather said, Yankees were such hypocrites, saying blacks are just as good as whites but not treating them equally. Although her intention was not quite as pure, she was true. We all have our prejudices, our preconceived notions of what a Mexican should be like, what a Jew should be like, what an African-American should be like- the list goes on and on. So what if we won’t be blatant about it? I would never be impolite to someone of another race. Does that mean that I am not racist? Not at all. When I am in the city at night, I feel somewhat threatened by perfectly innocent men who just happen to have their hoods up. I joke with my friends, many of which are in this class, about the races that make up honors classes. Today’s society is not that much better than Scout’s. These speeches and our discussion in class made me think of these things. Why? Because they successfully utilize the three elements of the Rhetorical Pyramid.

    Logos: In my opinion, a great speech/essay/novel/etc. must rely on logos, logic, to convince people of its message. Logos is not only logic though; it is anything that can prove a point of belief and not just through factual evidence, but also in a way that appeals to the audience. Therefore, it relies upon and makes possible the other two elements of the Rhetorical Triangle. Atticus’ summation is a way to wrap up the logic of the case in a bundle of passion and ethics, not to introduce new logic. Atticus uses the logic displayed in the case to prove his ideas. Then Senator Obama used American history, published stories, personal stories, nationalism, and common experiences to establish his ideas.

    Ethos: Ethics, morality, credibility, trust: all words pertaining to this idea of the Rhetorical Triangle. A well written something is made by ethos. It uses logos and pathos to help prove and explain the ethos. Atticus’ ethos is that Tom Robinson is an innocent man who deserves to be acquitted. Obama’s speech is so long that there are many ethical messages. In both speeches, the logos and pathos are used to help the ethos appeal to the audience. In the essays we write for class, ethos is the thesis and hopefully it exceeds the task, taking some moral responsibility. On an ELA, the ethos is usually missing, making dull essays and articles. On an essay about Night, the ethos definitely present. It gives something a cause.

    Pathos: Words like pathetic, sympathetic, apathy, and telepathy all derive from this idea meaning something that evokes pity or compassion. I like to think that with all elements of the Triangle in place and working order, pathos can create any emotion known to man. Anything using the Rhetorical Triangle must come from a place of pathos to evoke pathos in its audience. When writing an essay, it is good when well thought out but great when it comes from passion. I think pathos is the most elusive element of the Triangle because it is very difficult to create in a true form. Anyone can bring logos to a case and any decent person can use ethos. However, pathos comes from the soul and the heart, not the mind. It is therefore what separates excellence from indifference and what makes people question themselves. It is well used in both speeches and is wildly important in creating something amazing.

    Logos, ethos, and pathos make up the Rhetorical Triangle. I believe any excellent essay/novel/written piece/speech/etc. employs all three to its fullest ability and uses the three to create something greater than the whole of its parts.


    • May 5th, 2012 at 6:38 pm      Reply carak1 Says:

      Not meant to be underlined… sorry! Please read anyways!


      • May 5th, 2012 at 6:54 pm      Reply leonl2 Says:

        Nice summary of the rhetorical triangle. I agree, using these three elements allows writers/speakers to create the most effect on their readers/listeners.


        • May 6th, 2012 at 9:47 pm      Reply nicholasm14 Says:

          I agree. Individually, these three elements are effective. However, combining all three will have the biggest impact on readers/listeners. Using all three as opposed to only one separates the great essays/speeches from the absolutely amazing ones.


  6. May 5th, 2012 at 6:51 pm      Reply leonl2 Says:

    In Atticus’ summation, he does a good job using all aspects of the rhetorical triangle. First, he presents logos- facts and reasoning of the case. He says that the entire case relies on the testimony of two people, and the defendants’ story entirely contradicts that of the Ewells’. He then includes pathos- the feeling he talked about was guilt. Mayella showed lust for love, and it was directed towards an African-American. This breaks the “code” at the time, and as a result she was faced with a lot of problems.

    Atticus makes a great comparison; he compares Mayella’s situation to that of a child’s. When a child does something wrong, they try to hide the evidence. This is what Mayella is doing. She knows she has broken the code and now she is trying to get rid of the evidence- that is, Tom Robinson.

    Finally, Atticus states the ethos of the situation. He claims that this trial would never have even happened if Tom Robinson was a white man. He talks about racism and equality in court, and he hopes that the men can do their job without their minds clouded by racial tensions. A court is supposed to be one of the few places where people should be treated with fairness and equality. Race shouldn’t matter in court.

    Obama has similar ideas. There is hate between some groups of African-Americans and whites. Unsurprisingly, the racism goes both ways- it’s not just whites that discriminate against blacks, blacks do the same to whites. Obama also believes that it would do no good to just ignore this issue. We can’t continue to seclude ourselves in our own corners, otherwise we will never achieve much.

    To face this issue of race, we must confront it- not hide it. We are not perfect, but as Obama says, with each single moment of recognition, our union grows stronger. “…that is where the perfection begins.”


  7. May 5th, 2012 at 6:51 pm      Reply amandaj3 Says:

    Racism [rey-siz-uhm] : a belief or an idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    Racism has been an issue since the beginning. So much hatred has originated from racism. In President Barack Obama’s brilliantly written speech, “A More Perfect Union”, and in Atticus’s speech in To Kill A Mockingbird, issues of race and a theme of change were evident. Both speeches included all three parts of the rhetorical triangle.

    Back in 2008, future-president-to-be was campaigning to become the next president of the United States. His decision to become president was very controversial because of his color: black. But Obama isn’t even fully black; he is also half white. “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas.” Still many people continued to criticize him and his actions. “At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either ‘too black’ or ‘not black enough.’” Why does it even matter if he is black or not? It shouldn’t affect his campaign.

    In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus made one last attempt to convince the jury to believe that Tom Robinson is indeed innocent. Atticus tells them that the only reason why there is a case against Robinson is because of his color. He was black. Atticus had so much other evidence that is good enough to prove that Tom is innocent but the jury was “color-blind”. It didn’t matter if Tom was innocent or not. Here is how I think the jury came up with their decision:

    Tom Robinson = African-American
    African-Americans = inferior to white people
    Tom Robinson declared innocent ≠ white people are inferior
    Tom Robinson declared guilty = white people remain superior

    Color and race shouldn’t affect anything. It is irrelevant to Tom Robinson’s case and Obama’s campaign. “But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.” In both speeches, they portrayed the message that racism needs to be stopped. Despite their determinations, there are still many racial tensions, prejudice, and stereotypes that continue to exist in America.


  8. May 6th, 2012 at 10:54 am      Reply briannab3 Says:

    Atticus’ summation and Obama’s speech both discussed ending racism. At court, Atticus was summing up his case. He reminded the court of the evidence they had; that it all pointed to Tom Robinson being innocent. All the information obtained could be used against the Ewells. They claimed that Mayella had fingermarks all around her neck. Her right eye was blacked, and she had bruises all over. She and her father claimed that Tom raped and savagely beat her. However, Tom’s left arm is crippled; there is no use of it. He couldn’t even hold it on the bible during his cross examination. There was no way that Tom could have done so much damage with his one good arm. For all this evidence, he used the Logos side of the Rhetorical Triangle. He was using the facts of the case.
    Atticus then went on to use the Ethos side of the Triangle. He stated that this case would never have been brought up if Tom was a white man. When using the Pathos side, Atticus talked about his beliefs. He did not believe in racism. In fact, he strongly disagreed with it and expressed those thoughts during his summation, to personally touch the members of the Jury, and also all those who watched the case, so that they kjnew that Tom Robinson was innocent no matter what he was convicted of.
    Barack Obama used the Pathos element in his speech. It was very personal and talked about his experiences as a black man, and described his unique family. Growing up in his family was very emotional for him in such times of discrimination and racism. He also talked about his beliefs in his life at church and his Reverend. He put very personal touches in his speech to appeal to the crowd. Both speeches aimed to clear the racism and discrimination from the world and the US, therefore becoming a more perfect union.


  9. May 6th, 2012 at 11:29 am      Reply innag2 Says:

    The rhetorical triangle embodies all parts of human nature. It considers feeling and emotions, which appeals to people’s hearts, rational reasoning, which appeals to people’s brains, and ethical reasoning, which appeals to people’s intuitions. Atticus uses the rhetorical triangle in his speech to the jury. He considers feelings and emotions, and tries to make the people pity Tom Robinson, who was so obviously wrongly accused. He uses rational reasoning, and uses facts and logic to prove that Tom Robinson didn’t harm Mayella, like the fact that he can only use one arm, so he couldn’t even strangle her if he tried. He uses ethical reasoning, for he is known around town for being reliable and credible, and he is very fair, and he also has reliable sources.
    President Obama also uses the rhetorical triangle in his “A More Perfect Union” speech. He talks about his background and his upbringing, about how he is unique, and how he wants to make a change and stop racism. This plays on people’s emotions and feelings, for it makes them feel pity, and also makes them feel proud to be a country so united. He then uses facts and logic, like talking about when and where the Constitution was signed, and how slavery only ended twenty years later, to appeal to people’s rational reasoning, for those are facts that everyone knows. He then uses his own credibility to try and convince people that he’s right, for he was at this point senator after all, trying to become president of the United States.
    His speech can be related to To Kill a Mockingbird because in it he discusses racism, which was a very big topic in the book as well. He describes how some people who are racists aren’t bad people- even his beloved grandmother made racist comments sometimes. He explains how everyone has some good and bad in them, and for racist people, the bad is being racist. This is seen in To Kill a Mockingbird. Almost the entire town of Maycomb is extremely racist, but that does not make all those people bad people. They were brought up like that, and that’s how they think. Yes, it’s awful, but they are just humans, after all.


  10. May 6th, 2012 at 1:58 pm      Reply lucyl2 Says:

    Atticus’ defense of Tom Robinson was used to try and persuade the jury and audience of his client’s innocence. Atticus used facts to execute his defense. He used all of the evidence obtainable to help him. He showed the jury how to use logical reasoning, such as how Tom Robinson only had one arm that was useful, so it was impossible for him to create the finger marks such as the ones left on Mayella’s neck from abuse. Atticus also pointed out to his audience that Mayella’ testimony was different than her fathers, so one of them had to be lying. Atticus’ summation provided a flawless execution of the logos side of the rhetorical triangle.

    Both President Obama and Atticus used the pathos side of the rhetorical triangle. Barack Obama used the pathos side to appeal to the feelings of the average American. He did this by saying that we should set aside our stereotypical ways and all band together to help our country in it’s time of need. And in a time with two wars and economic decline, you could say our country was quite needy. It should not matter what the nationality of a person is; if the person can help our country we should not prejudice them. President Obama also talked about his life with his family growing up as an African American man. His life was filled with moments of racism and pointless discrimination. These personal experiences made him relatable to what he talked about.

    Atticus used the pathos side of the triangle by giving his views on the racial injustice of the case. He asked the jury to judge Tom Robinson as if he were a white man. If he were a white man, the case would never have been brought to court in the first place. Atticus wants the jury to realize that. Atticus asked the jury to consider the fairness and practicality of the case in front of them.

    Both speeches were quite inspirational.


  11. May 6th, 2012 at 2:07 pm      Reply benjaminf Says:

    When reading to Barack Obama’s speech, I found that he spoke using all three points of the rhetorical triangle, first of all he uses ethos because he as long as everyone wants everyone to be equal rights because we all know that even today whites and blacks are not equal. You can see that he is on the right track because he wants to be the first black president and this is the goal that made him want to be president in the first place. You trust him because he represents the points of views of both races because he has both races in his blood. He uses pathos when he speaks about his pastor and that he strongly disagreed with what some of his pastor said, he says that others have felt the same thing when they are at church or synagogue. Obama uses logos when he appeals to the logic of the listener/reader when you know that he will help achieve racial equality because he would be the first black president if he does get to that position.
    In Atticus’s speech in To Kill a Mockingbird he also uses the rhetorical triangle to get his point across. First off he uses logos when he says that the case should never have been brought to court because the defendant is telling the truth and the only defense against him is two people that aren’t the most reliable. There is not even medical evidence against Tom Robinson. Then Atticus uses ethos because you begin to trust Atticus after he makes himself seem more reliable than the Ewells that already have a bad name in Maycomb. It would be hard to compare who was more reliable, Atticus or the Ewells. Finally Atticus uses pathos when he makes you feel bad for Tom Robinson because you think that he was wrongly accused because he is a nice man because he felt bad for Mayella.
    The rhetorical triangle is used to the advantage of Atticus and Obama when one wants you to agree with him while the other wants you to vote for him. Although it should have, the rhetorical triangle did not work for Atticus, but on the other hand, the rhetorical triangle worked for president Obama as you can tell from his title. This shows that the rhetorical triangle is a good form of persuasion.


  12. May 6th, 2012 at 2:20 pm      Reply michaelt10 Says:

    In Atticus’s speech, he uses the Logos and Pathos sections of the triangle. Logos was used as he tried to explain to the jury that he could not have committed the crime with only one hand. It was a logical excuse, and was based on pure facts. He used Pathos by saying how Mayella had done the unthinkable by kissing a black man, and that he father frowned upon this. The whole speech was his final stand against the case, and his last cry for victory. The main idea in Obama’s speech was, as you can imagine, race. It is an important aspect of American life, and something that has never really been fixed. In the constitution, it states that all men are created equal. Obama realizes that if this is true, why is there racism? There are no differences between our thoughts, but we chose to be prejudice simply because of skin color.


  13. May 6th, 2012 at 2:51 pm      Reply coryannm2 Says:

    As both men made their speeches their main goal was to change the way that society looks at things, people, and ideas; to provide a different perspective, and to emphasize the need for change in society. In both speeches racism was mentioned. In Atticus’s speech it was the focus, he claims that Tom Robinson was merely brought before these people in court becuase of his skin color and that this is not about a crime, but black and white. This was about racism; in this part of the speech Atticus was using pathos, but then he gets into mostly logos when he starts stating facts that in themselves prove Tom Robinson’s innocence. He says that Tom Robinson could not have committed the crime because he only has one arm and the criminal would have needed use of two arms to accomplish certain aspects of this crime. Then he brought up the fact that the majority of the hits had been on the left side and the person at fault was most likely a lefty, first of all, Tom Robinson only has a right arm, and secondly, Bob Ewell is a lefty. This beautiful speech alone should have set Tom Robinson free, yet racism won in this case.
    In Obama’s speech the idea of equality and racism were addressed. In his speech he mostly used the pathos side of the rhetorical triangle to appeal to the audience, along with some facts and details to back up his statements, using logos. His speech was more to change people’s view and offer different perspectives on the situation of racism in society, in order to get the people to see just how wrong racism is. Both speeches were attempts to lessen racist views in society, sadly neither speeches had much of an effect.


  14. May 6th, 2012 at 3:18 pm      Reply sabrinak1 Says:

    Atticus’s speech used the Pathos and the Logos parts of the Rhetorical Triangle. Pathos was used when he said that Mayella attacked Tom Robinson which was a huge crime at the time, kissing a colored man. Her father saw her and became furious, then beat up his daughter, fed her a story, and cried r*pe. For the Logos part of the Triangle, Atticus provided evidence that Tom could not physically have beat up Mayella and/or r*pe her. He has only one hand so could not have hit her hard enough with his other hand to create her black eye. She also had bruises around her neck which signal strangulation but he only has one hand, he could not possibly have done that! Sadly, the jury was blinded by Tom’s race and convicted him. Obama’s speech talked about the unfairness of racism in America. Growing up as an African-American man, he lived a very difficult life. Even though “all men are created equal”, we often don’t realize that in that speech, the unspoken word was “all WHITE men are created equal”. They did not mean all men, only the ones they saw as being more important, a higher class. Even today where people say “there is no more racism in our country” and “our country is free”, well this is not entirely true. Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes (Avenue Q song) and people try to ignore that. When going out for a job, a white man is more likely to get hired by a white employer than a black man with equal or slightly higher credentials. (I found that on a survey online). Everyone makes judgments based on what people look like no matter how much they try not to. If a white man is competing for a job against a white man with tattoos all over his body, the one without tattoos will most likely get the job. (Same survey as before). People make judgments all the time, not always intending to harm others. It is only if it becomes harmful that it is worrisome. Travyon Martin’s case is an exact example. He was shot for wearing a hoodie and being African-American. If we don’t stop racism and prejudice in our country, soon everyone will be a target.


  15. May 6th, 2012 at 3:26 pm      Reply kevinj3 Says:

    The speech made by Atticus, addressing the case against Tom Robinson, is extraordinary. Atticus talks about topics that are usually forbidden for people to speak about, such as how people view Negroes, or blacks. He addresses the unfairness of court hearings involving Negroes, and how a black is subject to racism in court, no matter how absurd the circumstances are. He applies the logos, pathos, and ethos of the rhetorical triangle in his speech, applying the factual evidence given at the crime, logos, to try to convince the jury to be fair and ignore skin color. If Mayella had been black and Tom had been white, this case’s outcome would have been different, and it probably would have never been brought up at all. Ethos is used here. Also, Atticus expresses his strong beliefs, pathos, in that the law system should disregard whether one is black or white, and that only solid, reliable facts and information should be looked at in court. He says that this is the only way that we can satisfy the statement of “all men are created equal”. President Obama’s speech does not differ from Atticus’ speech in terms of what they are addressing. Obama knows that everybody is in some way racist. He is trying to raise awareness of this in his speech by communicating to us that racism is only going to hinder our progress as a united nation. Although racism will always exist at some extent, we must do our best to control it. He is honored to become the first African-American president, because it shows how far we have come. Just a century ago, our country still was largely influenced by racism. His speech conveys pathos and ethos, or the belief in fairness we should all have.

    In “To Kill A Mockingbird”, these ideas play a huge role in the story. Blacks are looked down upon in the story, and racism is probably the most prevalent emotion people such as Bob Ewell have. However, these people didn’t live in today’s society, where an openly racist man would be excluded and frowned upon. Tom Robinson suffers from racism, ultimately getting killed. His tragic death reminds readers of the horrors racism can produce.


  16. May 6th, 2012 at 4:21 pm      Reply alwynp2 Says:

    In Atticus’s speech, he was trying to convince the jury that Tom Robinson was innocent. Logos means the appeal to logic. Atticus uses this when he tells the jury that Tom Robinson couldn’t have beaten up Mayella. He cannot use his left hand due to a cotton gin accident. Ethos means the ethical appeal. Atticus attempts to show the jury that Tom Robinson is more credible than Mayella and Bob Ewell. Pathos means the emotional appeal. Atticus tries to make everyone feel bad for Tom since he was only trying to help Mayella. Senator Barack Obama use logos by using facts. Atticus and Senator Barack Obama spoke about racism. However, we are all racist in one way or another.


  17. May 6th, 2012 at 4:26 pm      Reply sharonm1 Says:

    In the courthouse, Atticus blended three elements of the rhetorical triangle into his speech, logos, pathos and ethos. His logo, rational appeal, was incorporated into the speech when he stated facts that proved Tom Robinson’s innocence. Having lost his left arm in an accident with a cotton gin, it was impossible that he could have made finger marks all around her neck. Judging from Mayella’s injuries, someone who led with his or her left beat Mayella. Her father, Bob Ewell, was left-handed and it was well known that as a drunkard he often resorted to violence to fix his situations. An example of Atticus using pathos or emotional appeal in his speech was during his explanation that all men were equal before the law. African-Americans at the time were believed to be morally wrong. They were believed to lie, cheat, and be untrustworthy. Atticus stated that a good court should be blind, and not have prejudices, grudges or discrimination against any person. Atticus used ethos, ethical appeal, was brought in previous to his speech by his cross-examinations of the witnesses. The jury saw both Mayella and Tom’s backgrounds, as he questioned them, then Atticus turned the evidence against the prosecutors. Until the very end of the case, Atticus pleaded with the jury to ignore their prejudices and to judge Tom Robinson by the evidence and not his race. President Obama’s speech incorporated all three elements of the rhetorical triangle but in my opinion, the most prominent element of all three, was pathos. He pleaded with all Americans to put aside their prejudice and resentment for a better world, a “more perfect union”. Both Atticus and Obama asked their listeners to be aware that a person is not defined by their race, or the color of their skin. Both speeches implied stated that putting aside and overcoming racism is taking one step closer to creating a more perfect world.


  18. May 6th, 2012 at 4:32 pm      Reply nicolea4 Says:

    Atticus’s summation and Obama’s speech both dealt with putting an end to racism. In court, Atticus was saying his closing remarks to the jury. He once again spoke about the evidence leading to the conclusion that Tom Robinson was innocent. All of the evidence could be used against the Ewells. The Ewell’s declared that Mayella had been raped and relentlessly beaten by Tom Robinson. Their proof was that Mayella had bruising all around her neck and all over her body and she also a black eye. Atticus clearly emphasized that it was impossible that Tom Robinson could have done this to her, since he only had one functional arm. He was not even able to put his hand on the bible before he got on the witness stand, clearly showing there was no way he could have done to Mayella what the Ewell’s claimed he had. In this part of the summation, Atticus used the Logos side of the triangle, stating the facts. In his summation, Atticus also used the Pathos side of the Rhetorical triangle. He showed strong belief that Tom should to be treated fairly and have an equal chance at being declared innocent as a white man would. In addition to displaying the first two parts of the rhetorical triangle, Atticus also touched on the Ethos side, stating that the case would not have even been brought about if Tom Robinson was a white man, which was not right.

    Similarly to Atticus, Barack Obama used the Pathos side of the rhetorical triangle in his speech. His speech was very personal; he spoke about his life as a black man, about his family, and about his church and his Reverand. The personal aspects of his speech appealed to the emotions of average Americans, because it made him relatable and did not solely focus on politics. He spoke about his experiences dealing with racism and discrimination, and about his beliefs.

    Both of the goals of Atticus’s summation and Barack Obama’s speech were to educate and rid the world of racism and prejudice, in order for it to become a more perfect union.


  19. May 6th, 2012 at 4:43 pm      Reply amandaf2 Says:

    I really enjoyed Atticus’ speech. He knew that Tom could have never raped Mayella because there were finger marks, clearly from someone with two hands around her neck, and Tom only has one able arm which is his right. The injuries that were on her face were done by someone who was a lefty. Bob Ewell was a lefty. Bob was also known as someone who was often drunk and violent. He uses Logos, or logic, to prove this. Atticus uses Ethos to show the differences in Mayella’s testimony and her father’s testimony. He shows that Tom Robinson had the most accurate testimony. Tom was honest in saying that he was sent to jail once before. This was meant to gain the jury’s trust. He uses Pathos to make everyone feel bad for Tom, and make them understand that he was only trying to help out Mayella. Tom was obviously innocent. Atticus had a beautiful speech, and Tom would have definitely been innocent, if he was white. It is horrible that people can be so racist.


  20. May 6th, 2012 at 5:29 pm      Reply harrisond1 Says:

    During the trial, Atticus made a speech addressing racism. Throughout his speech, he incorporated logos and pathos, which are different points of the rhetorical triangle. Logos is the appeal to logical reasoning, and was enforced by Atticus when he gave evidence of how Tom Robinson was not guilty. For example, Atticus showed that Mayella had bruises all around her neck, bruises on her face, and a black right eye. Since Robinson only had one left arm, these accusations do not add up. Atticus’s point is that Robinson’s condition prevented him from doing these things to Mayella. Atticus also showed pathos, the appeal to feelings. He did this by showing his belief in fair trial, no matter your race. Obama’s speech also addressed racism. He used pathos by talking about his personal life. In his speech, like Atticus, he addressed how racism hinders the progress of our country, and how we should be aware of racism and control it. Everyone is racist, but we can all do things to subside it. Both speeches are very inspiring, and show how the world could be much better if we just controlled racism.


  21. May 6th, 2012 at 6:16 pm      Reply tylerf2 Says:

    During Atticus’s speech, he tries for one final attempt to make the jury see that Tom Robinson is innocent. He states that he believes that Tom has been brought here not be uase of “his actions,” but because he is of a different colored skin. He demonstrates more of a logos (rational thinking) perspective in his speech. His logos is located in Tom Robinson’s left arm. You see, there were marks on Mayella Ewell’s neck, showing that someone grabbed her with BOTH HANDS and held her against her will. However, Tom states to the jury that he had been in an accident with Dolphus Raymond’s cotton gin, and that it left his left hand incapable of being used, showing that Tom could not have possibly grabbed Mayella in the way that the Ewells are stating. He uses his pure, rational thinking to turn the Ewell’s story against them, which should be enough to prove Tom innocent. But, according to the jury, it is not.

    Now, in Senator Barack Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union,” given on March 18th, 2008, Senator (now President) Barack Obama focuses more on showing an extreme form of pathos. He is appealing to the general public and calls to the American people to remove the obstacles of racism, prejudice and resentment, for that will leave them with a clear path to unity. This will in turn create a better world for us, our children, our children’s children, and many generations to come in the future. Both Mr. Obama and Atticus want to show their audience that it does not matter what race or religion you are, but that if we all cooperate and work together, we can, in fact, form “a more perfect union.”


  22. May 6th, 2012 at 7:30 pm      Reply ashleys2 Says:

    In Atticus’s speech, elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are observed. He uses pathos to get the jurors to feel a connection with Tom Robinson by saying that “a quite, respectable, humble negro who had the unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s.” This gets the jury to feel pity for Tom, and even relate the jurors to Tom by saying that they all feel sorry for Mayella, the poor white girl. The logos of his speech were the parts where Atticus proves that Tom couldn’t be the one who beat Mayella because someone punched her on the left side of the face, and Tom Robinson is crippled in his left hand. There were elements of ethos of that speech when he talks about maintaing equality in the courts and how the court is the one place where are men are equal.

    In Obama’s speech, one of the main themes he tries to portray is equality. Obama believes that we cannot solve the challenges of society alone; we must work together and understand the similar stories between us to reach our goals, not separate ourselves into black and white. He thinks that racism is an idea that our country cannot ignore; if we leave it alone it will just get worse and worse, even though we took so many steps forward since those many years ago when our country was still beginning, we cannot take a step back. And it isn’t just the black community that struggles with racism; the white community shares similar angers and angst about their race as well. So maybe black and white people are more similar than we thought. After all, the color of your skin shouldn’t determine what kind of person you are.


  23. May 6th, 2012 at 8:09 pm      Reply bridgetd1 Says:

    In Atticus’ speech he is trying to convince the jury that Tom Robinson is innocent and that the only reason he is there is because of his color. Bob Ewell is clearly the one that attacked Mayell but because he is white he will win. Besides Mayell had marks on her neck indicating that someone choked her. That problem with that is Tom Robinson has only one arm so he could not have done it. The jury was probably afraid that they would be looked down on because they sided with a black man. In President Obama’s speech he says that racism is still a problem today People are still racist even though everyone has equal rights now. He says that racism is a problem that has to be dealt with now so it cannot get any worse. Unfortunately racism can never be stopped because everyone sees the world differently.


    • May 6th, 2012 at 9:17 pm      Reply sarahb5 Says:

      I agree that racism probably can’t be completely stopped because everyone has their own opinions, but I think if we try hard enough, we can subdue it until it is almost nonexistent.


  24. May 6th, 2012 at 8:37 pm      Reply elizabethp4 Says:

    Both Obama’s speech and Atticus’s speech have the same story to tell, the same message to get across: racism shouldn’t be a factor when judging someone. In Obama’s speech, all three aspects were used, even though he shared many anecdotes, which would fall under the logos – rational appeals – section. Atticus uses all three, but mainly focuses on ethos(ethical appeals), saying how the case probably wouldn’t have even come to Maycomb’s court if Tom Robinson was white, which isn’t fair in any respect.
    Obama says how racism is a problem in this country, and it shouldn’t be ignored; however, it is nearly impossible to fix. How can such a vastly delicate issue be handled? Of course, the United States has come a long way from slavery and segregation, even though in some places segregation still exists. He thinks that everybody should toss aside the cynicism that has previously corrupted previous generation’s thoughts; we should be more open-minded. “This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.” With people agreeing with one another and not minding minor boundaries such as color of skin, background, or race, anything can be accomplished or achieved.
    Atticus’s speech has a similar goal – to show the people of Maycomb that racism is wrong; however, the habit or even the custom of having that attitude towards coloured people is so ingrained into Maycomb culture, it wouldn’t save Tom Robinson’s life. The speech brought attention to the unfairness of it all, of how against all logic Tom Robinson was going to be sent to jail. The only reason that the whole case was impossible to win for Atticus and Tom was because the defendant was coloured. If he was white, the situation would be completely different. Bob Ewell probably wouldn’t be as mad – he certainly wouldn’t have brought the case up in court. Only because of skin color is Tom Robinson’s life lost; only because of skin color is his family’s life ruined; only because of skin color is life so much harder.


  25. May 6th, 2012 at 8:50 pm      Reply anjuv1 Says:

    I loved both Atticus’ speech and President Barack Obama’s speech. Several aspects of the rhetorical triangle were used during these speeches. They both included all the sides of the triangle when they were addressing the subject of racism.

    Atticus said his speech during Tom Robinson’s trial. He was trying to explain to the jury that Tom would be found innocent if only he was white. This wouldn’t have been a problem at all, but Tom was a man of color so it was considered one. Atticus basically was saying how racism is so stupid. He had plenty of evidence that defended Tom and proved that he didn’t sexually abuse Mayella, but of course none of this mattered because Tom was African-American.

    President Barack Obama’s speech was very inspiring and put new subjects in a different perspective. He talked about how there was a lot of controversy when he decided to run for President. This was all due to his skin color. The thing was many didn’t know that Obama is not only African-American, but he is half white. People were quick to criticize this saying how he is a mix and making fun of him. This all goes under the subject of racism. His race had nothing to do with his action of running for President.

    Both these speeches aimed to discuss the problem of racism.


  26. May 6th, 2012 at 9:14 pm      Reply sarahb5 Says:

    Both Obama and Atticus’ speeches have to do with race and equality. They also both use logos, pathos, and ethos in their speeches. In Obama’s speech, he uses the facts of American history and the Civil War and slaves, and the facts of his own childhood as his logos to show how bad the racism was and (although it is not as bad) still is in our country. He uses the Constitution as his pathos to appeal to America’s belief in fairness by saying that it promised equal citizenship. And for Obama’s ethos, he uses himself as a reliable source because he is black, and he went through racism all of his life so he knows firsthand that it is still a problem in our country. In Atticus’ speech he is defending Tom Robinson who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Atticus’ logos is using facts and logical reasoning to show that there was no way that Tom could have done it because most of the injuries were on the side of her face that only a left hand could inflict damage upon and Tom’s left hand and his entire arm are handicapped from an accident a long time ago. He can no longer move his left arm without the help of his right which means that he couldn’t have caused the injuries on Mayella. Then Atticus uses Tom’s pity for Mayella as his pathos. He shows the people in the courtroom that since a black man was able to feel sorry for a white woman, it means that not all black people are evil and that is just a ridiculous stereotype. Atticus also uses Tom as his ethos because Tom is his reliable source because he was there the day it all happened and he gave his side of the story with no lies. Even though Tom is so clearly innocent, he was found guilty. This proves of the racism and unequality because the only reason Tom lost was because he was black.


  27. May 6th, 2012 at 9:26 pm      Reply Autumn N. Says:

    In Atticus’ summation he is trying for one last time to convince the jury that Tom Robinson is guilty. His largest arguments are Tom Robinson’s handicap which would make him incapable of the injuries sustained by Mayella and the contradiction of Mayella’s account of the incident to her fathers.
    The argument about Tom Robinson’s hindered arm is the logos of Atticus’ summation. He uses basic logic to explain that it would be purely impossible for someone with a crippled left arm to leave marks like the ones left of Mayella’s neck. In the ethos category would fit the inconsistency of the father/ daughter testimonies. This judges the credibility of both Mayella and Bob Ewell.
    Both Atticus and President Obama used the pathos side of the rhetorical triangle in their arguments. The president argued about the unfairness of racism and biased preconceived notions. He pointed out that people can have lesser opportunity for jobs and friends because of racist views. Atticus also pointed out how racism can destroy a person. In the justice system, especially in their time and in the southern part of the United States, all men are not equal. Tom Robinson was doomed as soon as Mayella screamed. Because of his African-American descent, people had already assumed that he was guilty. Robinson did not have a fair attempt and trying to prove his innocence, the jury had all pretty much decided on their verdict. Tom Robinson was guilty until proven innocent and even then, he was convicted of sexual abuse, something that President Obama was trying to explain should never happen.


  28. May 6th, 2012 at 9:32 pm      Reply nicholasm14 Says:

    Both Atticus’s and Obama’s speeches were inspirational and the issue that both of these focused on were how society needs to change and that racism needed to be overcome. Atticus’ speech is filled with examples of the elements of the rhetorical triangle. In terms of logos (rational appeal), Atticus discusses facts that prove that Tom Robinson was innocent. Tom Robinson had only one arm that worked (his right one), so it was basically impossible that Tom Robinson was the one who strangled Mayella and left those marks on her neck. In addition, evidence pointed to the fact that the person who gave Mayella a black eye led almost exclusively with their left arm. Tom Robinson’s left arm didn’t work, so it was impossible that he could’ve done it. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, was left-handed so the evidence pointed to the fact that it was probably him who beat her. In terms of pathos (emotional appeal), Atticus discussed how Thomas Jefferson once said that all men were created equal, and how this is only true in courts. According to Atticus, men are not created equal because there are people who have superior skills (such as Atticus himself and his proficiency in shooting), people who are born with more opportunities, and people who are smarter than others. Courts are the only places where are equal because a court is the only place that makes the poor equal to the rich, the stupid equal to the smart, the ignorant equal to the wise. Based on this, black people should be equal to white men and there should not be prejudice or discrimination in courts. People in that time period believed that all African-Americans were immoral people (they lied, cheated, and were not trustworthy), but Atticus said while this may apply to some African-Americans, it really applies to humanity as a whole. In terms of ethos (ethical appeal), Atticus showed that he was an incredibly skilled as he slowly turned the witnesses’ stories against them and revealed evidence that proved that Tom Robinson was innocent. He was fair and polite to these witnesses even though they acted hostile toward him. In the end, he was asking the jury to judge Tom Robinson based on the facts rather than the fact that he was black.
    Barack Obama’s speech relied mostly on pathos. He talked about how we needed to unite to overcome racism and put our feelings of prejudice and discrimination away so that the world, not just America, can be a better place. Whites discriminate against blacks, and blacks discriminate against whites. We can’t just back into our corners and try to move on because they we would not advance. Obama talked about how we need to unite so that we can advance and achieve. It is in the preamble of the Constitution that we the people came together to form a more perfect union, and we need to confront racism and end it so that our union can indeed accomplish our goal of forming a stronger and more perfect union.


  29. May 6th, 2012 at 9:49 pm      Reply Anton Says:

    Atticus’s and Obama’s speeches both show all corners of the Rhetorical Triangle. The logos and Atticus’s speech was that the damage was clearly done by a left handed person. Tom Robinson could not possibly have been responsible because his left hand was destroyed when caught in a cotton gin. Atticus knew however that the jury would not care about how illogical it is. His speech was based primarily on pathos and ethos. He made sure to put emphases on the fact that it was immoral give a man a death penalty for something he did not do, and that it was their duty to treat him as an equal in the court of law. He showed that if Tom were white the the story would be different. Although Tom did not go free, it made the jury think. Obama appealed to logos by saying that this needs to change and that if we don’t begin now, when will we? He also has a lot of pathos and ethos. He gets people to think about what is really different. He shows that there are faults in both societies but those faults don’t necessarily apply to everyone in the community.They both used all parts of the Rhetorical Triangle, and made good speeches.


  30. May 6th, 2012 at 10:17 pm      Reply shianak3 Says:

    The elements of the Rhetorical Triangle are prominent in Atticus’ final argument in the trial and Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union”. As I was reading through our President’s speech, and recalling back on Atticus’ I noticed a major reoccurring theme between them both which was the need for change, and acceptance in times of racism. These two speeches were said in two different centuries, where a lot has changed, but many ideas and things that should’ve changed, still remain the same. Pathos, which comes up in Atticus’ speech when he tells people that we are being unjust to Tom Robinson and that this should change. This can be considered ethos also, depending on how you view it. Another example of Pathos is when President Obama speaks out to us telling us that even though it has been many years since slavery ended, people still are racist to blacks and that something must be done to change that. In his argument, Atticus summarized what he believed to happen that night at the Ewells, and used logical reasoning determined by the testimonies to support his idea. This is an example of logos, which is also used in President Obama’s speech in which he uses his personal stories, history, and current news to prove his point. The main idea of both these speeches is that racism is a big deal and it affects our society in a negative way. President Obama and Atticus establish their point of view using the form of communication similar to the Rhetorical Triangle.


  31. May 6th, 2012 at 10:46 pm      Reply anthonym9 Says:

    Atticus used all three rhetorical elements in his speech. The logos was that Tom only had one arm, so he couldn’t strangle Mayela. The pathos was the immortality of the entire trial. He said that the trial was a matter of black and white and that the only reason this incident was brought into court was because a white girl screamed. The ethos was incorporated throughout the speech to emphasize his point.
    In President Obama’s speech, he mentions a lot of similar things Atticus had said. They both say that racism effects our environment in a negative, inhumane way. Racism leads to death, regret and other sad things. Racism can destroy a person in the sense of being convicted of a crime for no reason or not recieving the same benefits of another race.


  32. May 6th, 2012 at 11:12 pm      Reply carlya1 Says:

    In Atticus’ summation, he used all the sides of the rhetorical triangle. Atticus began with the facts. Fact one: Tom has one arm. He couldn’t give Mayella all those injuries with one arm when he couldn’t even keep his own hand on the bible. Fact two: All the evidence the jury had been given proved that Tom Robinson was innocent and that Mayella and Bob Ewell were lying. Fact three: Mayella couldn’t even recall the actions that occurred the day of the “attack”. This was the logos side.
    Then Atticus continued by stating that Tom Robinson would never have be been brought up on these charges if he was a white man. If he was, there would be no doubt in the jury’s mind that he was innocent. But because of the color of his skin, he was brought up on these charges, his life in jeopardy, and possibly being found guilty.
    Atticus finished his summation by bringing in his morals and beliefs. Atticus has very strong morals and he abides by them every day. He teaches Jem and Scout the moral thing to do. He believes in ending racism. He defends all the black men and women in Maycomb because he is the only lawyer who is willing to. People may believe that Atticus is crazy for doing so but he doesn’t feel that whites and blacks should be any different in the eyes of justice. When a black man or woman is brought up on charges, Atticus doesn’t focus on the color of their skin. He focusing on doing the best job he possibly can in saving their lives.

    In Senator Obama’s speech, he focused on Reverend Wright for the majority of the speech. Apparently Reverend Wright made a racial comment and people were associating him with Barack Obama. Senator Obama didn’t disown this man who has been part of his life, helped him reach where he is right now, and is practically part of his family. No. He defended him saying that yes he made some rude comments but they are his opinions. Everyone has an opinion and has the opportunity to share that opinion. Reverend Wright may have been racist but they were his feelings.

    A fictional character and our president in 2012 both shared the same beliefs: Racism needs to end.


  33. May 7th, 2012 at 6:13 pm      Reply Jesse Says:

    President Obama’s speech shows all three aspects of the rhetorical triangle, as did Atticus’s speech at the trial in To Kill A Mockingbird. Both speeches were informational, and persuasive, and just plain inspirational. Atticus used logos when he talked about how it wasn’t possilbe to make ten markes on Mayella’s neck with only five capable fingers, a luxury Tom Robinson did not have. President Obama used Logos when he talked about how people are predudice based on races and where you come from. Atticus used pathos when trying to make the jury feel sorry for Tom and that though they shoud feel sorry for Mayella, they should not let that cloud their judgement. President Obama used pathos alot, throughout the whole speech he was trying to convey his feelings towards racism and to change our feeling towards it. Atticus also used ethos, by telling the farmers that a black man is no lesser than a white man, and should be treated equally. President Obama did not express as much ethos as Atticus but he still used it.
    Both speeches were really great and they both inspired me to think about what they said the next time I find myself being a little predudice.


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