Extraordinary Rhetoric

Writers, politicians, advertisers and graphic novelists all use rhetoric in the same way--to persuade you to do something, believe something, or buy something. To bring readers and/or viewers, around to their way of thinking.

Creators can rely on ethos (or authority) to get their message across. When the president gives a speech we listen - he is an authority. In the same way, advertisers often use celebrities to sell products. If I buy Kim Kardashian's makeup, I'll look as great as she does because she's an expert at looking good. There are also experts In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where a "menagerie" has been brought together to save the British Empire--all because they have some ethos, as strange as it may be.

Often times you will see advertisements that offer proof that a product works, or statistics that report customer satisfaction. These are appeals to logic or logos. If studies show that 99 percent of people using XYZ toothpaste have whiter teeth, then it's only logical that you buy XYZ toothpaste because everybody wants whiter teeth.

Writers can also use pathos to convince viewers to do something, want something, or buy something. Those commercials that show poor, pathetic dogs and cats waiting at the shelter for a new home make viewers feel sorry for homeless pets--they want to adopt one, or better yet, they send money to those shelters. Consumers can also end up buying products because a television commercial shows what an exciting life you'll have if you buy that new car, plus you'll increase your popularity--and social standing. How about products that show happy, loving families sitting around the dinner table eating McDonald's, Swanson Fried Chicken, Ragu spaghetti, or Round Table pizza? These advertisers are all appealing to your emotions.

According to Stuart Hirschberg in "The Rhetoric of Advertising," consumers are often sucked in by "scenes emanating security and warmth, which the ad invited us to remember as if it were our own past." These kind of "ads thus supply us with false memories and invite us to insert ourselves into this imaginary past and to remember it as if it were our own." Creators of comic books do the same thing.

In the photo above members of The League are gathered around a dinner table. Remnants of the meal are visible and many of the members are having an after dinner smoke. Look at this "family" and think about how the creator is trying to get you--the reader--to insert yourself into this scene. How is your family like the League? Do you have an invisible cousin? A crazy uncle? A bossy aunt? A wanderlust second cousin, once removed? Are you trying to prepare a meal for vegetarians, vegans, and/or people that have a gluten-free diet? What do your family dinners look like and how does Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill use ethos, logos, and especially pathos to invite you into their book?


  1. That is a very interesting point, I never thought how a graphic novel such as "The League" can pull you into the book and influence you in reality. The strength of: ethos, pathos, and logos are quite spectacular when the author of a novel is trying to portray their message across. O'Neill uses "logos" to invite me into the book by getting me to truly understand why he created the "League" that he did. Also, why each plan that they decide to pursue is right. O'Neill gets us to believe that the "Leagues" morals are correct. For instance, such as in the picture that is provided with these characters eating around the table depicts a sense of harmony between them. It allows the reader to feel apart of the scene, nonetheless apart of the book! Great post, really got me to think about the connections between graphic novels and real world issues.

  2. This blog states the different types of ethos, logos, and pathos and how they are used for selling. the first portion of the blog illustrates how ethos are used to convey someone to buy something by using authority. You will purchase an item because the commercial has Jennifer Lopez driving the brand new 2012 Fiat. If you get that car you will look and live just like Jennifer Lopez.
    Pathos are described as convincing a person to buy something or sending in money to companies by making them feel bad. The continuos puppy and kitten adoption shelter commercial that plays on the television with sad music, is a example of pathos.
    A form of proof that this product works or the results are forms of logos used in advertising. An example could be weight loss with Jennifer Hudson announcing on the commercial about how this product helped her loss 65 lbs.

  3. Blogs like these interest me right away with the comic-like pictures and design. I've never really thought that you could relate to a fantasy world into advertising products. When we advertise things, we say the facts about the product and how it could benefit the buyer because who would want to buy something that had no personal value? There are three main ways your able to promote an item to the public.
    The first has to do with relating it so a celebrity or someone famous because it gives the buyer a feeling that they could be like their personal idol. The second way to get customers attracted to your product, is to get them to feel a sense of sympathy. If they are willing to be open about your product and feel sympathetic, you have a good chance of getting them to be involved with your current and future products. The last main idea on how to sell products is to PROVE they work somehow. For example, if there is an advertisement for a workout program, they might show pictures of pictures of people who have done it and after as well.

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