Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly

Article Title

A Born Killer?


When constructing an argument the author must consider how he or she will use ethos, pathos, and logos to appeal to an audience. In her essay, “A Born Killer?” author Leah Johnson opens with an image of her small puppy and a caption asking, “Does she look dangerous to you?” Does this image, coupled with her introduction, successfully grab the reader’s attention? Which of the three appeals is Johnson employing in this opening? Johnson also uses images in her argument. What is the effect? If the image were not included, how would this change your reading of the introduction? How does the image support the argument?

The author identifies herself as a dog owner. What is the relationship between her possible biases and the logic of her essay? Do her emotional appeals outweigh her logical appeals? Think about how you would approach an essay that discusses an issue in which you have a personal stake. How would an attachment to a topic change your treatment of it?