Since ancient time ethos, pathos, and logos have been primary rhetorical categories. Aristotle defined them as basic modes of persuasion adding argumentative force to a speech. Nowadays these devices remain an integral part of any persuasive text. This paper is aimed at the analysis of persuasive techniques implementation in the article I Will Never Know Why by Susan Klebold.
The article touches upon teenage violence, one of the most painful problems of contemporary American society. Susan Klebold, whose son Dylan committed a massacre at his school, recalls the events of that tragic day and tries to reflect upon the reasons that could have made a seemingly inoffensive boy become a ruthless killer.
The article is organized according to the traditional logical scheme. It starts with an introduction and then develops into the main body and finishes with a conclusion. It is in the main body that ethical, pathetic, and logical appeals are especially apparent.
A short opening paragraph establishes a strong extrinsic ethos of the author. Susan Klebold is introduced as a credible witness, whose words are the best testimony the reader needs. The ethical appeal is intensified by emphasizing the fact that everything written beneath is an objective, though perhaps a somewhat emotional description of facts, and that it is a look from within that can be provided only by a participant of events. Moreover, the author’s view is defined as a ‘chilling new perspective’ implying that some details of the story have been concealed